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The Israel Police continues to refuse to examine the systematic violations of the rights of Palestinian minors interrogated at its stations in the West Bank: only individual complaints will be investigated

Since November 2017, HaMoked has corresponded with the Israel Police, demanding that it take action to amend the current practice relating to the interrogation of Palestinian minors from the West Bank at its various stations. HaMoked based its letters on 26 affidavits, taken from Palestinian minors between July and October 2017, which indicated that systematic rights violations by security forces, including the Police, take place during their arrests. These violations generally include traumatic night time arrests; informal interrogations accompanied by physical violence and threats; and constant violations of the minors' most basic rights, including the right to counsel and the right to have their parents present during their interrogations. The affidavits clearly indicate that Palestinian minors are treated by Israeli security forces purely as a security threat, with no consideration of the emotional vulnerability stemming from their age.

Time and again, HaMoked emphasized in its letters to the Police that the minors who provided testimonies are not interested in submitting complaints to the Police Investigation Unit (PIU) regarding their traumatic arrests. They all wish to avoid additional contact with the authorities, and fear that submitting a complaint will lead to negative ramifications for them. Additionally, HaMoked's past experience indicates that individual complaints to PIU almost never lead to real justice, and complaint files are generally closed without having really been investigated. Despite the above, the Police insisted in its letters that only individual complaints would be investigated, subject to its receipt of the criminal file numbers and the testimonies of the minors, and rejected HaMoked's general claims.

As such, on March 20, 2018, HaMoked sent a letter to the Police, along with relevant parts of four affidavits taken from Palestinian minors who were arrested during 2017, having removed their identifying details.

On June 19, 2018, the Police response to HaMoked's letter was received. The Police expressed its regret that the requested details had not been sent, "but only four copies of parts of affidavits", which did not, in its view, provide the necessary details for a real investigation of the complaints. The Police even claimed it attempted to locate(!) the file numbers associated with the affidavits, in clear contravention of the minors' wishes, and continued to insist that it be given the numbers, claiming that an investigation would take place "with no ramifications for those investigated". The Police rejected HaMoked's claims regarding recurring physical and verbal violence in the investigations, stating that "the suitable place for examining complaints regarding Police violence is the PIU". Finally, the Police once again claimed that regulations had been clarified throughout its stations in the West Bank, regarding HaMoked's main complaints: the minors' right to counsel, their right to parental presence in their investigations, and their right to be interrogated in a language clear to them. But on these issues as well, the Police refused to investigate whether systematic violations of minors' rights are taking place.

By insisting only to investigate individual cases, and by refusing to examine HaMoked's general claims, the Police is in effect refusing to deal with the issue, and is paving a path for its continued violations of the rights of Palestinian minors arrested in the West Bank. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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