Reporter: Megha Mohan
Director/Producer: Yousef Eldin
Additional assistance: Rand Khadir and Tala Halawa from BBC Ramallah
On September 20, 2017, Laith K., 17, was arrested by Israeli forces. He was held in administrative detention for nearly 46 weeks. Administrative detention is a form of imprisonment without charge or trial.
What does it feel like to be led away from your home by a soldier, while blindfolded?
What happens when a military occupation looms over an entire childhood?
OBAIDA, a short film by Matthew Cassel, explores a Palestinian child’s experience of Israeli military arrest.
Each year, some 700 Palestinian children undergo military detention in a system where ill-treatment is widespread and institutionalized. For these young detainees, few rights are guaranteed, even on paper.
After release, the experience of detention continues to shape and mark former child prisoners’ path forward.
Two years after this film was produced, on May 17, 2021, Israeli forces shot and killed 17-year-old Obaida Jawabra, the subject of this short film. Supporters from around the world, who learned about Obaida's life through this film, joined Defense for Children International - Palestine in mourning his killing.Read more
From the moment of arrest, Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and torture at the hands of Israeli forces. Three out of four experience physical violence during arrest or interrogation.
Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes between 500 and 700 children in military courts each year.
Ill-treatment in the Israeli military detention system remains “widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process,” according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report Children in Israeli Military Detention Observations and Recommendations.
Recent amendments to Israeli military law concerning children have had little to no impact on their treatment during the first 24 to 48 hours after an arrest, when most of the ill-treatment occurs at the hands of Israeli soldiers, police, and the security service.
International juvenile justice standards, which Israel has obliged itself to implement by ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, demand that children should only be deprived of their liberty as a measure of last resort and include universal prohibitions against physical violence and torture among other protections. Despite these obligations Israeli authorities persistently disregard and fail to comply with international law.
Fawzi J., 16, from the southern West Bank city Hebron was subjected to Israeli military arrest on December 7, 2017, amid a widespread crackdown on protesters after U.S. President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. During the course of his detention, Israeli forces repeatedly assaulted him, both physically and verbally. DCIP lawyers represented him and worked to get Fawzi medical treatment for an injury sustained during detention.
Imprisoning a Generation is a 50-minute documentary film that follows the stories of four young Palestinians who have been detained and imprisoned in the Israeli military detention system and prosecuted in Israeli military courts. Their perspectives, along with the voices of their families, combine to form a lens into the entangled structures of oppression that expand well beyond the prison walls.Read more
The detention of Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi made international headlines. The 16-year-old Palestinian's defiant slapping of an Israeli soldier was heard across the world as footage of the incident went viral.
Tamimi, an already prominent activist, was later detained and charged with 12 different offenses. But Ahed Tamimi is not alone. There are hundreds of Palestinian child detainees in Israeli military detention during any given month.
Brad Parker, co-leader of the #nowaytotreatachild campaign and international advocacy officer at Defense for Children International - Palestine, joined Al Jazeera's The Stream on January 11, 2018 to discuss the situation of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention and the detention of Tamimi.
Detaining Dreams features the stories of four Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system.Read more