Each year Israeli occupation soldiers conduct about 3,200 search and arrest operations in occupied Palestinian West Bank. Approximately 2,800 of these operations, where tens of children are being arrested, occur at night.
Israel justifies this practice on the basis that the territory is subject to military rule (temporarily since 1967) as permitted under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Somewhat inconsistently Israel does not enforce military law on Israelis living in the same area in settlements built in violation of the Convention.
The level of fear, intimidation and trauma induced by these operations on the Palestinian civilian population should not be underestimated.
Here are descriptions of a number of Palestinian children, who were arrested at night during 2020, for their arrests which happened at night.
R K, 15 years, said: “At around 3:30am, I was woken up by torch light shining in my face. I opened my eyes and saw about 10 Israeli soldiers in my bedroom. The commander asked me for my name then told me to get up and put some clothes on because I was to be arrested. He did not give a reason for the arrest and did not give my parents any documents.”
A S, 17 years, said: “I was arrested from my home at around 4am. I was up studying and I heard loud banging at our front door. My father opened the door and about 15 Israeli soldiers entered our home.
“My younger sister, who is 13 years old, was terrified and started to cry. They asked for our identity cards and then searched the house and took all the clothes out of the wardrobes. They did not tell us what they were looking for.”
M H, 17 years, said: “I woke up at around 2am to the sound of loud banging at our front door. I opened the door and six Israeli soldiers entered our home. I could see many more soldiers were outside.
“A soldier asked to check our identity cards and then the commander told me I was under arrest. He did not give me any documents or tell me why I was being arrested. He told me to get dressed and then I was taken away.”
A D, 15 years, said: “A day before my arrest the military commander in charge of our refugee camp phoned my father. He said I was involved ‘in stuff’ and if my father did not control me, he would shoot me.
“The following morning, at around 4am, I woke up to banging and explosions. My father opened the door and about 10 soldiers entered. I was still in bed when soldiers entered my bedroom. The soldiers searched our home and broke some furniture.”