No New School Year for 350 Palestinian Children

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04 September 2016

With the start of the new academic year, there are approximately 350 Palestinian children held in Israeli detention and prison centers.[1] Approximately 700 Palestinian children under the age of 18 from the occupied West Bank are prosecuted every year through Israeli military courts after being arrested, interrogated and detained by the Israeli army. The most common charge levied against children is throwing stones, a crime that is punishable under military law by up to 20 years in prison. Since 2000, more than 12,000 Palestinian children have been detained.

Very limited provisions are made for the education of Palestinian child detainees. The Israeli Prison Service provides education only in Megiddo and Rimonim prisons but imposes restrictions on what subjects can be taught, allowing children to study only mathematics and humanities, and banning other subjects for “security reasons”. Girls under the age of 18 are usually detained with adult female prisoners and receive no formal education. While Israeli boys who are detained in Rimonim receive approximately 20 hours of taught classes per week and study in a special classroom, Palestinian boys detained in Megiddo prison are forced to study in the prison’s courtyard without any protection from weather conditions. Importantly, the Israeli Prison Service refuses to establish any coordination mechanism with the Palestinian Authority and as a consequence, Palestinian child detainees are taught according to the Israeli-Arab curriculum, instead of the official curriculum adopted by the Palestinian Ministry of Education. This has obvious negative consequences on a child detainee’s performance in school after he or she is released from prison.

For more information see Arrest and Detention of Palestinian Students and Academics.

[1] Addameer statistics, July 2016.