Israel’s Supreme Court, Scharf noted, requires that such people be interviewed by the social coordinator, which has increased her workload in terms of the number of interviews she must conduct.
Scharf met in January with four such individuals, sources told Haaretz; the meetings took place in Israel since they all had already received exit permits, meaning that any immediate threat has been removed.
Israeli law requires that a detention review be prepared for all minors, including Jewish minors from the West Bank who are suspected of committing crimes. Such a review greatly increases their chances of being released before the end of legal proceedings against them. In contrast, however, Palestinian minors from the West Bank are not entitled to this service since it is not legislated in military law. The latter does call for such surveys to be presented only when discussing punishment meted out to Palestinian minors after their conviction.
In August 2014, former Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein asked the IDF military advocate general to change military regulations so that they would include obligation to prepare detention reviews for Palestinian minors. In June 2016, state prosecutors promised, in the name of the IDF, that “extensive staff work” was being done in this matter and that it was “in its advanced stages.”
When no progress was made, Israeli human rights attorney Gaby Lasky filed a petition with the High Court of Justice, demanding that discrimination between Palestinian and Jewish minors be stopped. She filed the suit in the name of a Palestinian youth and three NGOs (the Public Committee against Torture, Rabbis for Human Rights and Physicians for Human Rights). Lasky noted that military judges themselves are often dismayed, when handing down their rulings, by the fact that army regulations do not acknowledge the necessity of detention reviews for Palestinian minors. According to her petition, the military court of appeals has often argued against military prosecutors’ opposition to the preparation of such reports.
Under the pressure of this petition, a year after it was submitted, the State Prosecutors Office announced in February 2018 that as per Weinstein’s suggestion, a draft ruling was prepared, giving military courts the option of demanding that such reviews be prepared. This still would not constitute complete equalization of the rights of detained Palestinian and Jewish minors, for whom such reviews are obligatory. In reviewing the budget for 2019, the state prosecution allocated funds for implementing this new policy, it was said. The Civil Administration believes it will take effect on July 1, 2019, after new social worker positions are guaranteed.
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