Palestinian Prisoners in Israel’s Military Justice System (Part 2): A Focus on Palestinian Children

Jun 5 2020


Online only


Part 2

A Travesty of Justice: Palestinian Child Prisoners and Israeli Military Justice 

June 5, 2020

11:00am EST / 6:00pm Jerusalem 


Farah Bayadsi (Norwegian Refugee Council)

Smadar Ben Natan (Parents Against Child Detention)

Moderated by

Sarah Anne Minkin, PhD (FMEP)

Israel’s military justice system, including arrests, detention, interrogation, trials, and punishments, has served as a significant tool of the Israeli occupation since it began in 1967. Over the past 50+ years, Israel has prosecuted more than 760,000 Palestinians, or about one-fifth of the Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including thousands of children. Charges range from security offenses to traffic violations, with reports indicating a conviction rate greater than 90%. Being arrested, as thousands of Palestinians are each year, may result in administrative detention, remand until the end of proceedings and lengthy prison sentences, debilitating fines, and interrogations in inhuman conditions that include torture.

FMEP is proud to offer this webinar series to look at the role and impact of military justice on Palestinians and its function in Israel’s occupation. Part 1 will explore the procedures of military justice as day-to-day processes and part of the broader system of occupation, and how arrests, interrogations, and punishment impact Palestinians as individuals and as a society. Part 2 will focus on Palestinian children in the miltiary justice system and will include discussion of the legal frameworks of child detention, the experiences of Palestinian children and their families, and efforts by international and Israeli advocates to end abusive practices and protect children’s rights. 

Panelist Biographies

Adv. Farah Bayadsi began working as a lawyer for the Addameer-Prisoner Support and Human Rights Organization, where she addressed the legal inequalities within the Israeli court system and under the Israeli military system in the West Bank. Since 2014, Farah has tackled cases within the Israeli civil and military court involving political arrests, administrative detention, hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, and addressed legal inequalities between Israeli citizens and Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Through this work, she became exposed to dire conditions within these prisoners and the recurring discrepancy between the law in the books and its application. In this vein, the issue of the arrest and detention of Palestinians minors had resonated significantly with Farah as she never forgets her first client, who grew his first facial hair while serving time in prison. Then she served for 3 years as a lawyer at Defense for Children International – Palestine, where she provided legal aid to Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces and prosecuted in Israeli military courts and Israeli civil system in East Jerusalem. She specializes in issues of juvenile justice and speaks on the situation of Palestinian child detainees, specifically issues of ill-treatment and torture of child detainees within the Israeli military detention system and violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. She earned her LL.B from Shaarei Mishpat College college in Hod Hasharon and her LL.M in International Law and Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and she is currently writing her thesis on the detention of Palestinian minors in East Jerusalem and she serves as a research officer at the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Smadar Ben-Natan is an Israeli human rights lawyer specializing in detention, torture, and criminal justice issues under the Israeli occupation. She is completing her PhD dissertation on Israeli military courts and is currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. She is a board member of Parents against Child Detention and B’tselem.

Sarah Anne Minkin, PhD is a Bay Area-based expert on the intersection between Israeli civil society and Palestinian civil rights and human rights advocacy as well as the ways that American Jews approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a consultant with the Foundation for Middle East Peace, she works to deepen FMEP’s relationships with existing and potential grantees and build relationships with new partners in the philanthropic community. She is a lecturer at the University of San Francisco and an affiliated faculty member at University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Right-Wing Studies.