Israeli draft law to allow for imprisonment of 12 year olds

Israeli draft law may allow Palestinian children as young as 12 to be detained and tried as adults

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens as US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media before their meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, November 24, 2015.

An Israeli ministerial committee has approved a highly controversial law which would allow the imprisonment of Palestinian children as young as 12, instead of the current law which sets the minimum age at 14.

The newly passed draft has been swiftly condemned and criticised by various human rights organisations.

The draft bill enables Israel to impose jail terms for children as young as 12, especially if they are found guilty of "nationalistic-motivated" crimes, murder, attempted murder and manslaughter. The bill was authorised by Israel's Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

For the bill to become law in Israel it should be passed by Israel's parliament, the Knesset, with a majority,

If passed, the law would also be imposed on Palestinian children living in the occupied territories as well as those carrying Israeli citizenship.

Such proposals come in the midst of escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Eighty nine Palestinians have been shot dead by Israelis since October 1, while 19 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian stabbing attacks.

Palestinians say the recent violence is the result of frustration from nearly half a century of occupation and they accuse Israel of using excessive force to suppress the unrest, while Israel says it has been caused by a Palestinian campaign of lies and provocation surrounding the Muslim holy site of Al Aqsa Mosque.

Most recently on Tuesday, US secretary of state John Kerry visited Jerusalem for the first time in a year to discuss the recent violence.

Kerry’s visit does not include ambitious goals, like jump starting the stalled peace talks or reaching a resolution that could end bloodshed before US President Barack Obama’s period of office in the White House elapses.

TRTWorld and agencies