Dealing with Alleged Child Collaborators in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the Spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Defence for Children International – Palestine Section

The Israeli intelligence services (Shabak) continually seek to recruit Palestinian children as informants. A field survey with former child detainees conducted in 2003 by DCI-PS, estimated that 60 per cent of the children interviewed, some of them as young as 12, were reported to have been tortured or subjected to other forms of coercion or inducement in an attempt to make them cooperate. By late 2003 in Gaza alone there were on average 40 attempts to recruit minors every month.

Children accused of being recruited as informants by the Israeli authorities are at risk of stigmatization, exclusion, and on occasion, retaliation. On 5 February 2002, shortly after death sentences were passed on Khaled Kamiel and Jihad Kamiel (both 17 years old), by the Palestinian State Security Court in Jenin for the killing of a member of the Palestinian Authority security services, unidentified armed men entered the court and shot dead both boys. They had been accused of collaborating with the Israeli authorities.

There is a growing need to prevent the use of Palestinian children as collaborators and to protect children who have allegedly been used as collaborators by the Israeli forces. Palestinian Authorities and community and religious leaders, schools, families and Palestinian and international non governmental organizations (NGOs) all have a key role to play in this prevention and protection task.

This report, the result of the workshop “Dealing with alleged child collaborators in the Occupied Palestinian Territory [(OPT)] in the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” is designed to shed some light over one of the most important and sensitive issues regarding child protection in the OPT. It provides an extensive overview of international legal standards concerning collaboration, the psychosocial effects of collaboration on children, the roles that should be played by various groups in the Palestinian community in order to address these issues, and principles of restorative justice. By raising the profile of this problem, this report aims to change attitudes within Palestinian society by deepening the local understanding of the enormous pressure to which Palestinian children are subjected and encouraging people to recognize that children are the victims of child collaboration. Furthermore, it aims to spur all related international organizations to further investigate and take action to combat this practice, advocate for the best interests of our children, and help protect them from being used by the Israeli intelligence services.

©Defence for Children International and The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers