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Center for the Study of Multiculturalism and Diversity

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, 9190501

tel. 972.2.5494950

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Bella Kovner

Institute of Criminology.

Research Topic

Faculty of Law Child Arrest and Juvenile Justice in East Jerusalem.

Research Summary

When addressing children’s rights in crises and emergencies, specifically within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is necessary to examine the particular socio-political and multicultural context that informs the unique realities and perceptions of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. These children suffer from a three-tiered oppression, increasing the likelihood of arrest and detainment by Israeli police forces. These factors include: structural discrimination that targets them as criminals based on their ethnicity; a lack of resources, supervision, and assistance as they fall under the responsibility of neither the Palestinian nor the Israeli socio-legal system; and limited access to the welfare, justice, and education structures.

The complex multicultural nature of the context; i.e., East Jerusalem, require that the study delves into two contradictory components; a) the cultural and racial strategies that invade children's welfare, and hinder their accessibility to justice; b) the multi-cultural nature that brings together lawyers, prosecutors, parents, mental health workers and criminal justice personal that through their engagement in child arrest can create a new maze to the child, but, can also contain, support, and maintain children's rights. 

With the aim to promote the safeguarding of children’s rights within the specific context of East Jerusalem, the proposed research examines the specific approaches, perspectives, and ideologies concerning Palestinian children’s access to justice as perceived by state representatives such as Policy makers, Judicial and Law Enforcement Professionals, as well as members of local and international civil society organizations. These perspectives have yet to be examined through methodological research; however, are essential for understanding different perceptions toward child arrest and, ultimately, for promoting a multicultural and child-centered justice system. The findings will be used to expand the current socio-legal knowledge base and discourse by producing several academic articles on the subject matter.