Julie Bishop MP – responding to questions by Rebekha Sharkie on Australia’s attitude towards Israeli military detention of Palestinian children

photo of Julie Bishop MP
September 14, 2017

Since November 2016, the Australian Government has continued to express its interest in, and concerns over, Israeli security and judicial practices towards Palestinian minors. In October 2017, the Australian Government clearly stated these concerns in representations, by a senior official from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to the Israeli Embassy in Canberra.

Full speech

Ms Rebekha Sharkie: asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs on 14 September 2017:

In respect of concerns regarding the treatment of Palestinian children by the Israeli military, as identified in reports from UNICEF and Military Court Watch, including that most children do not have parents or legal counsel present during interrogation; 75 per cent report physical violence; a quarter are made to sign a statement in a language they do not understand; and up to 60 per cent are transferred into Israel, restricting the access of family members:

(1) What representations, if any, has the Australian Government made to the Government of Israel on these issues since November 2016.

(2) Is the Government aware of any substantive improvement over the last twelve months to the conditions that Palestinian children face in military custody.

Ms Bishop: the answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) Since November 2016, the Australian Government has continued to express its interest in, and concerns over, Israeli security and judicial practices towards Palestinian minors. In October 2017, the Australian Government clearly stated these concerns in representations, by a senior official from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to the Israeli Embassy in Canberra. In August 2017, the same senior official from the Department [of Foreign Affairs and Trade] raised the issue during meetings with Israeli officials in Israel. The Australian Embassy in Israel has also made representations to the Government of Israel on three occasions since November 2016: to the head of COGAT, the Israeli Defence Force arm responsible for the civilian population in the Palestinian Territories, in July 2017; to the Ministry of Defence in February 2017; and to the Ministry of Justice in February 2017.

(2) The Australian Government is aware that Israel has taken a number of steps to improve conditions for minors in detention. We continue to monitor progress on reforms, including through our Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Link to parliamentary Hansard

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