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Israel subjecting Palestinian children to 'spiral of injustice'

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Israel and Palestinian youthA belief that every Palestinian child is a potential terrorist may be leading to a "spiral of injustice" and breaches of international law in Israel's treatment of child detainees in military custody, a delegation of eminent British lawyers has concluded in an independent report backed by the Foreign Office.

The nine-strong delegation, led by the former high court judge Sir Stephen Sedley and including the UK's former attorney-general Lady Scotland, found that "undisputed facts" pointed to at least six violations of the UN convention on the rights of the child, to which Israel is a signatory. It was also in breach of the fourth Geneva convention in transferring child detainees from the West Bank to Israeli prisons, the delegation said.

Its report, Children in Military Custody, released on Tuesday, was based on a visit to Israel and the West Bank last September funded and facilitated by the Foreign Office and the British consulate in Jerusalem.

It makes 40 specific recommendations concerning the treatment of Palestinian child detainees.

The issue has come under increasing scrutiny by human rights organisations and visiting delegations over the past year. In January the Guardian highlighted the use of solitary confinement in a report on the experiences of children under the military justice system.

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