BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- One of the major obstacles to ongoing peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is the continuation of Israeli forces' detentions raids across the West Bank.
These rarely remarked-upon raids are carried out day and night in Palestinian areas and often involve the detention of children.
Israel has said that it will not halt detention raids even if a peace agreement is signed, a stipulation that is unacceptable to the Palestinian Authority.
In light of Israeli authorities' insistence on carrying out these raids, the Palestinian Authority's military liaison department has started working over the last two years to mitigate their effects.
"This role has been neglected (in the past). ... I contacted the Israeli military liaison department and proposed (applying) the UNICEF definition of children's rights, highlighting that Palestinian children are being terrified and denied their rights when they are detained for various charges," said the director of the PA's military liaison department Jihad al-Jayousi.
He told Ma'an that his Israeli counterparts reacted positively to his remarks.
"In April 2012, we agreed that when any Palestinian child is detained, the Palestinian liaison department could intervene and release him even before he is sent to the Israeli police."
According to Defense for Children International, between 500-700 Palestinian children are detained by Israeli forces in the West Bank every year and prosecuted in Israeli military courts.
Al-Jayousi confirmed that his department managed to free 90 percent of Palestinian minors whose cases were brought forward by either family members, governorate offices, or other means.
"Last year we managed to free 349 minors," he added.
Asked about the methods, al-Jayousi said his department's offices across the West Bank usually call their Israeli counterparts to ask about minors who have been detained. At this point, the Israeli department contacts the Israeli force that has detained the minors, "and we go and receive."
The process, he said, could take as little as 15 minutes or as much as a few hours.
Al-Jayousi highlighted that when district offices fail to free minors in some cases, he "personally intervenes to secure the release."
There is also a police liaison department, he added, which is a division of the military liaison department. Palestinian and Israeli police liaise on criminal issues such as robberies, drug-related issues, and murder.
"For example, some Palestinian fugitives who escaped to Israel after they were accused of murder and drugs have been handed to us by Israeli police, including the suspects believed to be behind the death of the governor of Qalqiliya, Qaddura Mousa."