NEW YORK : Israeli security forces are abusing Palestinian children detained in the West Bank, according to Human Rights Watch, a prominent watchdog body.

Interviews with the detained children, whose number has has more than doubled since October 2015, video footage, and reports from lawyers reveal that Israeli security forces are using unnecessary force in arresting and detaining children, in some cases beating them, and holding them in unsafe and abusive conditions. “Palestinian children are treated in ways that would terrify and traumatize an adult,” Sari Bashi, Israel and Palestine country director, said in a statement. “Screams, threats, and beatings are no way for the police to treat a child or to get accurate information from them.”

Lawyers and human rights groups told Human Rights Watch that Israeli security forces routinely interrogate children without a parent present, violating international and domestic Israeli laws that provide special protections for detained children. The protections include requirements to arrest or detain a child only as a last resort and to take precautions to ensure that children are not compelled to confess guilt. The Convention on the Rights of the Child requires security forces to make the best interests of the child a primary consideration in all aspects of the juvenile justice system.

In July 2015, Human Rights Watch documented six cases of abuse of children whom Israeli security forces had detained in occupied East Jerusalem and other parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

In response, the Israeli police and military denied that the abuses had taken place and told Human Rights Watch that their forces conduct arrests and detention in accordance with the law.

Since then, Human Rights Watch has documented three new cases of physical abuse of children in custody and interrogation practices that violate these norms.

Criminal defence lawyers report that such abuse is endemic, HRW said. The failure to abide by international norms and protections under Israeli law concerning child detainees is particularly worrying given the spike in the number of children arrested during the recent violence involving children.

Since October, HRW said protests in the West Bank and Gaza have escalated, as has the use of live fire against demonstrators by Israeli forces. There has also been a wave of stabbings and attempted stabbings by Palestinians against Israeli civilians and security forces both in the West Bank and in Israel. As of February 29, 2016, 172 Palestinians and 24 Israelis had been killed, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Of 21 Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks and killed in 2016, nine were children, according to the UN.

Human Rights Watch said it interviewed three Palestinians, ages 14, 15, and 16, two of whom were arrested in East Jerusalem and a third in the West Bank city of Hebron, in October and November 2015. Each reported being subjected to unnecessary force during arrest or detention or both. Human Rights Watch also interviewed witnesses to all three of these arrests and viewed a security camera video in which police officers can be seen using what appears to be unnecessary force to arrest the 15-year-old boy. Human Rights Watch also interviewed criminal defense lawyers working in East Jerusalem, submitted a list of questions to the Israeli police minister through a Knesset (parliament) member, and submitted questions to the Israeli military spokesperson’s office and the Israeli police.