Where are the children?

167 children have not been released and remained jailed in Israeli prisons

(CHICAGO 10/19/2011) – No Palestinian children were among the 477 political prisoners released from Israeli jails on Tuesday and it is no longer certain whether they will be part of the deal to swap 1,027 Palestinians for one Israeli soldier, who was returned to his family this week.

An official from Ramallah-based Defence for Children International – Palestine Section confirmed to AMP this morning that 164 Palestinian children still are behind bars.

“So far, Israel didn’t release any children,” said Ayed Abu Qtaish, DCI accountability programs director. “One-hundred-sixty-four Palestinian children are still in prison and their rights are being violated during their arrests, during their interrogations and during their court proceedings.”

Abu Qtaish said he did not know whether the children, some as young as 12 years old, will be included in the second prisoner release, expected in about two months.

Earlier media reports had indicated all children would be released, along with all women and elderly.

According to the latest figures released by the Israeli Prison Service and DCI-Palestine, at the end of September there were 164 Palestinian children, aged 12 to 17 years in Israeli detention facilities, including 35 kids between the ages of 12 and 15.

Each year, Israeli military courts prosecute about 700 Palestinian children from the West Bank, according to DCI. Since the year 2000, the Israeli military occupation authorities have detained about 7,500 kids, who are often harassed or tortured.

TAKE ACTION
Call your elected representatives in Congress and demand they pressure Israel to release the children. Find your representative here.

TALKING POINTS

  • Holding Palestinian children in Israeli prisons violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring the population it is occupying to its own territory.
  • Incarcerating minors, especially holding them without charge in administrative detention, violates the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Continuing to support Israel with more than $3 billion in military aid and loan guarantees while it continues to violate international law is not in our best interest. This weakens the U.S. stance throughout the Arab and Muslim world, threatens our national security and calls into question our role as the ‘honest’ broker in the Middle East.

For more information on Palestinian child prisoners, please click here.

The American Muslims for Palestine is a national grassroots organization, whose mission is to educate the public and media about Palestine and its rich, cultural heritage. For more information, go to www.ampalestine.org.

 

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