Tag Archives: Shalit

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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Rejoice with prisoners’ release but remember the thousands left behind in Israeli prisons

(CHICAGO 10/11/2011) — The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) hails the news that Israeli occupation forces will free more than 1,000 Palestinian political prisoners in return for the release of one Israeli soldier. Palestinian and Israeli officials announced the deal separately on Tuesday.

At the same time, we condemn plans to deport 40 Palestinians to an unnamed foreign country, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from deporting the people it occupies from their homeland. We must also remember that despite the release of 1,027 Palestinians from unlawful detention, thousands more are still languishing in Israeli prisons.

At the end of August, 5,204 Palestinians were incarcerated in Israeli prisons; and 272 of them were being held indefinitely without charge, according to Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem. Other human rights organizations have reported there are more than 6,000 Palestinians being detained. More than 200 prisoners have been on a hunger strike to protest the substandard conditions in which they are forced to live.

“These arrests and detentions are vestiges of Israel’s cruel and inhumane occupation of the Palestinian people,” said Dr. Hatem Bazian, AMP chairman. “Since Israel occupied the remainder of Palestine in 1967, they have incarcerated 20 percent of the Palestinian population, in direct contravention of international law. This is unjust and is a strong obstacle to achieving peace in the region.”

Among Palestinians to be released are at least 27 women, 180 children and those who have been given life sentences and/or have spent more than 20 years as political detainees in prisons within Israel, according to media reports.

AMP urges people to remember that the thousands of Palestinians left behind in Israeli prisons are more than statistics. They are human beings with names and families. They are people with lives full of stories and memories, hopes and fears, laughter and tears; and, like us, they have dreams of the future.

One of children being released most likely is 15-year-old, Ahmed D., who was violently yanked from his bed in East Jerusalem at 2 a.m. on Sept. 14, the Swiss-based Defence for Children International – Palestine Section wrote. Sameer S., 12, of Azzun village, is another child who was arrested recently, also at 2 a.m. And Ayed Dudeen is a father of six, who was released in June after being held without charge for 3 and a half years. He was rearrested in August and again is being held without charge, according to prisoner rights organization Addameer.

“Palestinian political prisoners are a byproduct of occupation, which is the source of all injustice and instability in the region,” Dr. Bazian said. “International laws guarantee all people the right to resist their occupation and to see their own freedom and self-determination.”

It is time for the last and longest occupation in the modern world to end. America was built on the universal values of freedom, liberty and dignity. We, Americans, have been fighting for these values around the globe for centuries.

AMP stands in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners. We continue to call on Congress to pressure Israel to release all political prisoners. Congress must also end military aid to Israel and continue to pressure Israel to end the occupation of the Palestinian people and lift the siege on Gaza. Congress, whose very existence is owed to the struggle for freedom, liberty and justice more than 200 years ago, must ultimately agree that Palestinians deserve these inalienable rights, too.

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