Hearing about the treatment meted out to Palestinian children held by Israeli forces is heart-breaking.
14 year old Tareq* was woken at 1.30am by the sound of his front door being blown in by the Israeli army. He was handcuffed with plastic ties, blindfolded and kicked by soldiers.
During Tareq’s interrogation he was first accused of throwing Molotov cocktails but when he told them he didn’t know how to make Molotov cocktails they said ‘in that case you are accused of throwing stones’. After being punched in the stomach and kicked for two hours Tareq said he ‘couldn’t take the pain so I decided to confess’. He signed a confession in Hebrew, a language he does not understand.
However, when he arrived in court no charges were brought and he was told to go home. His parents had not been informed of his release but he managed to return home alone after two days of detention. This happened in October but sadly Tareq’s is not an isolated case. According to the Israeli Prison Service there was an 80 per cent jump in the number of children in Israeli military detention in October 2015 – the highest level since April 2010.
The good news is that we can do more than sympathise with Tareq and other children abused like him – we can ask our MPs to raise his and other cases of child detention in Parliament. Ask your MP to take part in the debate on Palestinian child prisoners in Parliament>
There will be a debate in Parliament on Wednesday 6th January. A government minister will be asked to set out what the UK Government is doing to defend Palestinian children’s rights. Let’s make sure MPs hold the Government to account.
Ask your MP to speak in this debate and to shine a light on the abuse suffered by children in the Israeli detention system.
In 2012 the UK Government funded a report to look at the situation of child prisoners. The report included more than 40 recommendations, and was widely welcomed by the international community. Partly due to British efforts there have been a number changes (legal and procedural) but what is telling is the level of abuse has largely remained unchanged. UNICEF’s 2013 conclusion that “the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process” is still valid now.
Help us to change this. All children – whether they are Israeli or Palestinian – should be treated fairly and equally. All children have the right to enjoy their childhood.
*His identity is anonymised so Tareq is used instead of his real name