Peace Not Walls - March

Call on your representative to end systematic abuse of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention 

Peace Not Walls 2

Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi just spent her 17th birthday in Israeli military detention. Ahed was arrested by Israeli soldiers at her home in December, taken into custody and charged with several offenses including some relating to her allegedly assaulting an armed Israeli soldier who entered her family’s property on Dec. 15. Like other Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces in the West Bank, Ahed is subject to Israeli military law under which, as human-rights groups have documented, they routinely are mistreated.

For context on the Tamimi family’s resistance to the Israeli occupation of their land, the Israeli military’s responses, and how Ahed’s experience illustrates that of many Palestinian youth, see the article by Ahed’s cousin, Nour Tamimi, in The Washington Post.

Ahed has become the public face of youth who have been subjected to persistent and troubling practices by Israeli forces with regard to arresting, incarcerating and trying Palestinian children in Israeli military courts. 

The U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, Michael Link, said, “Sadly, this is not an isolated case.” He explained, “Figures from Palestine show that Israel detains and prosecutes between 500 to 700 Palestinian children in military courts annually.”

He went on to say, “We have received reports that these children are commonly mistreated while in detention, subjected to both physical and psychological abuse, deprived of access to lawyers or family members during interrogation, and tried under a military court system in which there are significant concerns regarding independence and impartiality and which has a worryingly high conviction rate.”

Human rights groups, including B’Tselem and Defense for Children International Palestine, have documented the abuse and rights violations to which Palestinian children are subjected in the Israeli military system.

On Nov. 14, Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., introduced a bill to prevent U.S. tax dollars from paying for human rights violations against Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.

The Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act (H.R. 4391) would require the secretary of state to certify annually that no funds obligated or expended in the previous year by the United States for assistance to Israel have been used to support prohibited practices under international law. If the secretary cannot make this certification, a detailed report would be required outlining the amount of money spent in violation of the legislation and how it was spent.

As a minimum safeguard, while Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation continue to be arrested and prosecuted within the Israeli military courts, Israeli authorities must respect and ensure basic due-process rights and the absolute prohibition against torture and mistreatment. From the moment of arrest, operations and procedures must be carried out in accordance with international juvenile justice standards, specifically the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Stand up for Palestinian children’s human rights.  Ask your representative to support H.R. 4391.

Click here to find out if your representative is already a co-sponsor, and if so, send a note of thanks!  If not, ask them to add their name as a co-sponsor of H.R 4391.

For more information, see the No Way to Treat a Child campaign.


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