Why Military Detention of Palestinian Youth Must End

The arrest and detention of children inside the occupied Palestinian territories has dominated headlines in the wake of the Ahed Tamimi case. Yet her experience of military incarceration is by no means unique among Palestinian children - which is why we’re adding our name to a new petition calling for action. Find out more

Ahed Tamimi dominated headlines after video footage of the 16-year-old slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier sparked debate all over the world. The events that led up to the video were less public - events which saw Ahed’s unarmed 15-year-old cousin shot in the face by an Israeli soldier with a rubber-coated steel bullet that lodged in his brain.

Ahed’s wild forest of curls and determined gaze have captured the public imagination - yet the Tamimis are only some among the many children who face imprisonment under Israeli military law every year.

According to Palestinian sources, 1,467 children aged between 12 and 17 were arrested by Israeli forces in 2017 - that’s an average of four children every day. Most of these children are arrested in late-night home raids, traumatizing not only them but their younger siblings and families. 

Military law is only intended for temporary use in extraordinary circumstances - yet it has been applied in the West Bank for the last 50 years of occupation. Both Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups have documented the shocking consistency of physical and psychological abuse during these arrests. This is why we believe these arrests must end.

New Petition Campaign

War Child and our local partners inside the occupied Palestinian territories work with Palestinian children, families and communities to promote their human rights, and help them cope with, and recover from, the psychological effects of life under occupation.

And whenever we see that children’s rights are being violated - no matter by whom - we take action. Which is why War Child is lending its name to a nationwide petition in the Netherlands calling for an end to the military detention of Palestinian children.

This action is part of our membership of the Palestinian Children’s Coalition (Palestijnse Kinderrechten Coalitie). The petition calls upon the Dutch government to take steps to ensure that Israel adheres to proper implementation of its own laws and regulations regarding the detention of children and youth - and upholds international human rights accords.

Photo (C) Haim Schwarczenberg https://schwarczenberg.com