The Issues - Children Under Occupation
Reports and Resources
H.R. 2407, "PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS BY ENDING ISRAELI MILITARY DETENTION OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN ACT", re-introduced by Representative Betty McCollum on 4/30/19 (first introduced November 2017 as H.R.4391). It would require that the almost $4 billion a year the U.S. gives Israel not be used for the Israeli military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children. It would also provide at least $19 million to monitor such abuse and to treat victims. Mistreatment of Palestinian children by the Israeli military has been documented by Human Rights Watch, B'tselem, UNICEF, Defense for Children International and others. Representative McCollum’s press release.
UNPROTECTED: THE DETENTION OF PALESTINIAN TEENAGERS IN EAST JERUSALEM, October 25, 2017 report by B'tselem and HaMoked. "Palestinian teenagers from East Jerusalem are pulled out of bed in the middle of the night, unnecessarily handcuffed and then made to spend a long time waiting for their interrogation to begin. Only then, when they are tired and broken, are they taken in for lengthy interrogation sessions, without being given the opportunity to speak to a lawyer or their parents before the questioning begins and without understanding that they have the right to remain silent. They are then held in the detention facility under harsh conditions, for days and weeks, even once the interrogation has, in fact, ended..."
MCCOLLUM LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA REQUESTING A SPECIAL ENVOY for Palestinian Children, June 20, 2016: Representative Betty McCollum and 19 other Representatives signed a letter to President Obama asking him to appoint a Special Envoy to work to protect the rights of Palestinian children under the Israeli occupation. Delaware's Representative Carney did not sign. Representative McCollum's press release.
NO WAY TO TREAT A CHILD CAMPAIGN - led by Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy, American Friends Service Committee, and Defense for Children International Palestine. Activity updates and Senate briefings.
"Each year an average of 700 Palestinian children - most of them accused of throwing stones - are prosecuted in two military courts operating in the West Bank. From the moment of arrest, Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and in some cases torture at the hands of Israeli soldiers, policemen, and interrogators...."
UNICEF - CHILDREN IN ISRAELI MILITARY DETENTION - OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS - Bulletin No. 2 - February 2015. This is the second follow-up to the 2013 UNICEF Report (see below).
"The data demonstrates the need for further actions to improve the protection of children in military detention, as reports of alleged ill-treatment of children during arrest, transfer, interrogation and detention have not significantly decreased in 2013 and 2014." (p.2/16)
"In November 2014, the Human Rights Committee noted the 'positive developments in the administration of juvenile military justice, including the increase in the age of majority in the military courts from 16 to 18 years and the adoption of a number of military orders providing for guarantees and safeguards for children' and expressed 'concerns that such reforms appear not to be effectively implemented in practice and that Palestinian children are still exposed to arbitrary arrest and detention and often do not enjoy full procedural rights (arts. 2, 7, 9, 10, 14 and 24)'”. (p. 6/16)
“Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized... The pattern of ill-treatment includes the arrests of children at their homes between midnight and 5:00 am by heavily armed soldiers; the practice of blindfolding children and tying their hands with plastic ties; physical and verbal abuse during transfer to an interrogation site, including the use of painful restraints; lack of access to water, food, toilet facilities and medical care; interrogation using physical violence and threats; coerced confessions; and lack of access to lawyers or family members during interrogation... These practices are in violation of international law that protects all children against ill-treatment when in contact with law enforcement, military and judicial institutions." UNICEF, Children in Israeli Military Detention, pp. 13-14 (February 2013)
"More than 30 former Israeli soldiers have disclosed their experiences of the treatment of Palestinian children during military operations and arrests, pointing to a pattern of abuse. A booklet of testimonies, published by Breaking the Silence, an organisation of former Israeli soldiers dedicated to publicising the day-to-day actions of the army in the occupied territories, contains descriptions of beatings, intimidation, humiliation, verbal abuse, night-time arrests and injury. Most of the children had been suspected of stone-throwing." "The report teems with instances of teenagers, some 14 and 15, held till they foul themselves. They soil themselves because of beatings or because they are manacled and not allowed to go to a bathroom overnight. Other forms of humiliation include slapping children in the face, making them take off their pants to be searched, and stepping on their testicles." (August 2012)
"Since DCIP’s inception in 1991, we remain the only Palestinian human rights organization specifically focused on child rights. Our highest value is the pursuit of each child’s best interests. To this end, we are guided by the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), as well as other international, regional and local standards.
As a national section of Defense for Children International (DCI), an international child-rights movement and non-governmental organization established in 1979, we pledge to follow DCI’s mandate to 'promote and protect children’s rights in accordance with international standards.'”
Playgrounds for Palestine
Playgrounds for Palestine is exceptionally proud of its initiative to sell fair trade Palestinian olive oil from Jerusalem and the West Bank. All proceeds from PfP's olive oil sales go directly into covering overhead for PfP and building more playgrounds for children in Palestine. To purchase Palestinian olive oil, click here.To learn more about the olive oil initiative, click here.
"Lots of work and effort goes into building playgrounds in Palestine. Playgrounds that are purchased abroad are shipped and assembled using local labor. We transfer "ownership" of the equipment to a local Palestinian NGO or municipality that takes over the responsibility of maintaining the playground and providing access to all children. The land is always donated. In nearly every aspect of operations in Palestine, we rely on the generosity and dedication of ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) to help us ship the equipment, transport it on the ground, liaise with local organizations and local communities to install the playgrounds."
From the Middle East Children's Alliance: The Maia Project: Bringing Clean Water to the Children of Gaza
The growing water crisis in Palestine affects agriculture, industry, and the health of virtually every adult and child. In the Gaza Strip, poor sanitation and over-extraction have polluted the limited water supply. In September 2009, the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) launched the Maia Project (Arabic for “water”) to provide Palestinian children with clean, safe drinking water.
This project began when the Student Parliament at the UN Boys’ School in Bureij Refugee Camp, Gaza were given the opportunity to choose one thing they most wanted for their school: They chose to have clean drinking water. MECA’s partner in Gaza heard about this vote and, after meeting with representatives from the school and the Student Parliament, came to MECA to see if we could respond to the children’s request for drinking water. MECA provided the funds to build a water purification and desalination unit for the school in 2007. MECA is working in partnership with community organizations in Gaza to build water purification and desalination units in schools throughout the Gaza Strip.
We have provided clean water to 16 large UN schools in Palestinian refugee camps and to 22 kindergartens in refugee camps, towns, and villages.