A group of Israeli parents mark International Day for the Rights of the Child by raising awareness of the conditions of Palestinian minors in Israeli custody.
For the majority of Israelis, stories of mass arrests of Palestinians in the occupied territories are nothing new. And yet, the Israeli mainstream rarely hears about Palestinian children who are routinely rounded up from their beds in the middle of the night and taken into detention. That’s why on Tuesday, which marked International Day for the Rights of the Child, a group of Israeli activists read testimonies by Palestinian minors arrested by Israeli security forces in the heart of Tel Aviv.
The event was organized by a group named “Parents Against Child Arrests,” who seek to raise public awareness over the issue of child arrests. Nirith Ben-Horin, a social worker and mother of two, says she decided to act after realizing that these kinds of arrests are a routine matter in the occupied territories.
“I am a social worker, I work with families who make such a great effort to stay together,” says Ben-Horin. “The thought of tearing apart a child from his home, from his parents, from the safety of the world he knows, and doing so without the understanding that this is a child we are talking about — it’s very difficult.”
“I felt that I could not stand aside and do nothing,” Ben-Horin said. “We began holding meetings once every two weeks to brainstorm and see what we could do. In June we opened up a Facebook page that we update with testimonies provided by Hamoked — Center for the Defense of the Individual. We also work with Military Court Watch, which takes testimonies from minors after they are released and publish them in English and Arabic.”
According to statistics provided to B’Tselem by the Israel Prison Service, at the end of August 2018, 239 Palestinian minors were being held as “security prisoners” in Israeli jails, including three in administrative detention. Under administrative detention, detainees are held indefinitely without charge or trial — and with out any way to defend themselves — on the basis of secret evidence. Such orders can be renewed indefinitely for up to six months at a time.Read More