Israeli occupation forces arrested 543 Palestinian children last year, a majority of them from the occupied city of Jerusalem, human rights lawyer Abdel Nasser Farwana has revealed.
Farwana added that the detained children have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention in difficult conditions, deprivation, torture and unfair trials, explaining that currently some 180 children are still languishing in the Israeli occupation prisons and detention centres, in a flagrant violation of all international conventions and agreements.
“The targeting and arrest of Palestinian children has been a constant Israeli policy since the beginning of the occupation which continued without interruption throughout the past long decades, accompanied by many grave violations and terrible crimes, aimed at distorting the children’s reality, destroying their future and negatively affecting their future orientations,” he said.
According to the expert, over the past few years, the Israeli Knesset has approved several unjust laws targeting Palestinian minors, to facilitate their arrest and trial such as the law which enables Israeli authorities to imprison children from the age of 12, and the law establishing a minimum prison sentence of three years for people who throw rocks at Israeli occupation forces and vehicles.
Farwana stressed that the Israel’s targeting of Palestinian children has continued despite the coronavirus pandemic, noting that occupation forces have used the pandemic to deprived the minors of their rights to lawyers and family visits. They have also not taken the appropriate measures to protect them from infection in detention.
Israeli leaders, he continued, should be held accountable for their criminal practices.