Demand release of these children from Israeli prison
This afternoon (Monday 10th Oct), nine children aged 13-17 from Aida refugee camp were kidnapped by masked Israeli Zionist forces. On Wednesday October 5th three 14-year-olds, Mustafa Bdair, Mo'taz Barak'ah and Omar Radi were seized from their homes at 4am by Israeli soldiers. They were released on Sunday evening. The three are members of Lajee Dance group from in Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem (twinned with Glasgow). Some of us hosted the young Palestinians during their most recent UK tour in July. They are our friends.
Over 300 Palestinian children remain in Israeli prisons. Israel prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees. Since 2000, at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in an Israeli military detention system notorious for the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children. Three out of four children experience physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military court system.
Attacks on the Lajee center have escalated since Celtic Fans raised over £170,000 divided between Medical Aid for Palestine and the Lajee Centre in Aida Camp. These specific night raids by Israeli soldiers fit into a pattern of reprisals that follow international gestures of solidarity with the Centre under an Israeli military occupation that the UK and other governments officially consider to be illegal.
Israeli soldiers attacked the Lajee Centre with teargas and rubber bullets on 19 Sept while the children were inside. The following night, the soldiers, who use the inhabitants of the camp for training purposes, deliberately opened the gate of the center, threw teargas grenades inside and closed the gate, trapping the children inside, forcing them to inhale toxic teargas.
It’s hard to endure arrests and torture when you feel you have been forgotten by the whole world. Even a chink of light into the darkness can give hope. Israel arrests – kidnaps – many thousands of Palestinians, men women and children, for a variety of reasons - generally to break the Palestinian will to resist their dispossession, sometimes as bargaining chips in negotiations, sometimes because an individual has filmed or reported some Israeli brutality, e.g. the execution of a helpless Palestinian, the shooting of a blindfolded captive. News of support from around the world can change everything, even the balance of power in a dungeon, when the jailers and jailed hear of international solidarity with the violated. We know this from the experience of the liberation struggle in South Africa.
Please ask your MP to demand the immediate and unconditional release of these children and to join the outcry over the night raids, arrests, and frequent torture of our friends in Aida Refugee Camp and across Palestine.
For more information about Palestinian political prisoners visit: www.addameer.org