Minute on the Military Imprisonment of Palestinian Children by Israel
Approved by Burlington Friends Meeting 9 February 2020
Responding to the NEYM presiding clerk’s call that we “live into” New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM) Minute 2017-46, Burlington Friends Meeting endorses American Friends Service Committee’s “No Way To Treat A Child” campaign in order to address the systematic ill treatment of Palestinian children under the age of 18 in the Israeli system of military detention.
Since 2000, AFSC reports that at least 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli forces and held in military detention. Often arrested in their homes at night, they are bound, blindfolded, and taken by military vehicle for interrogation. The process includes verbal abuse, threats, and in three out of four cases, physical violence. They are denied legal counsel and the presence of their parents. Subsequent trials take place in military courts where half receive custodial sentences averaging three to twelve months, some serve up to three years.
This treatment of minors violates the United Nations 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child—ratified by 194 countries, including Israel—that guarantees detainees: due process, the presumption of innocence, legal representation, and an impartial judicial process, “which reinforces the child’s respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which take into account the child’s age.” (Article 40).
The “No Way to Treat a Child” campaign is endorsed by 24 human rights organizations including AFSC, and urges public support for U.S. House of Representatives 2407, a bill introduced by Representative McCollum, that would forbid the use of U.S. funds to “support the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children in violation of international humanitarian law”. Burlington Monthly Meeting will begin “living into” NEYM Minute 2017-46 by working to build public support for H.R. 2407 as one of several possibilities for action. Realizing that a public voice on this matter is urgent and appropriate, we ask that NEYM’s presiding clerk and secretary issue a public statement of support for “No Way To Treat a Child” and specifically for H.R. 2407.