Black Square with silhouette of young child with a blindfold and the words Stop Israeli Military Detention

Jewish Voice for Peace, along with many other national organizations, is a campaign partner of the “No Way to Treat a Child” campaign that seeks to challenge Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system. This is a project of Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) and American Friends Service Committee. The Central Ohio JVP Chapter is actively supporting this campaign.

Israel is the only country in the world that arrests and tries minors under military law. Currently, Israel prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts each year. Palestinian children in the West Bank, like adults, face arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment under a military detention system that denies their basic human rights and violate international law. 

In the West Bank, there are two separate legal systems, with Israeli military law imposed on Palestinian children living under occupation, and Israeli civilian law applied to children living in the illegal settlements. The U.S. State Department's 2016 human rights report on Israel states that military courts have more than a 99% conviction rate for Palestinian defendants.

The maltreatment of children arrested under Israeli military law is extremely well documented by Human Rights Watch, DCI-P, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, UNICEF, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the U.S. State Department. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child reviewed Israel’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and declared that Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces “continue to be systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often act of torture.”  Ill-treatment of children in the Israeli military detention system remains "widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process" of arrest, interrogation, trial, and imprisonment, according to the UNICEF report Children in Israeli Military Detention, Observations and Recommendations (2013).  

From Testimonies of 739 Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank and prosecuted in Israeli military court between 2013 and 2018, DCI-P found that: 

73% experienced physical violence following arrest 

95% were hand tied

86% were blindfolded

49% were detained from their homes in the middle of the night

64% faced verbal abuse, humiliation, or intimidation

74% of children were not properly informed of their rights

96% were interrogated without the presence of a family member

20% were subject to stress positions

49% signed documents in Hebrew, a language most Palestinian children don't understand

The Central Ohio Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace and its allies are actively campaigning to support H.R. 2407 – Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, introduced by Representative Betty McCollum on April 30, 2019. This bill seeks to promote justice, equality and human rights for children globally by prohibiting any U.S. foreign aid dollars from contributing to "the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children in violation of international humanitarian law."  

This bill also authorizes congress to appropriate $19 million each year to be used for monitoring human rights abuses and for providing physical, psychological, and emotional health treatment, support and rehabilitation for Palestinian children victims of military detention, abuse, and torture.

Over 1,000 children have been separated from their families after crossing the U.S. southern border and this policy continues. Children have been locked up in unsanitary, unsafe conditions and often not provided with adequate food and water. At least six migrant children have died in custody. We must also remind our elected representatives that mistreatment of children is contrary to the values of their constituents whenever and wherever it occurs.

Please call and/or write your U.S. representative and ask them to support the human rights of children by co-sponsoring this H.R. 2407.

Joyce Beatty - 202-225-4324 - 2303 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 2051e

Troy Balderson - 202-225-5355 - 1221 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515

Steve Stivers - 202-225-2015 - 2234 Rayburn HOB, Washington D.C., 20515

For documentation and more information on the campaign in Central Ohio to support H.R. 2407, please see:

Jewish Voice for Peace Central Ohio and Central Ohioans for Peace are sponsoring a screening of the documentary, Imprisoning a Generation on September 22, 2019, 7:00 PM at Columbus Mennonite Church, 35 Oakland Park Ave., Columbus. Imprisoning a Generation is a documentary film following the stories of four young Palestinians who have been detained and imprisoned under the Israeli military and political systems. Their perspectives, along with the voices of their families, combine to form a lens into the entangled structures of oppression that expand well beyond the prison walls. Discussion on what we can do will follow the screening.

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