Irish Labour MEP Proinsias De Rossa, President of the European Parliament’s Palestine Delegation (DPLC) has reiterated his call for the release of all Palestinian child prisoners held in Israeli jails. According to Israeli prison statistics there are currently 164 children being held ranging in age from 12 to 17; Thirty-five of whom are younger than 15. Seventy-six of these children are serving sentences and the balance of 88 are being held in pre-trial detention. The children are mainly charged with stone throwing.
The positive potential of the prisoner swap currently underway could be greatly enhanced if these children were unconditionally released. For Israel this would not only bring her into compliance with International Law but would be a generous humanitarian gesture which would enhance her reputation globally and in the region.
Each year approximately 700 Palestinian children from the West Bank are prosecuted in Israeli military courts following arrest by the Israeli army. It is estimated that since the year 2000 over 7,500 Palestinian children have been detained and prosecuted. In addition there are credible reports of mistreat treatment during arrest and pre-trial detention* ( http://www.dci-palestine.org/c ontent/child-detention ).
The detention and trial of children by military courts and their mistreatment is directly contrary to the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of children by an occupying power.