PNN/Bethlehem – Special report
IBDA’A* Institute in Deheisha Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, on Sunday January 10, launched an international campaign to ask for support from the international community to pressure the Israeli government to release the child Ahmed Manasrah and to show the world Israel’s unjustified crimes and policies against Palestinian children.
The campaign was named “We will continue pulsing”, and the organizers stated that they will continue to work until Israel releases Ahmad and all the other Palestinian children from its jails.
The campaign was launched in a press conference on January 10, in Deheisha Camp with the attendance of the Palestinian Prisoners Minister, Issa Qaraque, Ahmed’s uncle, Ahmad Manasrah, Ahmed’s lawyer Tareq Brigth, the head of the IBDA’A Institute, Khlaed Al-Sifi and a number of representatives of Human Rights organizations.
Khaled Al-Sifi opened the press conference stating that Palestinians are facing a number of radical measures by the Israeli government which target especially Palestinian children with it’s illegal arrests and tortures.
A clear case of this measures is Ahmed Manasrah: he is only one of the many cases of Palestinian children targeted by Israel.
When speaking about the campaign, Al-Sifi said that it includes a lot of activities to inform the international public of Israeli crimes against Palestinian children.
It started on January 10th and it will go on until January 22; the day that Ahmed turns 14 years old.
When he becomes 14, he will be judged as an adult, according to a new Israeli racist law, which allows Israel to arrest and judge Palestinian children as adults with only 14 years old.
Khaled asked the human rights institutions present in the conference to support and to help them on this campaign to succeed, saying that they have made contact with human rights institutions in 10 different Arab countries, in some countries in Europe and in Canada.
To spread the campaign internationally, the organizers decided to launch it in four different languages: Arabic, English, French and Italian.
Issa Qaraque, the Prisoners Minister, thanked Khaled and IBDA’A Institute for working in the this specific case, saying that Ahmed suffered and was torture in Israel’s and settlers hands.
Qaraque stated that Ahmed suffered not just once, but twice: first when he was beaten on the street, and then when he was interrogated. For him, it only shows how the Israeli government deals with Palestinian children; not as children, but as adults and criminally.
He declared that 2015 was the year of Israel’s target on Palestinian children: 2100 Palestinian children were arrested by the Israeli occupation forces, with many cases witnessing beating, torture, attack with the IOF dogs and heavy interrogation, only proving that there is a sort of “revenge” from the Israeli soldiers on the Palestinian children.
Qaraque also said that this campaign is a message for all human rights organizations and to the United Nations to salve the Palestinian children from the right-wing Israeli government policies, which allow them to create new racist laws, like arresting and judging as adults children with only 14 years old.
He warned for a new attempt from the Israeli Justice Minister, Aylet Shaked, that suggests the creation of a new law to arrest and judge Palestinian children with only 12 years old.
Qaraque demanded not just the freedom of the Palestinian children from Israeli jails, but also to take to justice those who committed crimes against these children.
Ahmed’s lawyer, Tarek Brigth, who was also present in the press conference, said that Israel does not deal with Palestinian children as proper children, once that Israeli media and police deal with them as criminals due to the atmosphere created by Netanyahu’s right wing government.
Bright added that in Ahmed’s case it is clear that all Israeli measures in the Israeli court break international law that protects children and even its own law just to avoid releasing Ahmed.
He said that Ahmed’s case is now a public opinion one, since people could see how much he was torture during his arrest and how much he suffered during his interrogation.
Bright alleged that, according to the case itself, there are many evidences showing that Ahmed is innocent. However, the problem lies on the Israeli judge and on the Israeli prosecutor, once they don’t want to give a chance to listen to what Ahmad or his lawyer has to say, due to the situation inside Israel which was created by the present government.
Tarek stated that launching this campaign in an international level might bring some kind of justice for Ahmed and for all the other Palestinian children inside Israeli jails.
He ended his speech saying that the Israeli court keep on delaying Ahmed’s trial once they are waiting him to turn 14 years old so he can be judge as an adult, not as a child.
Ahmed Manasrah, Ahmed’s uncle, represented the family on the press conference and said that his family is still suffering with Ahmed’s situation.
They first suffered when images of Ahmed were released showing him all injured and with the news about his cousin, that was killed by the Israeli occupation forces.
If these was not enough, Ahmed’s uncle stated that it was extremely hard to watch his nephew being interrogated the way he was by the Israelis, proving that Israel is a criminal state.
The family expects the worst from Ahmed’s trial, once they know that there is no justice in the Israeli legal system for Palestinians, especially with the present right wing government who works to satisfy extremist settlers.
*IBDA’A Institute works for the development of the Palestinian children in the Refugee Camps in the occupied West Bank and for international cultural exchange.