On the occasion of the Palestinian Prisoners Day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates pays tribute to the thousands of Palestinians who are held illegally in Israeli detention centers and prisons. Their continued imprisonment and Israel’s policy of mass detention is an integral part of the system of oppression and injustice Israel maintains to perpetuate its colonial occupation of Palestine.
Since the beginning of the colonial Israeli occupation in 1967, Israel has arrested an estimated 800,000 Palestinians, including children, parliamentarians, and human rights defenders. Currently, 6,500Palestinians are imprisoned by Israel, including 300 children, 56 women, 13 parliamentarians, and 28 journalists. This policy of mass and arbitrary detention is maintained and made possible by the Israeli military court system, which fails to meet the basic standards of fair trial and due process and includes the only “juvenile military court” in the world. These court martials are designed to criminalize Palestinian rejection of the occupation and punish Palestinians for demanding their basic human and national rights. They are a conveyer belt of convictions and injustice that persecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children every year, with a near 100 percent conviction rate.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates reiterates its condemnation of the widespread and systematic Israeli policy of mass and arbitrarily detention that targets thousands of Palestinians each year. Equally, it reiterates its condemnation and rejection of the occupying power’s illegal policy of transporting and imprisoning Palestinians outside the occupied territory of the State of Palestine, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. Of particular concern, the Ministry condemns the reprehensible and illegal Israeli practice of administrative detention, which the occupying power employs as a tool of collective punishment against the Palestinian people, including children, activists, human rights defenders, journalists and parliamentarians.
The Ministry also confirms its unwavering support to the Palestinian detainees in Israeli administrative detention and their boycott of the Israeli military courts and their unlawful procedures.
In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates calls on the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to uphold their legal responsibilities, including providing protection for the Palestinian people, including children. The High Contracting Parties must also honor their obligations under international law by taking the necessary measures to hold Israel, the occupying power, accountable for its colonial practices against the Palestinian people and their occupied land.
The Ministry also calls for an end to the abuse of Palestinian detainees, in particular children, and for their humane treatment in captivity, while also reiterating our calls for their release. Israel’s policy of intimidation and oppression, including daily arrest campaigns, nightly raids of children’s homes, as well as the systematic physical and emotional abuse exacted on Palestinian detainees, particularly children, must end. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates reiterates its demand for the immediate end of the illegal and punitive policy of child detention and requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mandate-Holders, Special representative of Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict and Unicef Executive Director, in their respective mandates, to lead the fight for Palestinian children righs. The Ministry reiterates its commitment to exert all efforts at the multilateral level to achieve this goal.
In this regard, the Ministry has provided the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court with documents, evidence, and legal arguments highlighting the plight of prisoners and the intrinsic connection between Israel’s policy of mass detention with its ongoing policies and practices of colonial occupation. The State of Palestine thus reiterates its call to the Prosecutor to open an investigation into the situation in Palestine without further delay.