Caabu: British government must focus on Palestinian prisoners
Caabu has called upon the British government to urgently raise the issue of Palestinian prisoners with the Israeli authorities.
The demand comes after the UK embassy in Tel Aviv incorporated an image of Gilad Shalit into its Facebook logo, and Alistair Burt MP, Minister responsible for the Middle East, recorded a personal appeal for the release the Israeli soldier who has been held in Gaza for four years.
At present however around 680 Palestinians are currently denied family visits by the Israeli government, whilst over 250 are currently held in detention without trial. Graham Bambrough, Parliamentary Officer at Caabu, said that their plight was being ignored by the UK.
“To view the actions of the British government one would assume that Gilad Shalit was the only individual in the region currently being held away from his family. Of course he should be released, but at present almost 700 Palestinians from Gaza are being denied visits by the Israeli authorities, whilst over 250 people are being held in detention without trial. These anonymous men and women are not the subject of personal video appeals by British Ministers, nor are their images incorporated into our embassy’s logo.”
Bambrough added that that the issue of child detentions was also being grossly ignored:
“Caabu also urges the British government to look urgently at the issue of Palestinian child prisoners. Some 211 children are being held by Israel, the majority on spurious charges and all of them are subject to sham trials in kangaroo military courts. I hope that the British government will urgently examine their cases and speak up publically and forcefully in their defence.”
Caabu has recently taken four parliamentary delegations to visit Israel’s military courts and witness trials of minors. Some 700 Palestinian children are prosecuted by the courts each year, the majority on charges of stone throwing. Israel's actions in relation to the treatment of minors represent serious breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the UN Convention against Torture and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Amnesty International reports that around 680 prisoners are being denied family visits – some for over three years: http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/israel-occupied-palestinian-territories/report-2011#page
DCI-Palestine report that 211 children are currently in Israeli jails. A child recently held without trial or charge, has only recently been released: http://www.dci-palestine.org/sites/default/files/detention_bulletin_may_2011.pdf
The British Embassy in Tel Aviv’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/ukinisrael
Alistair Burt calls for release of Gilad Shalit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e2oTaULsKU
28 June 2011