Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes around 700 children in military courts each year.
Three out of every four of these children endure some form of physical violence at the hands of Israeli soldiers or officers following arrest. In 97 percent of the cases, children are interrogated without legal counsel and without their parents.
The U.S. government is well-aware of ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian child detainees. Since 2007, each Department of State annual human rights country report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory has highlighted these issues.
In 2015, 19 members of Congress signed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to prioritize this issue in the U.S. government's bilateral relationship with Israel. One year later, 20 members of Congress called for concrete action, this time in a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to appoint a Special Envoy for Palestinian Children.
When it comes to children, detention must be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. The best interests of the child must be a primary concern. In no circumstance should children be detained and prosecuted under the jurisdiction of military courts.
Until we demand Israeli authorities comply with international law, we are simply enabling abuse and perpetuating injustice against Palestinian children.
 DCIP, No Way to Treat a Child: Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system (2016), www.dci-palestine.org/no_way_to_treat_a_child_palestinian_children_in_the_israeli_military_detention_system
 June 2015 letter is available at http://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/letter_to_secretary_kerry_from_19_members_of_congress
 June 2016 letter is available at http://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/letter_to_obama_from_20_members_of_congress
Sign the Petition
To Secretary of State Tillerson:
I urge you to prioritize human rights of Palestinian children and hold Israeli authorities accountable for widespread and systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian child detainees.