Approximately 3 million Palestinians live in the occupied West Bank, of which around 45 percent are children under the age of 18.
Palestinian children in the West Bank, like adults, face arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment under an Israeli military detention system that denies them basic rights.Read more
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Letters to the editor, one of the most widely read parts of newspapers, can reach, educate, and inspire a broad audience. That’s why they’re such a powerful tool for advocating for the rights of Palestinian children. Local politicians often monitor the letters in their local papers to understand what their constituents care about, so it can also be a good tool to influence their views.
No Way To Treat A Child advocates around the world have submitted letters to the editor in support of H.R. 2590, the Palestinian Children and Families Act, which would prohibit Israeli authorities from using U.S. taxpayer funds to demolish Palestinian homes and property, further annex the occupied West Bank, and arrest and detain Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system. Here are examples from New York and Arizona.
Writing a letter to the editor in support of H.R. 2590 is straightforward. Here are five tips to make your letter stand out.
1. Do your research.
Know the letter to the editor requirements from the publication you’re submitting to. What is the word limit? Does the paper take general commentary, or does it need to reference a recent article? Publications typically explain the requirements for letters on their website. Following these guidelines increase the chance of your letter being published.
2. Start strong and explain the issue clearly.
Letters to the editor are typically short—under 250 words—so you need to make your point quickly and concisely. At the bottom of this article, you’ll find sample text that explains H.R. 2590 and the No Way To Treat A Child campaign that you can use in your letter. Begin your letter with a strong hook that grabs the reader’s attention. Overall, you want to make sure you succinctly explain the issues and a way to help—in this case, supporting H.R. 2590. Read through our resources to make your case clearly.
3. Know your audience.
You are probably submitting a letter to your local paper, so you’re familiar with the community. Make sure you express why people in your community, specifically, should care about Palestinian children and H.R. 2590. Use everyday language people understand and avoid jargon and acronyms.
4. Make it personal.
If you’re writing a letter to the editor in support of Palestinian children, you clearly care. Why? By including your personal story and perspective in the letter, readers will be able to relate to you and the issue.
5. End with a strong call to action.
After reading about the widespread and systematic detention of Palestinian children by Israeli forces, many people will feel called to help. By including a strong call to action, you are giving them a tool to help. The specific call will depend on your community and whether your lawmaker has already co-sponsored H.R. 2590. Here are some example calls to action:
- Thank your lawmaker for co-sponsoring H.R. 2590
- Call your lawmaker and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 2590
- Attend a local event or rally in support of Palestinian rights
- If you have a local group or organization they can join or contact to learn more, include that too!
Demand Israeli authorities immediately end solitary confinement of Palestinian child detainees
Israeli authorities routinely detain Palestinian children in solitary confinement solely for interrogation purposes, a practice that amounts to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, as documented by Defense for Children International - Palestine.
Join us in urging the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to demand that Israeli authorities immediately end the practice of using solitary confinement on Palestinian child detainees, whether in pretrial detention for interrogation purposes or as a form of punishment. The prohibition must be enshrined in law.
Over a four-year period, between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2019, DCIP documented 108 cases where Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military were held in isolation for two or more days during the interrogation period. All were boys aged 14-17. Children were isolated for an average of 14 days and Israeli authorities held one child in solitary confinement for 30 days.
Evidence and documentation collected by DCIP overwhelmingly indicate that the isolation of Palestinian children within the Israeli military detention system is practiced solely to obtain a confession for a specific offense or to gather intelligence under interrogation. DCIP has found no evidence demonstrating a legally justifiable use of isolation of Palestinian child detainees, such as for disciplinary, protective, or medical reasons. Solitary confinement has been used, almost exclusively, during pre-charge and pretrial detention. Solitary confinement is designed to psychologically break children and coerce them into confessing.
Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that automatically and systematically detains and prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections. Israel detains and prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts each year. Nearly three out of four Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces experience some form of physical violence, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson:
We, the undersigned, urge you to demand that Israeli authorities immediately end the practice of using solitary confinement on Palestinian child detainees, whether in pretrial detention for interrogation purposes or as a form of punishment. The prohibition must be enshrined in law.