Palestinian children suffer

CUSJ has added its voice to the No Way to Treat a Child – Canada campaign, coordinated by Defense for Children International – Palestine, which aims to influence Canadian voters and decision-makers in an effort to end Israeli military occupation and secure a just and viable future for Palestinian children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Palestinian children, sadly, are being denied the rights that were accorded to all children under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international standards.

Did you know that Israel applies civilian criminal law to Palestinian children in East Jerusalem? By contrast, no Israeli child comes into contact with the military courts.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes between 500 and 700 children in military courts each year. Ill-treatment in the Israeli military detention system remains “widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process,” according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report Children in Israeli Military Detention Observations and Recommendations.

What you can do

To help with this campaign, please sign the petition, and join the campaign. You can also share the petition on social media.

Plus ça change…

The literary types among us might remember the words of Shylock, in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice:

‘He hath … scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies—and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?’

In a modern-day situation where life imitates art, Shylock and his tormentor have different identities, but the logic of this crie de coeur remains valid. If only the Israeli government, and indeed, all of us who stand by and do nothing, could be made to feel the irony that these words still apply, and to have compassion:

He hath … scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies—and what’s his reason? I am a Palestinian. Hath not a Palestinian eyes? Hath not a Palestinian hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as an Israeli is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?

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