Over 4,000 UK intellectuals call for sanctioning Israel

Over 4,000 UK intellectuals call for sanctioning Israel
Tue Oct 1, 2013 21:36:25

A group of 4,883 British intellectuals has written an open letter, calling for action against Israeli regime's continued abuse of Palestinian children and sanctioning the regime for violating international law.

"Today, on UN Human Rights Day, we will hand in to Downing Street a petition signed by 4,883 people calling for action from our government on Palestinian child prisoners held by Israel," the intellectuals wrote in their letter published in the British Guardian newspaper.

"Since the government of Israel refuses to uphold international law, we call on the British government to do so. Our government must show courage and take all appropriate action, including sanctions against Israel, rather than be complicit in the continuing impunity with which Israel acts against Palestinian human rights," they said.

The letter entitled “Action for Palestine” called on Israeli authorities to implement following recommendations:

1) An end to Israel’s nighttime raids and shackling of Palestinian children; 2) Audio-visual recordings of all interrogations; 3) Parents given the right to be present during questioning and the child’s right to access to a lawyer before their interrogation respected; 4) An end to the transfer of children to prisons inside Israel in breach of article 76 of the fourth Geneva convention; 5) An end to the use of solitary confinement.

According to Defense for Children International - Palestine Section there were 195 Palestinian children jailed and under prosecution by the Israeli occupation as of July this year.

Another report by B’Tselem has revealed shocking conditions under which Palestinian children kidnapped by Israeli occupation troops are routinely and systematically being abused including torture and threats of rape.

“Children are often held in solitary confinement and subjected to interrogations without lawyers or parents present, in which they are threatened and coerced into confessing to throwing stones or molotov cocktails at occupation troops”, the report says.

Several sitting members of parliament (MPs) including Caroline Lucas, the sole MP for the Green Party in the UK parliament and some members of the main opposition Labor Party also endorsed the letter.

Dave Prentis and Rodney Bickerstaffe, the current and former leaders of UNISON, the UK’s biggest trade union respectively, and Bob Crow, head of the maritime and railway workers’ union RMT also endorsed the call for the Israeli regime to stop abusing Palestinian children.

The letter is a follow-up to another report entitled the “Children in Military Custody”, which was written by prominent UK legal experts last year.

As activist Asa Winstanley reported at the time, “Children in Military Custody” noted that the systematic abuse its authors found likely “stems from a belief, which was advanced to us by [an Israeli] military prosecutor, that every Palestinian child is a ‘potential terrorist.’”

“But in the time since the report appeared, no action has been taken by the UK or any other European government to hold Israel accountable for the crimes and abuses against children that it documents”, wrote Winstanley.


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