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By Sam Tomlin

Bishops2The state church, the Church of England, shot itself in the foot the other week and almost everyone agrees. It should be clear to even those outside the church that a simple ‘moving with the times’ mentality is not the operational goal of an organisation concerned more with immutable spiritual and moral values. However, when the majority of the vote goes one way, strong and generally accepted theological arguments in favour of women bishops in toe, many, including myself, were surprised and disappointed with the result. Read More

The author of this article is a 22 year old Christian Palestinian author. She is originally from Jerusalem but has lived in Jordan and the United States most of her life. She is now back in Jerusalem, after finishing her university education, and is working in a Christian organization.

Whenever the topic of Israeli occupation comes up, Palestinians usually talk about the 1967 borders, prisoner exchange, the land confiscations, the settlements, the separation wall, etc. And although these are all very important issues to discuss, I would like to talk about the day to day, mundane issues that a Palestinian Christian young women like me faces as a direct result of the occupation.

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This post is from one of our contributors who is currently in the West Bank, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He is there with a peace and justice organisation aiming to make people aware of the situation and encourage/train them in creative and non-violent resistance to injustice. The following information is affirmed by the testimony of Palestinian refugees, the UN and Defence for Children International (an impartial and independent international organisation).

The following information was collected by the author on 6th and 7th July from three main sources: the UN in Jerusalem; the testimonies of Palestinians in a refugee camp in the West Bank; and from a Defence for Children International (DCI) lawyer, who confirmed the accuracy of these children’s testimonies. Some of the stories are not documented in precise form, but the lawyer confirmed that the examples given by the Palestinians are exactly in line with what he has seen in the past 6 years since he has been there. Also, some of the stories and very similar ones are documented in DCI’s recent publication ‘Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted: Children held in military detention’ (2012). Similar information can also be found and documented by Israeli organisations Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem.

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A report from Defence for Children International has just been released outlining the culmination of four year’s work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Entitled, ‘Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted: Children held in Military Detention’, the report outlines many of the common, everyday occurrences carried out in the name of ‘defence’ by the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces). 311 children held in military detention gave sworn testimonies in collating the report. As a brief overview:

In the past eleven years, around 7,500 children, some as young as twelve are estimated to have been detained, interrogated, and imprisoned within Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories (since 1967). This averages between 500-700 a year, or nearly two children each day.

A picture of a Palestinian child crossing a checkpoint to go to school, something many have to do every day

Testimonies of the children reveal that the majority of children are detained in the middle of the night in what are typically defined as terrifying raids conducted by the army. In 95% of cases, hand-ties were used, 90% blindfolds, 75% physical violence and 63% detention inside Israel, which is in violation of Article 76 of the fourth Geneva convention which states: ‘Protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein.’ The arrest and transfer process is often accompanied by verbal abuse and humiliation.

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