Youth Partnerships

“Each year an average of 700 Palestinian children — most of them accused of throwing stones — are prosecuted in two Israeli military courts operating in the West Bank.  From the moment of arrest, Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and in some cases torture at the hands of Israeli soldiers, policemen and interrogators. This information has been documented by Defense for Children International/Palestine and UNICEF, among others.” — 2015 Human Rights Watch Report: Israel: Security Forces Abuse Palestinian Children – Chokeholds, Beatings, Coercive Interrogations

“Future peace between Palestinians and Israelis will be negatively impacted by the continued experiences of Palestinian children subjected to the harsh practices by the Israeli military court system. International civil society has agreed that children aged 12-17 under detention are not to be subjected to any form of abuse. Israel has signed on to a number of international conventions regarding the treatment of children, including the 1989 Conventions on the Rights of the Child and 1984 Convention Against Torture. The Israeli military system in the Occupied Territories needs to adhere to the standards of the International Conventions in their treatment of children. We believe that the United States government should put pressure on the Israeli government to end the detention and abuse of Palestinian children” — No Way to Treat a Child

“Palestinian teenagers from East Jerusalem are pulled out of bed in the middle of the night, unnecessarily handcuffed and interrogated without being given the opportunity to speak to a lawyer or their parents before the questioning begins and without being informed of their right to remain silent,” the groups found. “They are then held under harsh conditions, repeatedly remanded to custodial detention for additional period of days and even weeks, even once their interrogation has ended. In some cases, all this is attended by verbal abuse or threats and physical abuse.” — New report details Israel’s ‘broad systemic abuse’ of East Jerusalem minors

Ahed Tamimi: Living Resistance — VIDEO

Israel Indicts Palestinian Teen Activist Ahed Tamimi — VIDEO

Radiance of Resistance: A film about the Tamimis and Nebi Saleh

Why Ahed Tamimi’s slap is so thrilling to Palestinians

“By slapping their faces, you are telling those aggressors to permit the return of the exiled Palestinian Refugees and to end the apartheid their state forces on us, the Palestinian citizens of Israel, under its racist exclusivist dogma of ‘the Jewish State.’” — Hatim Kanaaneh, 2018

Teenage son of prominent Bil’in activist arrested while buying pizza, sentenced to 19 months in Israeli prison

Minors in Jeopardy: Violation of the Rights of Palestinian Minors by Israel’s Military Courts (2018 B’Tselem Report)

The Plight of Child Prisoners: Israel’s Glaring Human Rights Violations“Rising physical violence against Palestinian child detainees” / “UNICEF report confirms ill-treatment of Palestinian child detainees remains systematic” / “New U.S. government report highlights violations against Palestinian kids”

In November 2017, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) introduced legislation— the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, H.R. 4391 — to prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children.

Issa Amro, founder of Youth Against Settlements, writes about Keeping Palestinian Identity Alive in Hebron.

“Issa Amro is a prominent Palestinianhuman rights defender and activist based in HebronWest Bank. He is the coordinator and co-founder of the grassroots group Youth Against Settlements. Amro is a spokesman for and practitioner of Palestinian popular resistance against the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territories. He advocates the use of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience focused on the city of Hebron. [1] [2] [3]  In 2010, he was declared “human rights defender of the year in Palestine” by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [4]  and is recognized as a human rights defender by the European Union. [5]  In 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council expressed concern for his wellbeing and safety due to numerous accounts of harassment from Israeli soldiers and settlers and a series of arbitrary arrests. [6]  At present, Amro is being indicted by the Israeli military court with 18 charges against him. [7] [8]  In May 2017,  Bernie Sanders along with three U.S. Senators and 32 Congressmen wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to urge Israeli authorities to reconsider the charges against Amro. [9] [10] ” — Wikipedia

The legal defense of human rights activist Issa Amro is supported by numerous Palestine solidarity groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, etc. On September 26th, 2017, Issa Amro met with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in Washington D.C. — Palestinian activist from Hebron meets Bernie Sanders.

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Common Ground Executive Director Ayman Nijim is a child trauma and recovery therapist with a Master’s degree in Conflict Transformation Across Cultures. Co-Founder and Manager of Let the Children Play and Heal, Afaq Jadeeda (New Horizons) Center trauma recovery program in Nuseirat Refugee Camp, Gaza, he was also liaison for the Middle East Children’s Alliance during implementation of the Maia Project, which provides desalinated water to Gaza schools. Ayman Nijim is current Director of Programs at Maine Immigration and Refugees Services in Portland, Maine.

NBC NEWS VIDEO: Growing Up in the Gaza Strip in the Dark

Palestine Solidarity groups, churches, mosques, synagogues or community organizations wishing to learn about Palestinian trauma, resilience and recovery under Israeli siege and occupation may invite Exec. Dir. Ayman Nijim to discuss his own childhood growing up in Gaza, PTSD recovery work with Gaza children, families and communities, cross-cultural coordination with international humanitarian groups and his inclusive, egalitarian psychosocial-political outlook that sees “conflict transformation,” not merely “conflict resolution,” as essential to creating lasting peace in Palestine/Israel and why establishing one secular democratic state with equal rights for all, and protection of minority rights, is necessary to achieve this goal.

Youth groups wishing to support the political advocacy of Ayman Nijim and Palestinians and Israelis promoting one democratic state with equal rights for all or the “co-resistance” of both Palestinian and Israeli NGOs working to end Israel’s colonization, occupation and oppression may donate (spare change or a few dollars) to Option One or Option Two on the Donate page. Youth donations are appreciated in the belief that the symbolic action of American Muslim, Jewish, Christian and secular youth contributing to Palestinian-Israeli advocacy for one inclusive democratic state or Palestinian-Israeli “co-resistance” to Israeli colonization and oppression can help to model the mutual recognition, respect and goodwill needed to establish equal rights for all, justice and lasting peace.

Common Ground shares the goal of “being peace and doing justice” espoused by the Interfaith Youth Initiative, managed by Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries: “Together we will interpret and embody Mahatma Gandhi’s spiritual vision of justice and peace while living out Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Beloved Community.” We share IFYI’s five core values — “building bridges, engaging faith, training leaders, making peace and serving others” — and support IFYI’s goal that “participants explore and embrace their own leadership and peacemaking styles, becoming agents of positive social transformation in their schools, communities and congregations.” (http://coopmet.org/ifyi/)

We also share the mission of Kids 4 Peace, which is “dedicated to encouraging children of different cultures and faith traditions to explore their differences and similarities, and to learn understanding, tolerance and respect, while fostering sustainable friendships across the lines of conflict.” (www.kids4peaceboston.org/about-us)

Israeli soldiers routinely arrest Palestinian children as young as 9 or 10, accuse them of throwing stones, beat them, hold them blindfolded and handcuffed for hours without legal counsel or notifying their parents, interrogate them and refuse to release them for days or weeks until they sign confessions written in Hebrew, which they cannot read, and/or agree to share information with the Israeli military regarding the activities and whereabouts of their family members and friends.

Palestinian children in Beit Fajjar, West Bank greet the Christian American peace group In His Steps: Pathways of Peace, 2008

Issa Amro, Founder of Youth Against Settlements, Hebron, West Bank, Palestine, meets with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in Washington D.C., 2017

"When MECA asked the children of Bureij Refugee Camp in Gaza what they could do to help them, they responded that what they wanted more than anything was to have a clean glass of drinking water at school. Because of the Israeli occupation and the diversion of water to the settlements in the West Bank and Israel, the water table has been lowered to such an extent that the water in Gaza is almost undrinkable and causes disease."