Martina Anderson MEP calls for release of Palestinian prisoners
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for the release of all Palestinian political prisoners detained by Israel.
Speaking on April 17, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, Ms Anderson, the chair of the European Parliament's Delegation for relations with Palestine, said;
"More than 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners are currently being held by Israel, according to human rights organisation Addameer.
"This number includes several members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people.
"Over 400 of these prisoners are children. Shockingly, the number of Palestinian children in Israeli jails has almost tripled over the past few years.
"Approximately 700 Palestinians are being illegally held in "administrative detention" without charge or trial for months on end, including several children.
“This arbitrary use of ‘administrative detention’ against Palestinians is what we knew in Ireland as internment without trial, something which many republican prisoners were subjected to during the conflict in the north.
"Since 1967, the Israeli government has imprisoned over 800,000 Palestinians. In the past six months alone, there have been 4,800 arrests, including 1,400 children.
"Each year on April 17, people in Palestine and around the world mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day to highlight the situation of Palestinian prisoners and to demand their freedom.
"I call on Israel to release all Palestinian political prisoners immediately, as their imprisonment is a major road block to peace in the region."I am also calling on the EU to do more to resolve the issue of Palestinian political prisoners. The European Union should suspend its Association Agreement with Israel until it complies with international law and releases all political prisoners, as a necessary first step towards a sustainable peace."