A 16-YEAR-OLD STUDENT at Ramallah Friends School in Palestine has been arrested and held without charge by the Israeli military since 18 October.

Shadi Khoury, 16, was beaten and dragged from his family home in Jerusalem in the early hours, barefoot and blindfold, said his grandmother, Samia Khoury, founder of Sabeel, a Jerusalem-based Christian institute.

Quakers are urging the UK government to press the Israeli state to uphold the human rights of all, especially children, who suffer systematic abuse from the Israeli military, and to allow Shadi to return home.

At least 37 Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied Palestinian territory so far this year, with 175 in Israeli detention, according to the UN.

UNICEF has been raising concerns about the rights of children in military detention with the Israeli authorities since 2013. Save the Children found that children in the Israeli military detention system face inhumane treatment: of 470 children interviewed, eight in 10 were beaten.

Students at the Ramallah Friends School, a 150-year-old Quaker institution in Palestine, have held a vigil for their friend, appealing for his release and reflecting on the abuses they endure as children under a brutal military occupation.

The school said on its Facebook page: “Our students and community are in pain. We love and miss Shadi very much. We feel helpless that we, as a community, cannot even offer our children the simplest of protections. Shadi should be preparing for his IB diploma and should not be in a prison cell being interrogated by soldiers.”

Shadi’s grandmother said that he had been beaten during interrogation and had not received medical care for the injuries sustained during his arrest, with marks on his neck, body, arms and face.

Paul Parker, recording clerk of Quakers in Britain, said: “As a child, Shadi should be at home with his family, instead of being locked up, terrified, in military detention. We call on the UK government to urge the Israeli state to respect the human rights of all, and to allow Shadi to return home.

“Unfortunately, this is not an unusual case, there is a documented history of the Israeli military violating the human rights of detained Palestinian children.”

Students at the 1,400-strong Ramallah Friends School attend silent meeting for worship regularly and are guided by the Quaker testimonies, to peace, simplicity, integrity and equality. They also learn about nonviolent peace-making, in line with Quaker values.

* More information on Defence for Children International – Palestine here.

* Source: Quakers in Britain