Palestinian teen organizer Hassan Abu Rish was seized in the early-morning hours of Monday, 21 August by Israeli occupation forces who invaded his family home in the Jerusalem village of Ezzariyeh. Hassan, who is 16 years old, is active in the Nabed (“Pulse”) youth forum in his village; Nabed is a social and cultural forum and group for Palestinian youth looking toward social change, justice and liberation from occupation, colonialism and apartheid.
Hassan has been very concerned by the plight of Palestinian political prisoners and interested in raising the profile of imprisoned Palestinians – especially youth – on an international level. His family has been touched by imprisonment before, as his brother has been jailed three times by Israeli occupation forces. He also plays drums with the Scouts Youth Club of Ezzariyeh.
Hassan is among hundreds of Palestinian children who are repeatedly arrested and jailed by Israeli occupation forces. There are currently over 300 Palestinian child prisoners held at Megiddo and Ofer prisons, and Palestinian children seized by Israeli occupation forces have repeatedly testified to their abuse, mistreatment and torture under arrest, including beatings, kicking, humiliation, intimidation and threats to their family members. In addition, 22 Palestinian teens have been imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention in the past two years.
Hassan was among 25 Palestinians seized in mass arrest raids conducted by Israeli occupation forces in the pre-dawn hours on Monday, 21 August. Ma’an News reported that there is a biweekly average of 85 search and detention raids carried out by occupation forces according to the United Nations. These raids are often heavily violent and involve massive weaponry, home invasions, ransacking of belongings and explosions of doors, and often target children like Hassan.
On Monday morning, four Palestinians were seized from the village of Madama near Nablus, including Fadil Hamid al-Bitawi, Zeid al-Kharaz, Muhammed Qit and Obeida Qit. In Hizma, also near Jerusalem, occupation forces seized Mohammed Fawzi al-Khatib, Abdallah al-Khatib, Ahed Askar, Ahmed Wahid al-Khatib and Abdallah Ahmed al-Khatib, while they seized Adha Mohammed Bedwan and Saleh Ayyash from Biddu. In the village of Deir Abu Mashaal, occupation forces invaded the home of and detained Ibrahim Kheir Suleiman, while they seized Mohammed Arqoub from Kafr Ein.
In Dheisheh refugee camp, they seized Jafar Oweida Abyat, while in al-Khalil, they detained eight Palestinians, including Walid al-Titi, his son Abdel-Rahman al-Titi, Mohammed Raed Asafram, Mukhtar Saed Awad, Thaer Ahmad Salibi, Jaber Yousef Shalaldeh, Islam al-Shahatit and Tareq Masalma.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of Hassan Abu Rish and all of the hundreds of Palestinian children held in Israeli jails alongside the freedom of all Palestinian political prisoners. We urge protest and action around the world to support Hassan and his fellow Palestinian children threatened daily with imprisonment and even death for their struggle to survive, thrive, learn and grow freely on their colonized and occupied land.