MAP calls for the immediate release of Palestinian youth with autoimmune disorder, Amal Nakhleh

MAP supports the call from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for the immediate release of Amal Nakhleh, a critically ill young Palestinian refugee who has been held by Israel in administrative detention – without trial or charge – for a year 

Amal suffers from myasthenia gravis, a severe autoimmune disease that requires continuous medical treatment, including immuno-suppressants. Amal’s health condition means he is unable to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and is at risk of serious illness from the virus. Amal’s current period of detention by the Israeli authorities began a few days after his 17th birthday in January 2021, and has since been extended three times, most recently by four months until May 2022 

According to Amal’s family, who have only been permitted to visit a handful of times, Amal now has difficulty breathing and talking, indicating that his health is in decline. While hundreds of Israeli prisoners at high-risk or with pre-existing medical conditions have been released from prisons as a preventive and protective measure against COVID-19, Israeli authorities have not taken equal steps to protect and minimise risk for Palestinian prisoners. In April 2020, a group of nine UN human rights experts urged Israel not to discriminate against Palestinian prisoners who are at high risk from exposure to the virus, and called for their release 

The systematic detention of Palestinians for extended periods without charge or trialin violation of international law, forms part of a coercive environment which comprises a range of abusive Israeli practices that discriminate against Palestinians, fragment Palestinian society, and facilitate the presence of settlements. Currently, there are around 500 Palestinians in administrative detention, including six children.  

Between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are arrested, detained and prosecuted in Israeli military courts each year. Physical and emotional abuse are widely reported, with severe impacts on the mental and physical wellbeing of detainees. Of the former child detainees interviewed by Save the Children in 2020, 81% reported that they had endured physical violence, 89% reported verbal abuse, and 88% reported that they did not receive necessary medical care while detained. 

MAP joins UNRWA in calling for Amal’s immediate releaseand urges the international community, including the UK, to urgently press Israel to end its discriminatory and systematic use of administrative detention against Palestinians. 

Read MAP's position paper on how Israel's discrimination and fragmentation undermine Palestinian health here.

Read our position paper

Photo: Seventeen-year-old Amal Nakhleh who has been held by Israel in administrative detention for a year. (Credit: Defence for Children International Palestine / Courtesy of the Nakhleh family).

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