GAZA CITY, Palestine

Palestinian resistance group Hamas has welcomed a call by UN officials for the release of Palestinian children held in Israeli prions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We appeal to international human rights groups and health organizations to pile pressure on the [Israeli] occupation to release prisoners held in occupation jails,” Hamas spokesman Abdelatif al-Qanou said in a statement on Saturday.

He held the Israeli authorities “fully responsible for the lives and safety of Palestinian prisoners”.

On Monday, a group of UN officials called for the release of Palestinian children held in Israeli prisons in light of COVID-19 virus.

“The rights of children to protection, safety and wellbeing must be upheld at all times. In normal times, the arrest or detention of a child should be a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time,” read a statement signed by Jamie McGoldrick, coordinator of UN’s humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians, UNICEF special representative Genevieve Boutin and James Heenan, head of the UN Human Rights Office in the West Bank.

“During a pandemic, States should pay increased attention to children’s protection needs and children’s rights, and the best interests of children should be a primary consideration in all actions taken by Governments.”

Israel is holding around 5,000 Palestinians, including 180 children and 700 patients.

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