Media personality and model Mathira is in the news today for her desire to help a Palestinian child out of their war-stricken country. She has been very vocal in her support for the Palestinian people and made her wish public on her Instagram, asking for help to make it come true.
"I wish we could adopt a baby from Palestine," read her story post.
"I would love to adopt a child and give him/her all the love that he/she has lost, and a safe place called home," Mathira said, requesting people to help her with the adoption process.
Palestinian children, as with children in the midst of any disaster, natural or otherwise, are among the most vulnerable groups in the country, with many made orphans or separated from their families. This coupled with their entire families being killed in Israeli attacks and complicated adoption policies leaves them helpless. It is a common practice among Arab families to adopt children related to them in case of the deaths of or separation from their families till they come of age. To legally adopt a child would be a cumbersome, and quite frankly, a highly unlikely process.
The US State Department has a section on its travel help website dedicated to adoption in the region and a part of the section reads, "The Palestinian Authority opposes adoption by foreign parents, because, according to an unnamed source, Palestinian children must remain in Palestine. Additionally, Islamic Shari'a Law does not allow for adoption as it is recognised in the United States, rather, they allow for 'guardianship'."
The Defence for Children International — Palestine studies and reports on children in war-stricken children in Palestine. It is an independent, local Palestinian child rights organisation dedicated to defending and promoting the rights of children living in the West Bank since 1991 and has compiled and published detailed reports on the plight of the kids Mathira, and several others like her around the world would like to adopt.
It reports that since April 2004, it has has documented 20 cases involving Palestinian children being used as human shields by the Israeli army. "Nineteen of the 20 cases have occurred after the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled the practice to be illegal in October 2005."
It also reported on children in Israeli military detention centres and said each year approximately 500 to 700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12 years old, are detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system. "The most common charge is stone throwing." The organisation recorded the number of Palestinian children held in Israeli prisons and detention centres at the end of each month, and according to its reports, an average of 167 children found themselves in detention at the end of each month of 2020. The number stood at 198 in 2019, and 271 in 2018. It is important to remember these numbers are, obviously, under reported.