3rd Thursday Alert: Tell Congress to stop US complicity in Israeli forces’ abuse of Palestinian children
As Israeli forces continue to violate the terms of the Oslo Agreements with incursions into Palestinian controlled areas, too often these raids result in trauma, injury and — sometimes — the death of Palestinian children.
Many have considered the 1993 Oslo Accords to be dead for a while, and such incursions and physical assaults lend credence to this.
While recent Israeli inclusions into Palestinian areas in the West Bank, including night raids, have resulted in deaths, injury, and the home demolitions of Palestinians, these raids especially traumatize children. A recent, particularly onerous incident was when a seven-year-old Palestinian child, Rayan Suleiman, died of a heart attack, frightened by Israeli soldiers who had raided their home to arrest his two brothers (8 and 10 years old). The Biden Administration has called for an investigation into the boy’s death. Earlier this month, the Israeli military denied any wrongdoing in the incident.
While this is one example of the experience of Palestinian children living under military occupation, for some time Defense for Children Palestine (DCI-P) has documented an average of one or more child deaths or major injuries each month in incidents involving the Israeli military. In 2021, 86 Palestinian children were killed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, making 2021 on the deadliest year record for Palestinian children since 2014. Within a 24-hour period alone earlier this month, four Palestinian teenagers were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank. Since the start of this year, DCI-P reports that more than 25 Palestinians under the age of 18 have been killed.
As the largest recipient of U.S. military aid, Israel, like all recipients of such aid, is legally subject to vetting procedures to ensure that the recipient is not engaged in gross violations of human rights. However, the record of their application to Israeli forces has been marked by considerable resistance from many US law-makers.
The No Way to Treat a Child campaign, led by DCI-P and the American Friends Service Committee, seeks to challenge Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system. Early in this Congress, Rep. Betty McCollum introduced The Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, or H.R. 2590. The bill would “… [place] limits U.S. assistance to Israel and establishes reporting requirements related to Israel’s activities in the West Bank … [and would prohibit] the use of any funds that are made available for assistance to Israel in support of (1) military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill treatment of Palestinian children; (2) seizure, appropriation, or destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the West Bank; or (3) unilateral annexation by Israel of West Bank territory.”
The US should not be complicit in Israeli forces’ abuse of children. The number of Palestinian children killed and detained is alarming, yet an even greater number of children suffer from ongoing trauma due to night raids, tear gas and other threats from Israeli soldiers that disrupt their lives repeatedly from a very young age.
- support H.R. 2590,
- support the US’ call for an investigation into the death of Rayan Suleiman, and
- hold Israel accountable for such treatment of children, a gross violation of their human rights.