3rd Thursday Action Alert: Call on Congress to support Palestinian children

3rd_Thursday_logo.jpgCall on your members of Congress to take two actions in support of Palestinian children. Ask them to urge full funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and ask them to support H.R. 4391, the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act.  Both are actions supported by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ through letters and resolutions.

Restore UNRWA funding:

UNRWA-logo.jpgAs World Refugee Day is commemorated on June 20th, supporting UNRWA is a concrete way to address the plight of one refugee population.

In January of this year the Trump Administration froze UNRWA aid, releasing only $60 million of a $125 million funding installment. If the US provides no further funds in 2018, this would amount to an 83% cut over the 2017 US contribution of $365 million.

UNRWA assistance reaches roughly five million Palestinian refugees living in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, providing education, health care, relief and social services, and other assistance. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness warned that half a million Palestinian children will suffer if UNRWA cannot deliver its services.

At its core, the Palestinian refugee issue is one of rights continually denied, specifically the fundamental right to return to their lands and homes. This underlying core issue must be addressed. In the meantime, UNRWA services are critical to the welfare of millions of Palestinians including the children who rely on UNRWA schools and other services.

Co-sponsor H.R. 4391 and attend June 25 Hill Briefing:

DSCN3433.JPGHuman rights groups including B’Tselem, and Defense for Children International Palestine have documented the abuse and rights violations to which Palestinian children are subjected in the Israeli military system.

On November 14, 2017, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced a bill to prevent US tax dollars from paying for human rights violations against Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.

The Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act (H.R. 4391) requires the Secretary of State to certify annually that no funds obligated or expended in the previous year by the United States for assistance to Israel have been used to support prohibited practices under international law. If the Secretary cannot make this certification, a detailed report is required outlining the amount of money spent in violation of the bill and how it was spent.

Members of Congress and their staff can learn more about the lives of Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation and about H.R. 4391 at a June 25 briefing.

Contact your members of Congress today to urge full restoration of UNRWA funding and support for Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.

For more information:

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Sample Letters: (Note separate letters for Representatives and Senators, below)

Note: Click here to find out if your representative is already a co-sponsor of H.R. 4391, and if so, send a note of thanks!  If not, ask them to add their name as a co-sponsor of H.R 4391.

Dear Representative,

I’m writing to ask you to do two things in support of Palestinian children and in the interest of peace.  I ask you to urge the administration to fully restore funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and to work to end the abuse of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.

On the first point, in the absence of a political agreement, UNRWA services are critical to the welfare of millions of Palestinians, including half a million children.  I urge you to ask the administration to fully restore the US contribution to UNRWA.

On the second point, human rights groups including B’Tselem, and Defense for Children International Palestine have documented the abuse and rights violations to which Palestinian children are subjected in the Israeli military system.

On November 14, 2017, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced a bill  (H.R. 4391) to prevent US tax dollars from paying for human rights violations against Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.

I urge you to co-sponsor H.R.4391, and I encourage you and/or members of your staff to attend  a briefing on June 25 to learn more about the lives of Palestinian children growing up under Israeli military occupation.

As a person of faith, I believe that Israelis and Palestinians will both benefit when the human dignity of all is respected.

Thank you for your consideration,

 

Dear Senator,

I’m writing to ask you to do two things in support of Palestinian children and in the interest of peace.  I ask you to urge the administration to fully restore funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and to work to end the abuse of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.

On the first point, in the absence of a political agreement, UNRWA services are critical to the welfare of millions of Palestinians, including half a million children.  I urge you to ask the administration to fully restore the US contribution to UNRWA.

On the second point, human rights groups including B’Tselem, and Defense for Children International Palestine have documented the abuse and rights violations to which Palestinian children are subjected in the Israeli military system.

On November 14, 2017, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced a bill  (H.R. 4391) to prevent US tax dollars from paying for human rights violations against Palestinian children in Israeli military detention. I urge you to consider introducing a companion bill in the Senate.

I would also encourage you and/or members of your staff to attend a briefing on June 25 to learn more about the lives of Palestinian children growing up under Israeli military occupation.

As a person of faith, I believe that Israelis and Palestinians will both benefit when the human dignity of all is respected.

Thank you for your consideration,

 


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