3rd Thursday Alert: Call on Congress to ensure the rights of Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation
On April 30, 2019, U.S. Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced H.R. 2407, the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, a bill prohibiting U.S. taxpayer funding for the military detention of children by any country, including Israel. It is similar to the bill she introduced in Nov. 2017 (H.R. 4391—“Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act”), with some updates and changes. Significantly, the new bill prohibits U.S. military aid from being used by foreign armed forces to support the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children in violation of international humanitarian law.
Between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are detained by and prosecuted in Israeli military courts each year. Since 2000, more than 10,000 children have been subjected to the Israeli military court system, which does not guarantee their rights of due process, highlighting the two-tiered system of justice in the occupied Palestinian territory—Israeli civil courts for Israeli settlers, and Israeli military courts for Palestinians.
This bill notes that child detention by the Israeli military courts violates international laws and standards of human rights; is contrary to American values; and undermines efforts to promote a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The bill seeks to prohibit funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel; and to provide $19 million for non-governmental organization (NGO) monitoring of human rights abuses associated with Israel’s military detention of children and the provision of physical, psychological, and emotional treatment and support for Palestinian child victims of Israeli military detention, abuse, and torture.
Please contact your representatives in Washington, urging them to protect the rights of Palestinian children and to uphold existing US law prohibiting military aid to be used to violate international humanitarian law. (If your representative is already a sponsor, please thank her/him.)
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ both adopted resolutions at their General Assembly and General Synod, respectively, in 2017, advocating for the rights of Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation.
Scripture shows that Jesus privileged children, welcomed them and blessed them. Indeed, God’s love was revealed in a child. Supporting this bill asserts that we too recognize their blessing and vulnerability of children, and commit to their protection and their rights.