3rd Thursday Alert: Support the rights of Palestinian Children living under Israeli Occupation
On November 20, the International Day of the Child, U.S. Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN), with Christian faith leaders, will advocate for the rights of Palestinian children who are detained, prosecuted and incarcerated by the Israeli military in the West Bank. A special public briefing will be held in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center’s Congressional Auditorium and Atrium (CVC 200) about this issue and its associated bill, H.R. 2407. The briefing is hosted by Rep. McCollum and supported by the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy and Churches for Middle East Peace.
When: Wednesday, November 20 (International Day of the Child)
Time: 10:30-11:30 am
Where: U.S. Capitol Visitor Center – Congressional Auditorium and Atrium (CVC 200)
On April 30, 2019, U.S. Rep. McCollum 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 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 including, but not limited to, Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation. It would also 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.
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.
In speaking about H.R. 2407, faith leaders have noted that their faith commitment calls them to pay particular attention to the rights of vulnerable communities, including children. Wherever children are held in detention, whether in the context of U.S. detention centers or Israeli military prisons, there is an obligation to act to protect children’s rights.
Christian denominations including the United Church of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Alliance of Baptists, and The Episcopal Church have passed national resolutions in support of Palestinian children’s rights. Speakers from some of these denominations and other Protestant and Catholic organizations will join Rep. McCollum at the briefing.
Please contact your representatives in Washington, urging them:
- To attend the briefing on Nov. 20, on the occasion of the International Day of the Child; and
- To protect the rights of Palestinian children and to uphold existing US law by sponsoring or supporting H.R. 2407, “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Occupation.” (If your representative is already a sponsor, please thank her/him.)
Please feel free to use this sample letter when you contact your representative:
Subject line: Support H.R. 2407 and attend 11/20 briefing on rights of detained children
Wherever children are held in detention, whether in the context of U.S. detention centers or Israeli military prisons, we have an obligation to act to protect children’s rights.
That’s why I am writing to ask you to attend a briefing on the rights of children in military detention and H.R. 2407 that has been organized by U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum with support from the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy, Churches for Middle East Peace, and the American Friends Service Committee.
The briefing will be held on November 20, the International Day of the Child, starting at 10:30 a.m. in the Congressional Auditorium (CVC 200).
I also urge you to sponsor or support H.R. 2407, the “Promoting Human Rights of Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act,” which prohibits any U.S. taxpayer funds from contributing to the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children by any country, including but not limited to Israel.
Many faith groups including the United Church of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Alliance of Baptists, and The Episcopal Church and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Council have passed resolutions in support of the rights of Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention. Speakers from some of these Christian denominations and organizations will join Rep. McCollum at the briefing.
I hope you share these faith leaders’ commitment to protecting the rights of vulnerable communities, including children, and that you will attend this briefing (Wednesday, November 20 at 10:30 am) and support H.R. 2407.