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 military court system, which does not guarantee their rights of due process, highlighting the two-tiered system of justice in the occupied Palestinian territories—Israeli civil courts for Israeli settlers, and Israeli military courts for Palestinians.
On April 30, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act” (H.R. 2407) in the US House of Representatives. The 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.
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.