McCollum introduces civil rights legislation protecting Palestinian children under Israeli occupation
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) has introduced legislation— the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, H.R. 2407 — amending a provision of the Foreign Assistance Act known as the “Leahy Law” to prohibit funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel.
The bill also establishes the “Human Rights Monitoring and Palestinian Child Victims of Israeli Military Detention Fund,” authorizing $19 million annually for non-governmental organization (NGO) monitoring of human rights abuses associated with Israel’s military detention of children. The Fund also authorizes qualified NGOs to provide physical, psychological, and emotional treatment and support for Palestinian child victims of Israeli military detention, abuse, and torture.
“Israel’s system of military juvenile detention is state-sponsored child abuse designed to intimidate and terrorize Palestinian children and their families,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “It must be condemned, but it is equally outrageous that U.S. tax dollars in the form of military aid to Israel are permitted to sustain what is clearly a gross human rights violation against children.”
More than 10,000 Palestinian children have been arrested, detained, abused, and prosecuted by Israeli security forces in the Israeli military court system since 2000. Independent monitors such as Human Rights Watch and Israel’s B’Tselem have repeatedly documented that children are subject to abuse and, in some cases, torture — specifically citing the use of chokeholds, beatings, and coercive interrogation. Just weeks ago, CNN broadcast video showing armed Israeli soldiers entering a primary school in Hebron to arrest a 9-year-old who was then “frog-marched away and taken to an army vehicle.”
“Peace can only be achieved by respecting human rights, especially the rights of children. Congress must not turn a blind eye to the unjust and ongoing mistreatment of Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation.
“I strongly believe there is a growing consensus among the American people that the Palestinian people deserve justice, equality, human rights, and the right to self-determination. It is time to stand with Palestinians, Americans, Israelis, and people around the world to reject the destructive, dehumanizing, and anti-peace policies of Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Trump.”
ADC, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Washington D.C. released the following statement urging support for McCullom’s legislation:
On May 1, 2019, Congresswoman Betty McCollum reintroduced legislation that would prohibit U.S. tax dollars from being used to fund and support the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation. Specifically, the proposed legislation, Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, H.R. 2407, amends a provision of the Foreign Assistance Act known as the “Leahy Law” that bars U.S. funding for the military detention of children in any country, to now include Israel.
In a press statement Congresswoman McCollum emphasized the immediate need to pass H.R. 2407 as a step towards ending Israel’s systematic abuse of Palestinian children:
“Israel’s system of military juvenile detention is state-sponsored child abuse designed to intimidate and terrorize Palestinian children and their families. It must be condemned, but it is equally outrageous that U.S. tax dollars in the form of military aid to Israel are permitted to sustain what is clearly a gross human rights violation against children.”
Since 2000, it is estimated that Israel has detained and arrested at least 10,000 Palestinian children. International human rights organizations such as, Human Rights Watch and Defense for Children International-Palestine both document that every year, between 500 and 700 Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank are arrested, interrogated, physically and psychologically abused. Alarmingly, Palestinian children are forced to sign confessions and are imprisoned under Israel’s system of juvenile military detention in violation of international humanitarian law.
You can make a difference and protect the rights of Palestinian children today! Act now, tell your Representatives to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children and support H.R. 2407! Click HERE to tell your representatives to support H.R. 2407!