Congressional Bill to Protect Palestinian Children’s Rights Introduced

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I’m writing with incredible news.  This week Rep. Betty McCollum introduced a new bill designed to hold Israel accountable for its continued abuses against children held in Israeli military detention. 

This bill seeks to promote justice, equality, and human rights by ensuring that United States financial assistance to the government of Israel is not used to support the detention of Palestinian children by Israeli forces in a military detention system where ill-treatment is widespread and institutionalized – or their prosecution in a military court system that has been found to lack basic fair trial protections and guarantees. The bill was initiated by Rep. McCollum and cosponsored by Representatives Grijalva, Pocan, Blumenauer, Conyers, Pingree, Carson, DeFazio, Danny Davis, and Gutierrez.

This is an unprecedented action in support of Palestinian rights, and we need you to take action to support this bill.  Contact your representative and ask them to add their name in support of this bill.

Here is what the bill does:

  1. The bill requires the Secretary of State to certify annually that none of the funds obligated or expended in the previous fiscal year by the United States for assistance to the government of Israel have been used to support the ill-treatment of Palestinian children.

  2. It requires the Secretary of State to certify to the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate that no funds have been used by the government of Israel to support personnel, training, lethal materials, equipment, facilities, logistics, transportation, or any other activity that violates the rights of Palestinian children.

  3. If such a certification cannot be made, the Secretary must transmit a report to each committee describing in detail the amount of funds used by the government of Israel in violation of the specific prohibitions noted in the legislation and each activity supported by such funds.

Existing laws, particularly the Leahy Law, prohibit the U.S. from providing assistance to armed forces of a foreign country where credible information exists that a specific unit has committed grave human rights violations. However, the Leahy Law does not put in place a clear process for gathering the “credible information” needed to trigger action, which means that U.S. assistance continues to flow to foreign militaries, including the Israeli military, that engage in human rights abuses.

The certification required by this bill is a key step needed to ensure accountability.

The introduction of this bill- and the discussions it opens – is a significant victory in and of itself, but what we really want is passage of this bill.

Contact your representative today to tell them to support the “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli military Detention of Palestinian Children Act”.

Together we can make a difference for Palestinian children.

In Peace,

Jennifer Bing
Area Coordinator

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