Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting,
February 9th, 2020
Peace and Social Concerns
AFSC’s campaign No Way To Treat A Child Background
For more than half a century Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have endured an illegal and oppressive military occupation. Across the last two decades UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has followed the Israeli military’s treatment of Palestinian children. UNICEF’s landmark 2013 report “Children in Israeli Military Detention” notes that Israel is the only country in the world which systematically prosecutes children in military courts. According to a 2018 inquest by Defense of Children International, Palestine involving interviews with 739 Palestinian children, almost 75% experienced physical abuse after arrest, 89% were blindfolded, 49% were taken from their homes in the middle of the night, and almost all were interrogated without the presence of a family member. In October 2019, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem reported that 185 Palestinian minors were held in Israeli detention facilities, including one under the age of 14.
Thanks to Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MI), advocates for Palestinian children finally have allies in Congress. Rep. McCollum has introduced legislation to prohibit US taxpayer funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel. The Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act (also known as H.R. 2407) would amend the Foreign Assistance Act to include a provision prohibiting US military aid from use by foreign armed forces to detain and subject children to violations of international human rights law. If enacted into law, it would appropriate funds to monitor human rights abuses of Palestinian children and provide treatment for children so detained and abused.
The American Friends Service Committee has been spearheading a campaign, No Way To Treat A Child, that focuses on spreading the word to our F/friends, to our neighbors, and particularly to our congress persons. Goals are to have endorsements of the campaign minuted by 100 Friends monthly and quarterly meetings across the USA. Specific actions by individual Friends may include calling, writing, and/or lobbying your congress person urging him/her to sign on to sponsor the bill. [NB:Dwight Evans has already done so; but no other eastern PA/ south NJ Representatives have done so.] Additionally Friends may take the No Way To Treat A Child campaign to your schools, neighbors, families, or workplace.
As Friends, we seek peace by working for justice. Instrumental in our work for justice is our work for human rights and toward equality. Maltreatment of children in any setting is unacceptable. Using US taxpayer dollars to support a system of frequently abusive (or worse) military detention, incarceration, and court proceedings of Palestinian youths must end.
At Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting we call for an end to detention and incarcerations of children in the Israeli military courts. We call on our local congress persons to sponsor House Bill 2407: “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act.” We confirm our support for the American Friends Service Committee’s No Way To Treat a Child campaign.
Approved February 9, 2020 Dana Reinhold, Clerk