AFSC co-leads the "Israeli Military Detention: No Way to Treat a Child" campaign with Defense for Children International-Palestine, which seeks to challenge and end Israel's prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system.
Palestinian children have the right to a safe and just future. We believe the United States government must use all available means to pressure relevant Israeli authorities to end the detention and abuse of Palestinian children.
The first bill on Palestinian children’s human rights in U.S. history was introduced on November 14, 2017 by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN). H.R. 4391 “The Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act,” gained the support of 30 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. On April 30, 2019, 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 the military detention of children by any country, including Israel. H.R. 2407 received 24 co-sponsors in the 116th Congress.
On April 15, 2021, Rep. McCollum introduced new legislation designed to hold Israel accountable for continued abuse against children held in Israeli military detention as well as the destruction of Palestinian property and annexation of land. The Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act (H.R.2590) would ensure that U.S. financial assistance provided to Israel is not used to support holding Palestinian children in Israeli military detention or prosecuting them in a military court. It also restricts aid use for the unlawful seizure, appropriation and destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the West Bank, as well as further Israeli annexation of Palestinian land.
“Detaining children in a military court system, destroying Palestinian property and expanding Israeli control over Palestinian lands should not be supported by U.S. taxpayers,” said Jennifer Bing, director of AFSC's Palestine Activism program. “Funding these abuses with our tax dollars is contrary to promoting human rights, dignity, and equality which are critical to achieving a just and lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis.”
The inclusion of land annexation and property destruction in this version of the bill indicates growing support in Congress for upholding international law and protecting the rights of Palestinians. Over 100 local and national organizations have endorsed H.R. 2590, and 13 members of the U.S. House joined Rep. McCollum in introducing it. (See the current list of co-sponsors here.) Take action now to encourage your Representative to support H.R. 2590!
As we continue to build our No Way to Treat a Child campaign, we recently spoke with two activists on the progress we’ve made together, our hopes for 2021, and their personal stories of working for Palestinian rights. Please check out our updated guide on How to Talk to your Representative about Palestinian Child Detention. Check out this list of faith-based actions.