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US Congresswoman reintroduces bill to promote Palestinian children’s rights

May 3, 2019 11:57 A.M. (Updated: May 7, 2019 11:32 A.M.)
WASHINGTON (Ma'an) -- United States Congresswoman Betty McCollum reintroduced a historic bill to promote the human rights of Palestinian children, who face detention, interrogation, abuse, and violence by Israel through its military court system in the occupied West Bank.

According to Defense for Children International, the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, also known as H.R. 2407, seeks to promote justice, equality and human rights by ensuring that US financial assistance provided to the Government of Israel is not used to support widespread and institutionalized ill-treatment against Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces and prosecuted in Israeli military courts lacking basic fair trial protections.

After introducing the bill, Congresswoman McCollum said, “Israel’s system of military juvenile detention is state-sponsored child abuse designed to intimidate and terrorize Palestinian children and their families.”

She added, “It must be condemned, but it is equally outrageous that American tax dollars in the form of military aid to Israel are permitted to sustain what is clearly a gross human rights violation against children.”

By prohibiting US financial support of abuses against Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system, H.R. 2407 aligns US policy toward Israel with existing US law and international law.

The introduced bill included a clear statement of policy that Israel’s system of military detention of Palestinian children amounts to gross violations of human rights inconsistent with international humanitarian law and the laws and values of the US.

It is noteworthy that if passed, H.R. 2407 would also authorize the appropriation of funds up to $19 million to monitor human rights abuses and provide treatment to Palestinian child victims of Israeli detention and torture.

In an April report, Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS) confirmed Israeli forces detained more than 6,000 Palestinian children since 2015 and that 98% of the children held had been subjected to psychological and/or physical abuse while in Israeli custody.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,450 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, including 205 minors, 32 of whom under 16 years old.

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