U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) has 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 U.S. 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.
“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 after introducing the bill. “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.”
By prohibiting U.S. financial support of abuses against Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system, H.R. 2407 aligns U.S. policy toward Israel with existing U.S. law and international law, WAFA further reports.
The bill includes 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 U.S.
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 military detention and torture.
During the Obama administration in 2015 and 2016, Rep. Betty McCollum also led efforts on two letters that raised grave concerns about the conditions of Palestinian children in Israeli military custody.
Each year, the Israeli military detains and prosecutes some 700 Palestinian children.
Israel is the only country in the world to automatically prosecute children in military courts that lack basic safeguards for a fair trial.
(photo source: Days of Palestine)