Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Representing Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, and Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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U.S. action to protect Palestinian children

Boy with Palestinian flag

For the first time, Congress is considering a bill that bars the United States from financially supporting human rights abuses of Palestinian children by the Israeli military.The following article was published in the January-February 2018 issue of NewsNotes.

On November 14, U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced a bill to prevent U.S. tax dollars from paying for human rights violations against Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.

The Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act (H.R. 4391) requires the Secretary of State to certify annually that no funds obligated or expended in the previous year by the United States for assistance to Israel have been used to support prohibited practices under international law. If the Secretary cannot make this certification, a detailed report is required outlining the amount of money spent in violation of the bill and how it was spent.

In the 1967 War, Israel occupied the Palestinian lands of the West Bank and Gaza and has since implemented a two-tiered legal system in these territories: civil law for Israeli settlers (whose settlements are illegal according to international law); and military law for Palestinians, denying them their basic and fundamental rights. Palestinian children and youth are, therefore, subject to military arrest and prosecution by Israel, the only country that systematically does so in military courts. 

Numerous human rights organizations have documented cases of Palestinian children subject to physical and verbal abuse, strip searches, solitary confinement, coerced confessions, and separation from their parents and legal counsel. All of which are violations of international humanitarian law.

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