US Congresswoman Betty McCollum, a Minnesota Democrat, denounced the detention of Palestinian children by the Israeli military at an event yesterday, reported Middle East Eye.
McCollum was speaking at an event coinciding with the United Nations’ International Children’s Day.
The Israeli system of military detention of Palestinian children is immoral, and not a single dollar of US taxpayer funds should be allowed to support what’s in explicit violation of international humanitarian law
the Democrat representative declared.
McCollum urged other lawmakers to back bill HR 2407, legislation she introduced, that would prevent United States military aid to Israel from being used in the violation of children’s rights. The bill currently boasts 22 co-sponsors since it was introduced in April.
“The bill is simple; it says we value the lives of Palestinian children living under occupation, and therefore US military aid to Israel must be prohibited from supporting the military detention, interrogation and abuse of Palestinian children,” McCollum said.
The event also saw a number of Christian leaders express their backing for the bill, including Reverend Aundreia Alexander, associate general secretary for action and advocacy at the National Council of Churches.
“The intimidation and terrorising of children is immoral and unconscionable,” she told attendees.
The legislation highlights Israel’s “military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment” of Palestinian children, hundreds of whom are detained and prosecuted each year, in military courts that lack “fundamental guarantees of due process in violation of international standards”.
“In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, there are two separate legal systems, with Israeli military law imposed on Palestinians and Israeli civilian law applied to Israeli settlers,” the text also states.
Earlier this week, 26 faith leaders wrote a letter to Congress urging legislators to back the bill.
“Our faith commitments call us to pay particular attention to the rights of those most vulnerable, including children,” they wrote.
“Wherever children are languishing in detention camps whether in our US context or in Israeli military prisons, we pray that leaders do their utmost to protect the humanity and dignity of all and prevent the violation of children’s rights.”