Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act

Israeli Police arrest 11-year-old at school – said he threw a stone at them. [Majd Gaith]

First-ever bill on Palestinian human rights introduced in Congress

Bill would prohibit taxpayer funds from supporting human rights violations against Palestinian children in Israeli military detention system

TAKE ACTION to support this billcontact your Members of Congress here.

November 14, 2017 — Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and nine other original co-sponsors have introduced a bill prohibiting U.S. financial support of abuses against Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system, putting violations under the magnifying glass of U.S. taxpayers.  Co-sponsors include Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

See the current list of Congressional sponsors for this bill.
See/download the full text of the bill.

The Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act would establish, as a minimum safeguard, a U.S. demand for basic due process rights for and an absolute prohibition against torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian children who are arrested and prosecuted within the Israeli military court system.

The bill would require the Secretary of State to certify annually that no U.S. funding for Israel in the previous year has been used to support the ill-treatment of Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces.

Israeli Defense Forces arrest Palestinian boy at a demonstration against the Separation Wall, at the West Bank village of al-Maasara [OrenZiv/ActiveStills]
This bill addresses widely documented rights violations carried out by Israeli military and police against children within the military detention system, including torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.

Learn more in DCI-Palestine’s report: “Palestinian Children in the Israeli Military Detention System.”

TAKE ACTION to support this billcontact your Members of Congress here.

“This legislation highlights Israel’s system of military detention of Palestinian children and ensures that no American assistance to Israel supports human rights violations,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “Peace can only be achieved by respecting human rights, especially the rights of children. Congress must not turn a blind eye the unjust and ongoing mistreatment of Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation.”

Since 2000, an estimated 10,000 Palestinian children between the ages of 12 and 17 have been subject to arrest, detention, interrogation, and/or imprisonment under the Israeli military courts.  

Since 2007, in every annual report on Israel and the occupied territories, U.S. authorities have openly acknowledged the prevalence of torture and ill- treatment of Palestinian children and the denial of fair trials rights in the Israeli military detention system.

Independent monitors such as Human Rights Watch have documented that these children are subject to abuse and, in some cases, torture — specifically citing the use of choke holds, beatings, and coercive interrogation on children between the ages of 11 and 15.

In 2013, UNICEF released a report titled Children in Israeli Military Detention: Observations and Recommendations. The report concluded that “ill treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process.”

“Despite ongoing engagement with UN bodies and repeated calls to abide by international law, Israeli military and police continue night arrests, physical violence, coercion, and threats against Palestinian children,” said Khaled Quzmar, general director of Defense for Children International – Palestine. “These practices remain institutionalized and systemic rather than last resort measures, and we call on the U.S. to halt its support of these violations.”

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes an estimated 500 to 700 children each year in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections.  

This legislation has been endorsed by the American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International USA, Center for Constitutional Rights, Churches for Middle East Peace, Defense for Children International – Palestine, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, Jewish Voice for Peace, Mennonite Central Committee, Presbyterian Church (USA), the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR), and United Methodist General Board of Church and Society.

In a statement on this legislation, Jewish Voice for Peace said: “Jewish tradition teaches that each and every single person has inherent dignity and worth and must be treated accordingly. This legislation recognizes and acts upon the inherent dignity and worth of Palestinian children and sends the message that the United States is committed to a future with freedom, safety, and equality for both Palestinians and Israelis.”

TAKE ACTION to support this billcontact your Members of Congress here.

The No Way to Treat a Child campaign seeks to challenge Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing widespread and systematic illtreatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system. It is a project of Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) is an independent, local Palestinian child rights organization dedicated to defending and promoting the rights of children living in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. For 25 years, we have investigated, documented, and exposed grave human rights violations against children; held Israeli and Palestinian authorities accountable to universal human rights principles; and advocated at the international and national levels to advance access to justice and protection for children. We also provide direct legal aid to children in distress.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social relations and systems. AFSC has worked in Israel and Palestine since 1948.  


US Campaign for Palestinian Rights – Talking Points for H.R. 4391

Besides the TAKE ACTION links in the article above, you can also send a message to Congress with US Campaign for Palestinian Rights – click here

Download the text of the bill, H.R. 4391

DCI-Palestine Report: Palestinian Children in the Israeli Military Detention System

Human Rights Watch – 2015 report: Israel: Security Forces Abuse Palestinian Children

Human Rights Watch – 2016 report: Palestine: Israeli Police Abusing Detained Children

UNICEF – 2013 report: Children in Israeli Military Detention: Observations and Recommendations.

Huffington Post article on the above UNICEF Report: Israeli Abuse Of Palestinian Children In Prison ‘Systematic,’ Says UN Report

News & Commentary on this bill, H.R. 4391

Electronic Intifada: Historic US bill would outlaw Israel aid used to abuse children

Middle East Eye: ‘First-ever’ bill on Palestinian child rights introduced in US Congress

+972 Magazine: Palestinian rights make a rare appearance in Congress

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights statement:
USCPR Welcomes Introduction of Bill Supporting Palestinian Children’s Human Rights