Tell Congress: Support Palestinian Children’s Human Rights
On April 30, 2019, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn.) introduced H.R. 2407, the “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act,” which would prohibit U.S. taxpayer funding for the military detention of children by any country, including Israel. H.R. 2407 is similar to a bill McCollum introduced in November 2017 (H.R. 4391, the “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act”), with some updates and changes. Significantly, the new bill prohibits U.S. military aid from being used by foreign armed forces to support the military detention, interrogation, abuse or ill-treatment of children in violation of international humanitarian law.
Between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are detained and prosecuted in Israeli military courts each year. Since 2000, more than 10,000 children have been subjected to the Israeli military court system, which does not guarantee their rights of due process. Their treatment highlights the two-tiered system of justice in the occupied Palestinian territory—Israeli civil courts for Israeli settlers, and Israeli military courts for Palestinians.
H.R. 2407 notes that child detention by the Israeli military courts violates international laws and standards of human rights, is contrary to American values, and undermines efforts to promote a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The bill seeks to prohibit funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel; to authorize $19 million for nongovernmental organization (NGO) monitoring of human rights abuses associated with Israel’s military detention of children; and to provide physical, psychological, and emotional treatment and support for Palestinian child victims of Israeli military detention, abuse and torture. Specific information about the bill is available at the No Way to Treat a Child campaign website.
TAKE ACTION: Ask your Representative in Congress protect the rights of Palestinian children and to uphold existing U.S. law that prohibits using military aid to violate international humanitarian law. SEND A MESSAGE
H.R. 8050: The Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act
In August 2020. Rep. Betty McCollum has introduced another truly historic bill in the U.S. Congress, The Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act, H.R. 8040. This bill will prohibit the United States government from recognizing Israeli claims of sovereignty over any part of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and prohibit U.S. military funding to Israel being used for further annexation of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. This bill is a vital step toward divesting from Israeli militarism.
Israel currently receives more U.S. foreign aid than any other nation–$3.8 billion a year. It is critical that we urge Congress to use its power of the purse to stop Israel’s annexation of Palestinian territory and to end violations of Palestinian rights.
On Aug. 13, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, with U.S. support, announced normalization of diplomatic relations, with Israel agreeing to “suspend” annexation of West Bank lands. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has since said that he sees the suspension only as a delay—not an end—to Israel’s annexation plans.
It’s important that we continue to put pressure on Congress so that the delay does not diminish their opposition to annexation. It is also important to remember that delay does not stop de facto annexation and ongoing military occupation, as Israel continues to build illegal settlements in the West Bank, demolish Palestinian homes, and violate Palestinians’ rights.
Tell Congress to stand up for democratic values, human rights, and international law by ensuring that U.S. taxpayer funds are not used to implement annexation or further the disenfranchisement of Palestinian people.
TAKE ACTION WITH AFSC:
Tell your House member today: Co-sponsor the Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act.
Many partners of Palestine Portal among the early sponsors of H.R. 8050:
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), Defense for Children International–Palestine, Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), Jewish Voice for Peace Action, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), Presbyterian Church USA, National Council of Churches, Mennonite Central Committee-Washington DC Office, The United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society.
Learn more about this legislation at Rep. Betty McCollum’s website Read in-depth analysis by Josh Ruebner at The Electronic Intifada
Rise Against Racism, Counter CUFI
For too long, Palestinians have been calling for freedom, justice, and equality. As organizations that share these values, we urge you to join us in confronting Christians United for Israel (CUFI). CUFI has quietly become the largest organization in the United States driving support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. With over five million members, CUFI uses its political leverage to ensure ongoing U.S. support for Israel’s colonization and military occupation of Palestine, including imprisoning Palestinian children; bombing homes, schools, and hospitals in Gaza; massacring peaceful protestors; and confiscating Palestinian land. By its own admission, CUFI “led the charge to have the U.S. recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” and it continues to push for unconstitutional anti-BDS legislation and illegal settlement expansion.
CUFI is a Christian Zionist organization: Its ideology and politics are deeply entrenched in white nationalism, anti-Muslim racism, anti-Semitism, and other systems of oppression. In spite of its strong political influence on the Hill, CUFI has operated largely under the radar and received little attention in comparison with groups like AIPAC.
Until now. This is the moment to act:
This July, many of your Congressional representatives will be attending CUFI’s annual summit as invited guests. We cannot allow CUFI’s influence to go unchallenged. Come to Washington, D.C. on July 7 and 8 to tell the world to #CounterCUFI! It will take each and every one of us to rise against racism, to reclaim and protect our communities, and to uphold the liberation of all people in the vision
of justice, equality, and freedom.
Friends of Sabeel North America
Jewish Voice for Peace
American Muslims for Palestine
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
Endorse this Call to Action, as an individual or for an organization
For questions, please contact [email protected].
US Must Lift the Travel Ban on Omar Barghouti
APRIL 2019 – Omar Barghouti is a world-renowned human rights defender, co-founder of the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) for Palestinian rights, and a 2017 recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award. He has lived in the US and has a degree from Columbia University.
Despite holding a valid U.S. visa, on April 10, 2019, Omar was banned from entry by U.S. immigration officials, while attempting to board a flight at Ben Gurion Airport.
The United States barred Barghouti from his much anticipated U.S. speaking tour, meetings with policy makers and journalists, a Passover dialogue at a Chicago synagogue, and his daughter’s wedding.
This is a shameful and dangerous attack on the Palestine freedom movement and social justice organizing on every issue, and we must challenge it.
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the Arab American Institute (AAI) will deliver a lettrr to the House FOREIGN AFFAIRS Committee and House JUDICIARY Committee, asking them to:
1. Immediately reinstate Omar Barghouti’s ability to travel to the US.
2. Support the right of Americans to hear directly from one of the world’s leading human rights advocates.
3. Launch an investigation into who made the decision to ban Omar from entry and why.
ADD YOUR NAME TO THE LETTER!
CLICK HERE TO SEE AND SIGN THE LETTER
United Nations, Release the Database!
Justice Delayed is Justice Denied
APRIL 2019 – Join Al Haq’s social media actions to urge the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, and Member States to abide by their own commitments and publish the database on companies involved in Israel’s illegal settlements.
In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council voted in favour of establishing a database of companies involved in business activities with Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Israeli settlements are illegal under international law; a database of businesses with activities or relationships in settlements would provide transparency for States, businesses, and the public, and can be used to ensure that companies are not complicit in human rights violations and grave breaches of international humanitarian law.
Almost three years since the resolution calling for the Database, the UN has yet to publish the result of its work; this is reportedly due to political pressure from Israel, the United States and some European states. On 4 March 2019, the High Commissioner issued a letter stating that “further consideration is necessary” to fulfil the mandate, and that her Office will continue to finalize the “mandate in the coming months.”
These delays allow international and Israeli businesses to continue to exploit Palestinian natural resources, and contribute to and profit from Israel’s impunity for its expanding colonial settlement enterprise and human rights violations.
Together we can end corporate complicity in international crimes in the OPT.
Use the sample tweets and meme below with the following hashtags:
[email protected] @UNHumanRights: Each delay in publishing the database of companies profiting from Israel’s illegal settlements entrenches corporate involvement in systematic human rights abuses & war crimes. #UNGiveUsTheNamesAlready (Click to Tweet)
[email protected] @UNHumanRights: In order to #StandUp4HumanRights we must end corporate complicity. Civil society and states need to know which companies are profiting from Israeli war crimes & prolonged occupation. #UNGiveUstheNamesAlready (Click to Tweet)
It has been three years since @UNHumanRights committed to publishing a list of companies profiting from Israeli war crimes. Enough is enough. Palestinian civil society calls on the UN to #StandUp4HumanRights @MBachelet We demand: #UNGiveUsTheNamesAlready (Click to Tweet)
The @UNHumanRights must live up to its commitments and publish the list of companies operating in settlements. By not doing so it is setting a precedent of capitulating to state pressure and failing to protect Palestinian human rights. #UNGiveUsTheNamesAlready (Click to Tweet)
[email protected]: Your three-year delay has allowed companies to continue to profit from a situation of prolonged occupation and injustice, while avoiding accountability for complicity in violations & war crimes. #UNGiveUsTheNamesAlready of companies profiting from Israel’s illegal settlements. (Click to Tweet)
YOU CAN ALSO:
1. Make a banner with the hashtag #UNGiveUsTheNamesAlready, THEN
2. Take a photo of yourself or your group holding the sign, THEN
3. Post the photo on social media using the hashtag #UNGiveUsTheNamesAlready tagging @MBachelet and @UNHumanRights
For further information on the UN database of companies engaged in activities related to Israeli settlements:
• Palestinian Civil Society Calls on the UN High Commissioner to Release the UN Database of Businesses Engaged in Activities Related to Israeli Settlements;
• 100 Palestinian, Regional and International Organisations Call on High Commissioner for Human Rights to Publish the UN Database on Business Enterprises with Activities Related to Israeli Settlements in the OPT;
• Palestinian Organisations Support Release of UN Database Report and Call for Third State Action to End Corporate Complicity in Occupation;
• Joint NGO Statement in Support of the UN Human Rights Database on Business Activities related to Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;
• Unprecedented database to list business enterprises that have, directly and indirectly, enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of Israeli settlements.
See this alert at the website of Al Haq:
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Hunger Strike, 2017
See it here
Faith Leaders Denounce Israeli Travel Ban
Add your support to an ecumenical and interfaith statement that opposes Israel’s denial of entry to some advocates for justice in Israel/Palestine, as well as political discrimination within the U.S.
Read the statement and take action
Stop legislation to criminalize boycotts, from AFSC
See Palestine Portal’s comprehensive page on Anti-BDS Legislation, including action alerts from several organizations, news articles, commentary, educational resources, videos, and more
Congress is seeking to criminalize people who support the Palestinian-initiated Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and we need your help to stop them.
Draft bills in the Senate and the House (S. 720 and H.R. 1697) known as the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” are gaining traction. The bills – sponsored by 45 senators and 237 representatives respectively – would make supporting some boycott actions targeting Israel or Israeli settlements a felony punishable by up to a $1 million fine and 20 years in prison.
Both versions of the bill also include clauses making it illegal for companies or individuals to boycott illegal Israeli settlements based on calls made by bodies at the United Nations, European Union, or other international institutions.
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act is part of a growing effort to outlaw BDS. Since 2014 dozens of anti-BDS measures have been introduced in states across the U.S., and 19 states have enacted anti-BDS laws.
Despite millions of dollars of investment to counter BDS campaigns, the BDS movement has been succeeding. In just the last month the United Church of Christ voted in support of targeted sanctions in the form of cuts in military aid to Israel, and the Mennonite Church took steps to support institutional divestment from companies complicit in Israel’s occupation and human rights violations. Because they have been unable to stop this grassroots momentum, those opposed to BDS are moving to change the laws to make BDS illegal
Should the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” become law, it would chill and deter constitutionally protected speech by intimidating people from engaging in political actions for fear of being criminally sanctioned.
This law and others like it would be dangerous and likely unconstitutional. No legislation should restrict people’s rights to engage in efforts to end human rights abuses. That’s why such a diverse coalition of organizations have come together in opposition, including groups strongly opposed to BDS, such as J-Street; neutral advocates of civil rights such as the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights; and Palestine activist networks.
Regardless of your personal position regarding the use of boycott, divestment, and sanctions tactics in the context of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, we ask you to act now to ensure the protection of the First Amendment to the Constitution by defending free speech and the rights of U.S. citizens to engage in peaceful efforts to change policies.
Petition the UN: Free Issa Amro!
“Palestinian activist Issa Amro, who has been recognized as a Human Rights Defender by the European Union and the United Nations, is undergoing Israeli military trial1 on 18 charges dating all the way back to 2010.
Mr. Amro’s case is an example of widespread targeting of human rights activists using old and exaggerated charges in a military court system whose conviction rate for Palestinians is over 99%2.
As civil and human rights advocates and faith groups, we ask that you call on the Israeli government to drop the politically-motivated charges against Issa Amro and allow him to continue his important work of protecting human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
Sign the petition! Go to: https://freeissa.org/
East Jerusalem Hospitals Need Assistance
From Peace Not Walls, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Ask your US elected officials to protect funding for East Jerusalem hospitals such as the Augusta Victoria, which provides vital medical care Palestinians cannot get elsewhere.
Read more, take action
Protect the right to boycott! Two Dangerous Bills in Congress
From the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy, via United Methodists for Kairos Response
Contact your members of Congress! Urge them to oppose two dangerous bills that seek to limit Americans’ right to engage in boycotts – protected free speech according to the Supreme Court – that support human rights and international law in Israel/Palestine. Send a message to your legislators.