Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) has introduced the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act (H.R. 2590) to prohibit Israel from using U.S. taxpayer dollars on the military detention, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention; to support the seizure and destruction of Palestinian property and homes in violation of international humanitarian law; or on any support or assistance for Israel’s unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory in violation of international humanitarian law.
Read Rep. McCollum's full statement on the introduction of the bill here.
Millions of Palestinians have lived their entire lives under the systemic oppression of Israel’s military occupation.
Israel is a U.S. ally and for the past 25 years, Congress has focused on providing Israel security funding while passing resolutions supporting a two-state solution. During this time, Israel has been strategically expanding settlements, committing flagrant violations of human rights against Palestinian children and families, and aggressively undermining any prospects for a Palestinian state.
U.S. assistance intended for Israel’s security should foster peace and must never be used to violate the human rights of children, demolish the homes of Palestinian families, or to permanently annex Palestinian lands.
The Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act prohibits U.S. taxpayer funding to the Government of Israel from being used for 1) the military detention, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention; 2) supporting the seizure and destruction of Palestinian property and homes in violation of international humanitarian law; and, 3) any support or assistance for Israel’s unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory in violation of international humanitarian law.
The Secretary of State is required to certify annually to Congress that foreign aid to Israel does not violate any of the outlined prohibited uses.
The bill also requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to submit an annual report to Congress detailing the expenditure of U.S. taxpayer funds by Israel for “off-shore procurement” and compliance with Congressionally mandated requirements. The goal of this provision is transparency and accountability for the expenditure of U.S. foreign aid, as we do with all countries.
Rush, D. Davis, Carson, Newman, Omar, Pocan, Grijalva, Tlaib, Pressley, Bush, Bowman, Ocasio-Cortez, Garcia (IL), Johnson (TX), Jayapal, Blumenauer, Norton, Evans, Huffman, Watson Coleman, Pingree. Find the most up-to-date list of co-sponsors here.
About Face, Adalah Justice Project, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq, Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine, Altwatan Media Center, American Federation of Ramallah-Palestine, Americans for Peace Now (APN), American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American Friends of the Palestinian House of Friendship- Nablus, American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, Arab American Institute, Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC), Bishop's Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land (Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, Western Washington), BPFNA-Bautistas por la Paz, Cafe Palestina-Berkshires, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Center for Constitutional Rights, Chicago Area Peace Action, Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Jewish Allies for a Just Peace in Israel/Palestine, Churches for Middle East Peace, Church of the Brethren – Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, Church World Service, Citizens for Justice in the Middle East—Kansas City, Coalition of Palestinian American Organizations, CODEPINK, Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), DAARNA, Dallas Palestine Coalition , Defense for Children International – Palestine, Delawareans for Palestinian Human Rights (DelPHR), Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Detention Watch Network, Disciples Israel Palestine Network, Dissenters, DSA BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group, The Episcopal Church, Episcopal Peace Fellowship - Palestine Israel Network, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Eyewitness Palestine, Fellowship of Reconciliation – USA, For All, Freedom Forward, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Friends of Sabeel – Colorado, Friends of Sabeel LA/OC Chapter, Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), Good Citizens Of DFW, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Grassroots International, Green Mountain Solidarity With Palestine, ICNA Council for Social Justice-California, IfNotNow, Indiana Center for Middle East Peace, Institute for Policy Studies – New Internationalism Project, Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Israel/Palestine Task Force of Cal/Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church, J Street, Jahalin Solidarity, The Jerusalem Fund, Jetpac Resource Center, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Jewish Voice for Peace (Portland, Oregon Chapter), Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Just Foreign Policy, Justice Democrats, MADRE, Massachusetts Peace Action, Middle East Children's Alliance, Minnesota Peace Project, MoveOn Political Action, Movement for Black Lives, MPower Action Fund, Muslim Peace Fellowship, National Council of Churches USA, National Lawyers Guild, National Union of Palestinian Youth, New Generation for Palestine, New Hampshire Palestine Education Network, New Hampshire Veterans for Peace, NGP Action, NorCal Sabeel, North American Association for Service, Education and Relief, North American Indian Muslim Association, Northfielders for Justice in Palestine/Israel, Norwegian Refugee Council, OD Action, On Earth Peace, Our Revolution, Our Revolution Virginia, Oxfam America, Palestine Advocacy Project, Palestine American League, Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace, Palestine Legal, Pax Christi USA, Peace Action, Presbyterian Church (USA), Progressive Democrats of America, Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, Rebuilding Alliance, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Reformed Church in America, ReThinking Foreign Policy, RootsAction, Sacramento Democrats for Justice in Palestine, Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Showing Up for Racial Justice, T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Tree of Life Educational Fund, U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, United Church of Christ, United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network, United Methodists for Kairos Response, United Nations Association of Sacramento, United We Dream Network, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), US Palestinian Council, Veterans For Peace, Virginia Coalition for Human Rights, Voices for Justice in Palestine, War Resisters League, Washington Advocates for Palestinian Rights, Win Without War, Women's Action for New Directions, Working Families Party
[Updated May 17, 2021]
05/14/2021 – Jewish Currents: “They Have Never Lived One Day of Freedom”
“Members of Congress should be reminded: At a moment in US history when systemic racism and discrimination is being exposed, condemned, and rejected, why is Congress using our tax dollars to fund the repression and abuse of the Palestinian people?”
05/14/2021 – CNN Connect the World
"I want evidence that no U.S. taxpayers' dollars are helping to fund the detention of Palestinian children in Israel military detention centers. I want to know for a fact that no U.S. aid dollars are contributing to the demolition of Palestinian homes...What I want is accountability and oversight, and that is something we routinely do with all the other aid money that we give… we ask for clear oversight.”
05/13/2021 – The Hill: Biden faces pressure from all sides on Israel
“The escalating violence, suffering, and death over the past few days across lands under the control of Israel’s military is the direct result of occupation policies designed to persecute the Palestinian people,”
05/11/2021 – The Medhi Hasan Show
“We have families who just want to get up, get their kids to school, have good health care, eat a healthy meal, and go to bed safely. That’s what I want for Israeli children as well as Palestinian children.”
05/08/2021 – Al Jazeera: ‘Not $1’: US lawmaker urges end to complicity in Israeli abuses
“By refusing to place clear restrictions on US military aid to Israel, Congress is effectively giving Israel the green light to abuse the human rights of Palestinian children, demolish Palestinian homes, and to annex Palestinian land.”
- Congresswoman McCollum's official remarks at the 2018 U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights National Conference (September 2018)
- B'Tselem: Unprotected: The Detention of Palestinian Teenagers in East Jerusalem (October 2017)
- Human Rights Watch Palestine: Israeli Police Abusing Detained Children (April 2016)
- Defense for Children International - Palestine: No Way to Treat a Child (April 2016)
- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF): Children in Israeli Military Detention (February 2013)
- UNICEF: Children in Israeli Military Detention, Bulletin No. 1 (October 2013)
- UNICEF: Children in Israeli Military Detention, Bulletin No. 2 (February 2015)
- United Kingdom Delegation: Children in Military Custody (June 2012)
Previous Actions to Protect Palestinian Human Rights
The legislation follows previous legislation introduced in the 115th and 116th Congresses, and after letters led by Congresswoman McCollum in 2015 and 2016 to the Obama administration about the human rights of Palestinian children subjected to Israeli military detention. In 2015, Congresswoman McCollum led 18 colleagues calling on Secretary of State John Kerry to “elevate the human rights of Palestinian children to a priority status in our bilateral relationship with the Government of Israel.” In 2016, Congresswoman McCollum led 19 colleagues urging President Barack Obama to appoint a Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth.
- Letter to Secretary John Kerry (June 2015)
- Letter to President Barack Obama (June 2016)
- Introduced H.R. 4391, the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act (2017)
- Introduced H.R. 2407, the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act (2019)