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McCollum Leads Letter to Secretary of State Kerry Putting Spotlight on Israeli Military Detention and Abuse of Palestinian Children

June 23, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) released a letter that she and 18 of her congressional colleagues sent to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the United States to prioritize the human rights of Palestinian children living in the Occupied West Bank in the bilateral relationship with the Government of Israel.  The letter specifically addresses Israel’s on-going military detention of Palestinian children in which they are arrested, interrogated, held incommunicado, and frequently physically abused.  A 2013 report by UNICEF called “Children in Israeli Military Detention” (along with a subsequent 2015 report) highlights the fact that during the previous decade more than 7,000 Palestinian children ages 12 to 17 have been subject to military detention and abuse that violates international human rights standards.

Members of Congress signing the letter to Secretary Kerry indicated that while Israel’s security interests are a national security priority of the United States, respecting and defending the rights of children is a fundamental American value that cannot be ignored. 

“Israel’s military detention of Palestinian children is an indefensible abuse of human rights. I hope this letter results in State Department pressure on the Government of Israel to end this systemic abuse immediately,” said McCollum.  “Palestinian children should be treated exactly the same as Israeli or American children, without the fear that one day soldiers will arrest them, beat them, and lock them away in prison.”

The following members of Congress joined Rep. McCollum in signing the letter. A copy of the letter is attached. A copy of the UNICEF report “Children in Israeli Military Detention” can be found here.


Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)

Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN)

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA)

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA)

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)