I am Jewish, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, and strongly support House bill H.R. 2407.
The Promoting Human Rights of Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act was introduced to the House by Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum on May 1.
Palestinian children detained by Israeli military forces in the West Bank are automatically subject to a military court system -- often without due process, access to legal representation and even contact with their family. By contrast, all children of Israeli settlers are processed through a civilian court system.
Human Rights Watch reports that unnecessary force is used with children as young as 12, including choke holds, beatings and coercive interrogation. The Israeli peace group 'B'Tselem reports that children are often taken from their homes and families, handcuffed and blindfolded, in the middle of the night by Israeli security forces.
The United States provides $3.8 billion of military assistance each year to Israel. H.R. 2407 would prohibit the use of United States military aid funds to any country that detains children in military courts. It is long past due that Israel be held accountable for what is essentially state-sponsored child abuse.
These are our taxpayer dollars funding unconscionable violations of the human rights of children. These practices violate international law, are fundamentally immoral and undermine the potential for a just and lasting peace.
All Americans, of any faith, should support this bill and tell our legislators to uphold the rights of all children by becoming cosponsors.
Bob Goonin, La Farge