[Institute for Middle East Peace] On Nov. 18, 26 prominent faith leaders including Presiding Bishop Michael Curry delivered a letter to members of the U.S. Congress affirming their support of H.R. 2407, Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation. The proposed legislation, introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum, would prohibit the use of U.S. taxpayer funds from contributing to the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children by any country, including Israel.
In the letter, faith leaders welcome H.R. 2407 as part of their commitment to protecting children and vulnerable communities in the U.S. and worldwide- including Palestinian children. Signatories of the letter include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Methodist Church, The Episcopal Church, and The Presbyterian Church (USA). Faith-based organizations play a key role in garnering growing and diverse support for the Palestinian Child Rights bill, H.R. 2407. Last month, Congresswoman McCollumspoke on the House Floor to thank 300+ Rabbinical Rabbis for their endorsement of H.R. 2407. Today’s letter reflects the increasing support among leading Christian denominations for the bill and efforts to hold Israel accountable for its treatment of Palestinian children. As documented by numerous human rights organizations, since the year 2000 an estimated 10,000 Palestinian children between the ages of 12 and 17 have been detained, prosecuted and incarcerated by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank. Often dragged from their homes in the middle of the night by armed soldiers, they suffer physical and emotional violence and frequently face verbal abuse, humiliation, and intimidation.
This week, a Congressional briefing is set to take place on the Universal Day of the Child, November 20, 2019, with Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Christian leadership to advocate for the rights of Palestinian children who are detained, prosecuted and incarcerated by the Israeli military in the West Bank. The briefing is co-organized by the American Friends Service Committee and Churches for Middle East Peace.