Amazing news! This week US congresswoman Betty McCollum introduced a bill to end Israeli detention of Palestinian children! It is historic legislation and we need you to help get as many members of congress to sign onto it as possible.
This week I wrote for the Forward about my experience being arrested with Palestinian children. It was the most heartbreaking experience I have ever had:
They were clearly terrified; many of them were crying. Under Israeli law, once at the police station or army base, arrestees are supposed to have their handcuffs and blindfolds removed. This law was disregarded. That the children, who had not been part of the demonstration, remained blindfolded and handcuffed, showed not just a blatant and willful violation of the law, but real cruelty on the part of the Israeli forces.
Read the full article here. Then tell your Member of Congress to add their name to this historic legislation.
Each year, between 500-700 Palestinian children are arrested and detained in Israeli military court. 75% of them are physically assaulted and 90% of them are denied the right to have a parent or attorney present during interrogation. Not only is Israel the only country in the world that subjects children to a military court system, but only Palestinian, and not Israeli, children are arrested and prosecuted by the military. It is segregated and unequal!
Representative McCollum introduced the bill with nine cosponsors: Reps. Blumenauer (D-OR), Carson (D-IN), Conyers (D-MI), Davis (D-IL), DeFazio (D-OR), Grijalva (D-AZ), Gutiérrez (D-IL), Pingree (D-ME), Pocan (D-WI). Tell your Member of Congress to join these brave leaders by adding their names now!
The legislation is endorsed by American Friends Service Committee, Center for Constitutional Rights, Churches for Middle East Peace, CODEPINK, Defense of Children International, Jewish Voice for Peace, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, Mennonite Central Committee, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR) and US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
This is a historic moment for the US and a source of hope for all of us on the ground living under occupation. It gives me strength as I continue my military court trial.
Towards the protection of Palestinian children and the end of Israeli apartheid.