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Tell Congress: No US aid for child torture!
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Alison Weir, If Americans Knew

Tell Congress: No US aid for child torture!
Take Action!
Please take two minutes to contact Congress...
Tell your legislator: cosponsor this bill that protects Palestinian

New legislation in the House has the simple, humane goal of withholding aid
to Israel that would be used to detain, prosecute, and torture Palestinian
children. It`s a worthy goal, but only a handful of representatives have
signed on. Please take 2 minutes to change this!

Take Action Now

Out of 435 representatives, fewer than two dozen have committed to
supporting `No Way to Treat a Child` (H.R.2407).

Worse yet, two Congress members who had earlier cosponsored the bill – Reps.
Debbie Dingell and Rosa DeLauro – abruptly reversed their decisions, giving
standard Israel-partisan excuses.

But while Dingell & DeLauro were backing out, activists in California
convinced their Congressman to co-sponsor the bill. You can do the same!

This bill sets the bar extremely low for supporting Palestine: all it asks
is that Palestinian children not be tortured using American aid money. Isn`t
this a no-brainer? Shouldn`t everyone sign on?

411 members of Congress need to hear from us: protect Palestinian children!

22 members of Congress need to hear: thank you for protecting Palestinian

Two members of Congress need to hear: it`s disgraceful to retract support
for Palestinian children!

You can read more about the legislation and its significance here.
(See a video about Israel`s treatment of children here.)

Our Congress gives Israel $10 million every day, and our Congress needs to
make sure that, as a bare minimum, that money is not being used to abuse

Tell your representative to add her/his name to H.R.2407! If they`ve already
cosponsored, thank them!

Click the button below to contact your legislator

and demand a signature on this bill. (If your legislator has already
cosponsored, you will be taken to a `Thank You` page.)

Thank you in advance for taking action, and for your crucial support, which
makes our work possible,

Alison Weir


Text: H.R.2407 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)

Text available as:XML/HTMLXML/HTML (new window)TXTPDF (PDF provides a
complete and accurate display of this text.)

Introduced in House (04/30/2019)

1st Session
H. R. 2407

To promote human rights for Palestinian children living under Israeli
military occupation and require that United States funds do not support
military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian
children, and for other purposes.

April 30, 2019
Ms. McCollum introduced the following bill; which was referred to the
Committee on Foreign Affairs

To promote human rights for Palestinian children living under Israeli
military occupation and require that United States funds do not support
military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian
children, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled,

This Act may be cited as the “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian
Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act”.


Congress finds the following:

(1) Children are entitled to special protections and due process rights
under international human rights law and international humanitarian law,
regardless of guilt or innocence or the gravity of an alleged offense.

(2) The Government of Israel and its military detains around 500 to 700
Palestinian children between the ages of 12 and 17 each year and prosecutes
them before a military court system that lacks basic and fundamental
guarantees of due process in violation of international standards.

(3) Israel has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which

(A) in article 37(a), that “no child shall be subject to torture or other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”;

(B) in article 37(b), that the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child
“shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest
appropriate period of time”;

(C) in article 37(c), that “every child deprived of liberty shall be treated
with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and
in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her
age”; and

(D) in article 37(d), that “[e]very child deprived of his or her liberty
shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate
assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the
deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent,
independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such

(4) In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, there are two separate legal systems,
with Israeli military law imposed on Palestinians and Israeli civilian law
applied to Israeli settlers.

(5) Approximately 2,900,000 Palestinians live in the West Bank, of which
around 45 percent are children under the age of 18, who have lived their
entire lives under Israeli military occupation.

(6) Since 2000, more than 10,000 Palestinian children have been subject to
the Israeli military court system.

(7) Israeli security forces detain children under the age of 12 for
interrogation for extended periods of time even though prosecution of
children under 12 is prohibited by Israeli military law.

(8) Human Rights Watch, in its World Report 2018, reported that Israeli
Security Forces detained Palestinian children “often using unnecessary
force, questioned them without a family member present, and made them sign
confessions in Hebrew, which most did not understand”.

(9) Human Rights Watch documented, in a July 2015 report titled “Israel:
Security Forces Abuse Palestinian Children”, that such detentions also
included the use of chokeholds, beatings, and coercive interrogation on
children between the ages of 11 and 15 years.

(10) The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem issued a report in 2018
describing the treatment of Palestinian children under Israeli military
occupation: “Every year, hundreds of Palestinian minors undergo the same
scenario. Israeli security forces pick them up on the street or at home in
the middle of the night, then handcuff and blindfold them and transport them
to interrogation, often subjecting them to violence en route. Exhausted and
scared—some having spent a long time in transit, some having been roused
from sleep, some having had nothing to eat or drink for hours—the minors are
then interrogated. They are completely alone in there, cut off from the
world, without any adult they know and trust by their side, and without
having been given a chance to consult with a lawyer before the
interrogation. The interrogation itself often involves threats, yelling,
verbal abuse and sometimes physical violence. Its sole purpose is to get the
minors to confess or provide information about others.”.

(11) The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) concluded, in a February
2013 report titled “Children in Israeli Military Detention”, that the “ill-
treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system
appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the
process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and
eventual conviction and sentencing”.

(12) The 2013 UNICEF report further determines that the Israeli system of
military detention of Palestinian children profoundly deviates from
international norms, stating that “in no other country are children
systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall
short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their

(13) UNICEF also released reports in October 2013 and February 2015 noting
that Israeli authorities have, since March 2013, issued new military orders
and taken steps to reinforce existing military and police standard operating
procedures relating to the detention of Palestinian children. However, the
reports still found continued and persistent evidence of ill-treatment of
Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces.

(14) In 2013, the annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Israel
and the Occupied Territories (“Annual Report”) published by the Department
of State noted that Israeli security services continued to abuse, and in
some cases torture minors, frequently arrested on suspicion of stone-
throwing, in order to coerce confessions. The torture tactics used included
threats, intimidation, long-term handcuffing, beatings, and solitary

(15) The State Department’s 2013 Annual Report also stated that “signed
confessions by Palestinian minors, written in Hebrew, a language most could
not read, continued to be used as evidence against them in Israeli military

(16) The State Department’s 2016 Annual Report noted a “significant increase
in detentions of minors” in 2016, and that “Israeli authorities continued to
use confessions signed by Palestinian minors, written in Hebrew”. It also
highlighted the renewed use of “administrative detention” against
Palestinians, including children, a practice in which a detainee may be held
indefinitely, without charge or trial, by the order of a military commander
or other government official.

(17) The nongovernmental organization Defense for Children International
Palestine collected affidavits from 739 West Bank children who were detained
between 2013 and 2018, and concluded that—

(A) 73 percent of the children endured physical violence following arrest;

(B) under Israeli military law, children do not have the right to a lawyer
during interrogation;

(C) 96 percent of the children did not have a parent present during their

(D) 74 percent of the children were not properly informed of their rights by
Israeli police;

(E) interrogators used stress positions, threats of violence, and isolation
to coerce confessions from detained children;

(F) 29 children were detained and placed in administrative detention, or
detention without charge or trial, since Israel renewed the practice against
minors in October 2015, and

(G) 122 children were held in pre-trial, pre-charge isolation for
interrogation purposes for an average period of 13 days.

(18) Amendments to Israeli military law concerning the detention of
Palestinian children have had little to no impact on the treatment of
children during the first 24 to 48 hours after an arrest, when the majority
of their ill-treatment occurs.

(19) In 2013, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child
reviewed Israel’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child
and declared that Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces “continue
to be systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of
torture” and that Israel had “fully disregarded” the previous
recommendations of the Committee to comply with international law.

(20) The United Nations Committee Against Torture, in 2016, reviewed
Israel’s compliance with the Convention Against Torture and reported:
“allegations of many instances in which Palestinian minors were exposed to
torture or ill-treatment, including to obtain confessions; were given
confessions to sign in Hebrew, a language they do not understand; and were
interrogated in the absence of a lawyer or a family member. The Committee is
also concerned that many of these children, like many other Palestinians,
are deprived of liberty in facilities located in Israel, thus hindering
access to visits of relatives who live in the Occupied Palestinian

(21) Existing Federal statutory provisions known as the “Leahy law” codified
at section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, 22 U.S.C. 2378d and
section 362 of Title 10 of the United States Code, prohibit the United
States Government from using funds for assistance to units of foreign
security forces where there is credible information implicating that unit in
the commission of gross violations of human rights, including torture.

(22) The United States provides in excess of $3.8 billion in annual foreign
military assistance to the Government of Israel which enables the military
detention and abuse of Palestinian children by Israel’s military system of
juvenile detention.


The purpose of this Act is to promote and protect the human rights of
Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation.


It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) the detention, prosecution, and ill-treatment of Palestinian children
living under military occupation in a military court system that lacks basic
and fundamental guarantees of due process by the Government of Israel—

(A) violates international law and internationally recognized standards of
human rights;

(B) is contrary to the values of the American people and the efforts of the
United States to support equality, human rights, and dignity for both
Palestinians and Israelis; and

(C) undermines efforts by the United States and the international community
to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian
people; and

(2) Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations working to advance
human rights, justice, and equal treatment for Palestinians living under
Israeli military occupation, as well as Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of
Israel, are essential to promoting human dignity, democratic values, and
international humanitarian law, and therefore deserve recognition and
support from the United States and the American people.


It is the policy of the United States to promote human rights for
Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation and to declare
Israel’s system of military detention of Palestinian children as a practice
that results in widespread and systematic human rights abuses amounting to
gross violations of human rights inconsistent with international
humanitarian law and the laws and values of the United States.


(a) In General.—Section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22
U.S.C. 2378d; commonly known as the “Leahy Law”) is amended by adding at the
end the following new subsection:

“(e) Specific Limitations Concerning Military Courts.—Notwithstanding any
other provision of law, no funds authorized to be appropriated for
assistance to a foreign country may be used to support the military
detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children in violation
of international humanitarian law or to support the use against children of
any of the following practices:

“(1) Torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.

“(2) Physical violence, including restraint in stress positions.

“(3) Hooding, sensory deprivation, death threats, or other forms of
psychological abuse.

“(4) Incommunicado detention or solitary confinement.

“(5) Administrative detention, including when a detainee is held
indefinitely, without charge or trial, by the order of a military commander
or other government official.

“(6) Arbitrary detention.

“(7) Denial of access to parents or legal counsel during interrogations.

“(8) Confessions obtained by force or coercion.”.


(a) Funding.—There is authorized to be appropriated not less than
$19,000,000 each fiscal year to the Secretary of State to be made available
to nongovernmental organizations from the United States, Israel, or the
Occupied Palestinian Territory for the following purposes:


(A) IN GENERAL.—Nongovernment organizations with human rights experience are
eligible to receive funding under this subsection. Such funding shall be
used to monitor, assess, and document incidents of Palestinian children
subjected to Israeli military detention, including interviews with victims,
family members of victims, relevant community members, health care
providers, legal advocates, civil society monitors, and Israeli military

(B) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY.—All information and documentation gathered pursuant
to subparagraph (A), including affidavits, interviews, photographs, video,
and other relevant material, shall be made publicly available via the
internet and in annual reports subject to the determination that published
information shall not put victims or sources at risk or in danger resulting
from persecution, retaliation, or retribution.

(C) LIMITATION.—Funding under this paragraph may not exceed 50 percent of
total funds authorized to be appropriated under this subsection.


(A) IN GENERAL.—Nongovernmental organizations with experience in providing
physical, psychological, and emotional treatment for victims of abuse,
trauma, or torture described in subparagraph (B) are eligible to receive
funding under this subsection. Such funding shall be provided to a
collaboration of United States, Israeli, and Palestinian treatment providers
determined by the Secretary of State to be best suited to meet the
rehabilitation needs of victims. No member of any nongovernmental
organization providing treatment under this paragraph may be employed or act
as an agent or behalf of an intelligence agency of the United States,
Israel, or the Palestinian Authority.

(B) ELIGIBILITY.—Victims described in this subparagraph are any Palestinian
age 21 or younger providing documentation of military detention as a child
having occurred since January 1, 2009.

(C) REPORTING.—As a condition on the receipt of funding under this
subsection, nongovernmental organizations shall issue an annual public
report of activities, including findings and a clinical assessment of the
physical and psychological effects of military detention on children,
adolescents, and adults who experience trauma as children, and
recommendations to the international community regarding best practices for
treating child victims of military detention.

(b) Program Name.—Amounts made available pursuant to subsection (a) shall be
referred to as the “Human Rights Monitoring and Treatment for Palestinian
Child Victims of Israeli Military Detention Fund”.

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