Briefing on Palestinian children

On June 25, the No Way to Treat a Child campaign, which Mennonite Central Committee U.S. and Canada have endorsed, organized a congressional briefing on the situation for Palestinian children.

As is often the case in wars and social unrest, the most vulnerable group often suffers the most; and Palestinian children face extremely harsh circumstances which leads to a fading hope for the future.

Palestinians in the West Bank are subject to Israeli military law, which includes a widespread military detention system that targets Palestinian children. Since 2000, as many as 10,000 Palestinian children from the occupied West Bank have been detained by Israeli forces and held in military detention centers.

Even though Israel has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which commits signatories to ensuring freedom from violence, abuse and neglect, human rights organizations report that nearly 3 out of 4 Palestinian children experience some form of violence after arrest. Verbal abuse, threats, physical and psychological violence are commonly experienced by Palestinian child detainees.

As a nation who prides itself on its human rights advancements, should the U.S. be giving financial assistance to Israel that is used to mistreat Palestinian children? A bill introduced last year, H.R. 4391, seeks to ensure that U.S. taxpayer funds are not used to support these human rights violations by Israeli forces on Palestinian children. Encourage your representative to support the bill today.

Xin-Dee Low is an international affairs intern in the MCC U.S. Washington Office this summer and a student at Messiah College.

Photo cropped
Jennifer Bing of the American Friends Service Committee speaks at the congressional briefing on June 25. MCC photo/Xin-Dee Low.

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