FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. - May 2, 2019
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Strongly Endorses Rep. Betty McCollum’s “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living under Israeli Occupation Act”
On Wednesday, Rep. Betty McCollum introduced H.R. 2407, “The Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living under Israeli Occupation Act.” Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) strongly endorses this legislation as a proactive step toward safeguarding the lives of vulnerable children caught in the middle of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
H.R. 2407 offers protection not only to Palestinian children, but to children worldwide, by amending the Leahy Law to prohibit any US foreign aid dollars from contributing to “the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children in violation of international humanitarian law.” It also authorizes the appropriation of $19 million annually to fund NGOs that monitor human rights in Israel/Palestine and to fund organizations that provide physical and mental health support to Palestinian children who have been subject to military detention, abuse, or torture.
“Israel’s system of military juvenile detention is state-sponsored child abuse designed to intimidate and terrorize Palestinian children and their families,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “It must be condemned, but it is equally outrageous that US tax dollars in the form of military aid to Israel are permitted to sustain what is clearly a gross human rights violation against children.”
Kyle Cristofalo, CMEP’s Director of Advocacy and Government Relations, said “Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is grateful to Rep. Betty McCollum for her ongoing commitment to the rights of Palestinian children. We wholeheartedly support her legislation. For there to be any hope for a just and lasting end to the conflict in Israel/Palestine, all children, including Palestinians, must live without fear of military detention. Congress has a responsibility to ensure US policy reflects values that prioritize concern for the most vulnerable. We call on Rep. McCollum’s congressional colleagues to cosponsor this critical legislation.”
Rep. McCollum introduced a similar version of this bill in the 115th Congress, the “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act,” which was cosponsored by 30 of her colleagues.
Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is a coalition of 29 national church communions and organizations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical traditions that works to encourage US policies that actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. CMEP works to mobilize US Christians to embrace a holistic perspective and to be advocates of equality, human rights, security, and justice for Israelis, Palestinians, and all people of the Middle East.