ReThinking Foreign Policy is proud to announce its support of Betty McCollum’s historic legislation, the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act.
The legislation, which is endorsed by more than 70 organizations and is co-sponsored by 13 other members of the House, “prohibits Israel from using U.S. taxpayer dollars in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem for: the military detention, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention; to support the seizure and destruction of Palestinian property and homes in violation of international humanitarian law; or, to extend any assistance or support for Israel’s unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory in violation of international humanitarian law.”
This legislation is important, even though U.S. law actually, under the Foreign Assistance and Arms Export Control Acts, should make it unnecessary. The support McCollum’s bill is seeing is unprecedented. Groups as diverse as the Adalah Justice Project, al-Haq, Americans for Peace Now, and even J Street are supporting it. Jewish groups like IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace Action are among the supporters as are the Movement for Black Lives, Arab American Institute, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
AOC, Jamaal Bowman, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Ayanna Pressley and Bobby Rush are among the co-sponsors.
McCollum has long been at the forefront in Congress championing Palestinian rights, but this bill is a particularly bold step. “U.S. assistance intended for Israel’s security must never be used to violate the human rights of Palestinian children, demolish the homes of Palestinian families, or to permanently annex Palestinian lands,” McCollum said. “Peace can only be achieved by respecting human rights, especially the rights of children, and this includes the U.S. taking responsibility for how taxpayer-funded aid is used by recipient countries, Israel included. Congress must stop ignoring the unjust and blatantly cruel mistreatment of Palestinian children and families living under Israeli military occupation.”
The support is already incredible, and the more it grows the more impact the bill will have. Just getting a bill as bold as this one to the House floor for a vote would be an enormous step toward opening the debate on U.S. policy toward Israel-Palestine that has been silenced and stifled for so many years, to the detriment of all.