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Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib, Pressley, Jayapal co-sponsor historic Palestinian children’s human rights bill

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A number of lawmakers have come out in support of legislation that seeks to end Israel’s military detention practices against Palestinian children, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar.

H.R.2407 – the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, was introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) in April. The legislation would amend a provision in the Foreign Assistance Act to block funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel. In a statement regarding the legislation Rep. McCollum wrote, “Israel’s system of military juvenile detention is state-sponsored child abuse designed to intimidate and terrorize Palestinian children and their families. It must be condemned, but it is equally outrageous that U.S. tax dollars in the form of military aid to Israel are permitted to sustain what is clearly a gross human rights violation against children.”

U.S. Representative Betty McCollum at Russell Senate Office Building on June 25, 2014 in Washington, DC.

The bill is being cosponsored by a number of Representatives including California’s Barbara Lee, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, Massachusetts’ Ayanna Presley, Washington’s Pramila Jayapal. After Omar said she believed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would back the bill on Twitter, the New York Congresswoman indicated that she is excited to also support it. She is now also a cosponsor.

McCollum has been advocating on this issue for years. In 2015, she sent a letter to former Secretary of State John Kerry asking the Obama administration to prioritize the human rights of Palestinian children, which was signed by 18 of her colleagues In 2016, she sent a letter to former President Barack Obama asking him to appoint a Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth, which was signed by 19 of her colleagues. In 2017 she introduced H.R. 4391, an earlier version of the current bill that featured 30 cosponsors. Many of the bill’s original supporters have signed on again and some of that version’s more notable backers are no longer in Congress. However, at the time this piece was published the new bill still didn’t have public support from Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), or Rep. (and presidential candidate) Seth Moulton (D-MA), all of whom cosponsored the bill two years ago. H.R. 4391 died at the end of that congressional session, thus requiring its reintroduction.

Last October at the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights conference, McCollum referred to Israel state practices as “apartheid.”

H.R. 2407 is supported by a number of organizations including Amnesty International USA, the Arab American Institute, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. Defense for Children International-Palestine, American Friends Service Committee, and Jewish Voice for Peace is organizing a letter from Jewish leaders in support of the legislation, which has already been signed by such figures as Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, and Eve Ensler.

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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24 Responses

  1. LiberatePalestine on June 13, 2019, 4:40 pm

    Yet another empty proposal. The only practical way «to block funding for the military detention of children» is to cut off all funding. I’d fully endorse a proposal to halt all funding from Uncle Sugar to the Zionist entity, but I suspect that McCollum would not.

  2. Kay24 on June 13, 2019, 5:56 pm

    Sadly, once again those in Congress will show they prefer little children to be in Israel’s dungeons, being abused, and without legal representation. This is inhumane and cruel, but they will rubber-stamp it, after all it is Israel, the nation they will make asses of themselves for.

    • Abe Bird on June 15, 2019, 2:16 am

      When Gaza and Ramallah ‘will operate by Israeli law, Israel will act in accordance with American law. Until then, let the professional whiners continue to riot and groan in the US Congress and let American soldiers in the Middle East kill civilians free.

  3. JWalters on June 13, 2019, 8:32 pm

    When five white American teenagers get shot one afternoon, the American Congress and press talk about it non-stop for several days. When a thousand Palestinian teenagers and children get shot and brutalized, Congress and the press have approximately nothing to say. America’s Congress and press have truly sold their souls.

    My deep thanks to Betty McCollum and the other Representatives for not giving up on rescuing the Palestinian children, and America.

  4. Marnie on June 14, 2019, 2:24 am

    Betty McCollum was the trailblazer. Hopefully with the additions of Rashida, Ilhan, Ayanna and Alexandria this blaze will be continuous.

  5. Citizen on June 14, 2019, 6:22 am

    “My deep thanks to Betty McCollum and the other Representatives for not giving up on rescuing the Palestinian children, and America.”

    Ditto.

  6. Misterioso on June 14, 2019, 9:51 am

    Heads up for those living in or near Washington, DC!!

    http://act.ips-dc.org/site/Calendar/31027575?id=101421&view=RSVP

    “Institute for Policy Studies: Book Release: Noura Erakat’s ‘Justice for Some’ – ‘Law and the question of Palestine,’ June 20/19, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Busboys and Poets, 450 K Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20001.

    “Join IPS on World Refugee Day to celebrate the newly published book of our very own board member Noura Erakat. author of ‘Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine.’ Noura is also a human rights attorney and assistant professor at George Mason University. She has served as legal counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives and as a legal advocate for Palestinian refugee rights at the United Nations.

    “Noura’s research interests include human rights and humanitarian, refugee, and national security law. She is a frequent commentator, with recent appearances on CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NPR, among others, and her writings have been widely published in the national media and academic journals.

    “Justice in the Question of Palestine is often framed as a question of law. Yet none of the Israel-Palestinian conflict’s most vexing challenges have been resolved by judicial intervention. Occupation law has failed to stem Israel’s settlement enterprise. Laws of war have permitted killing and destruction during Israel’s military offensives in the Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accord’s two-state solution is now dead letter. Justice for Some offers a new approach to understanding the Palestinian struggle for freedom, told through the power and control of international law.

    “Following a reception with refreshments, Khury Petersen-Smith, the Michael Ratner Middle East Fellow at IPS and a co-author and organizer of the 2015 Black Solidarity with Palestine statement, will lead a deep digging discussion with Noura to concluded with a question and answer session and book signing. In these intense times of Trump administration bellicose threats against self-determination in Latin America, support for human rights atrocities of Israel, and more, few can illuminate an understanding of the intersections like Noura Erakat.

    “There will also be a poem by Rasha Abdulhadi, executive director of Split This Rock and queer Palestinian poet and organizer. WPFW 89.3 FM is the media sponsor for this event. Also co-sponsored with: Institute for Palestine Studies.

    “The reservation limit per user is 3 guests.”

    • LiberatePalestine on June 14, 2019, 11:52 am

      → Justice in the Question of Palestine is often framed as a question of law. Yet none of the Israel-Palestinian conflict’s most vexing challenges have been resolved by judicial intervention. … Justice for Some offers a new approach to understanding the Palestinian struggle for freedom, told through the power and control of international law.

      International law is of limited use. There is no court that can resolve «by judicial intervention» the issues arising from the criminal Zionist occupation of Palestine. (The Zionist entity’s own courts could in principle apply international law against the Zionist entity, but no authority could force it to respect their decisions.) It is well known that the Zionist entity has spurned numerous UN resolutions over the past 71 years and has even flagrantly disregarded the conditions attached to its own admission to the UN (which implies that any state would be justified in calling for the Zionist entity’s expulsion from the UN).

      International law sounds nice but is really a lie, for the most part. The powerful states do as they please, international law be damned. And certainly the Zionist entity, backed as it is by the US and many other imperialist states, counts as a powerful state for this purpose.

      By all means attend that talk if you wish. I recommend that you ask how much «power and control» international law can offer when there’s neither an adjudicating body (in other words, a court before which to haul the Zionist entity) nor an authority with the power to enforce any norms of international law. Ask what can be achieved concretely for Palestine through international law.

      • Citizen on June 14, 2019, 2:50 pm

        So, Goering at Nurenberg was right about those trials, and Israel agrees with him de facto.

      • mondonut on June 14, 2019, 5:20 pm

        @LiberatePalestine, …disregarded the conditions attached to its own admission to the UN

        Israel was admitted to the UN with exactly the process and with exactly the same obligations as every other nation admitted – namely to unreservedly accept the obligations of the United Nations Charter.

        No more and no less.

      • LiberatePalestine on June 14, 2019, 9:07 pm

        No, the Zionist entity was not admitted to the UN under the same terms as the other states. General Assembly Resolution 273 of 11 May 1949, by which the Zionist entity was admitted to the UN, invokes «the declarations and explanations made by the representative of the Government of Israel 5/ before the ad hoc Political Committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions». Those «declarations and explanations» pertain to the implementation of resolutions respecting such matters as Palestinian territory and the rights of Palestinians, including the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to Palestine. The Zionist entity would not have been admitted without committing itself to implement those resolutions. And it has failed to honour its commitments.

      • Jon66 on June 14, 2019, 10:02 pm

        Lib,
        “Those «declarations and explanations» pertain to the implementation of resolutions respecting such matters as Palestinian territory and the rights of Palestinians, including the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to Palestine. ”
        Yes, but they did not commit to enforcing those resolutions. If you read the declarations and explanations they explicitly do NOT agree to implement them. You are incorrect.

        From the discussion immediately prior to the admission of Israel, “Referring to the jurisprudence of the United Nations relating to the admission of new Members, the representative of Israel stated that it was his Government’s understanding that nothing but the provisions of Article 4 were relevant in the consideration of an application for membership. That conviction, based on the spirit and the language of the Charter, had been confirmed by the General Assembly resolution of 8 December 1948 (197 (III)), which stated that juridically no State was entitled to make its consent to the admission of an applicant dependent on conditions not expressly provided by paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the Charter.”
        https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/1db943e43c280a26052565fa004d8174?OpenDocument

      • LiberatePalestine on June 15, 2019, 1:57 am

        Don’t play games. The Zionist entity declared that «no policies on any question which were inconsistent with … the resolutions of the Assembly and the Security Council». That was a brazen lie, just like the millions of other lies by the Lyin’-est entity.

        More specifically, the Zionist entity’s representative Abba Eban spoke to each point in General Assembly Resolution 273, and, yes, did make explicit representations as to the implementation thereof.

        The Zionist entity never should have been established and never should have been admitted to the UN. I would fully endorse any effort to have it expelled.

      • Jon66 on June 15, 2019, 12:07 pm

        Lib,
        Any source for your statements?
        Of course not.
        Your just making things up
        My quotes/sources are from the U.N. discussions on 273.

      • mondonut on June 15, 2019, 2:09 pm

        @LiberatePalestine, Those «declarations and explanations» pertain to the implementation of resolutions

        No, those declarations and explanations pertain to Israel stating there are no pre-conditions:

        “Referring to the jurisprudence of the United Nations relating to the admission of new Members, the representative of Israel stated that it was his Government’s understanding that nothing but the provisions of Article 4 were relevant…”

        https://web.archive.org/web/20120203124136/http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/85255a0a0010ae82852555340060479d/1db943e43c280a26052565fa004d8174?OpenDocument#Mr.%20EBAN%20(Israel)%20understood%20tha

      • LiberatePalestine on June 15, 2019, 10:22 pm

        You want sources? Start with the following:

        https://unispal.un.org/pdfs/AAC24SR50.pdf

        The Zionist entity’s «understanding» is not the final word on the subject. At that same series of meetings at Lake Success, New York, that «understanding» was in fact criticised as «a very narrow one which did not correspond to that of the International Court of Justice» (at 329). Furthermore, «in accordance with the opinion of the International Court of Justice, Israel’s conduct with regard to the decisions of the Assembly must be considered as a political factor which should be taken into account in deciding the question of its admission to the United Nations» (ibid).

        I cannot immediately find on-line copies of the minutes from all of the meetings on the Zionist entity’s last application for admission to the UN; I don’t know why parts of those minutes are missing from the UN’s Web site. But see this, for instance, at 274–76:

        https://unispal.un.org/pdfs/AAC24SR47.pdf

        For instance, after having previously hemmed and hawed on the question of the Palestinian refugees, Eban said this:

        «I can give an unqualified affirmative answer to the second question as to whether we shall co-operate with the organs of the United Nations with all the means at our disposal in the fulfilment of the part of the resolution concerning refugees.»

      • Jon66 on June 16, 2019, 10:04 am

        Lib,

        Israel was VERY clear before the vote in stating the conditions they were willing to agree with before the vote. The UN admitted Israel AFTER this.

        And then the rest of that quote,
        “I cannot honestly conceal from the Committee fhat even our full co-operation with all the means at our disposal will not avail to solve this question unless it is considered against the general back- ground of the Near East and unless similar co- operation from other neighbouring Govemments and a large measure of international assistance are invested in the solution of this problem on a regional basis.”
        In short, we will cooperate, but the solution to this is regional and will not be solved by us alone.

        Once again, please provide a straightforward quote in which the admission of Israel to the UN is conditional.

      • LiberatePalestine on June 16, 2019, 11:50 am

        I’ve wasted too much time on you. At least to any reasonably intelligent person who is literate in English, «an unqualified affirmative answer» is clear, and the bit that you quoted does not gainsay the commitment expressed in that answer.

        If, as you falsely allege, the Zionist entity had made no commitments, its application for membership in the UN would have been rejected yet again. Even many of the states that stupidly voted in favour of that application expressed their dissatisfaction with the Zionist entity’s statements on various issues.

        Furthermore, by joining the UN, the Zionist entity assumed obligations, whether it acknowledges them or not.

        And, as usual, the Zionist entity did not honour its commitment to «co-operate with the organs of the United Nations with all the means at our disposal in the fulfilment of the part of the resolution concerning refugees».

        Again, I’ve wasted too much time on your foolish Zionist games.

      • mondonut on June 16, 2019, 12:35 pm

        @LiberatePalestine

        – The Zionist entity’s «understanding» is not the final word on the subject.
        – If, as you falsely allege, the Zionist entity had made no commitments, its application for membership in the UN would have been rejected yet again.
        – Furthermore, by joining the UN, the Zionist entity assumed obligations, whether it acknowledges them or not.

        Actually Israel’s understanding is exactly the final word, after all the claim is that Israel agreed to pre-conditions, so in the absence of Israel’s understanding there are no pre-conditions.

        And in the absence of commitments, Israel’s application would not have been rejected yet again. The proof of this is the actual history of the event, no commitments and yet their membership was accepted. The Arab states just needed the cover of a vague pre-amble.

        And again, the obligations Israel assumed when joining the UN were exactly the same as every other state that joined the UN. No more and no less.

      • Jon66 on June 16, 2019, 2:47 pm

        Lib,
        You could have just said, “Sorry I made it all up” and that would have saved you all of that time not providing an answer.

  7. oldgeezer on June 14, 2019, 8:26 pm

    Yet Israel has been in violation of the UN Charter for almost of all of the time it has existed.

    At the very least it inteferes in the internal affairs of other nations and it also refuses to respect UNSC decisions. I know it’s not the only one. The US (some others) violates the non interference as well.

    I don’t doubt there are other UN Charter articles they are in clear violation of.

    Name one state in violation of as many UNSC decisions as Israel has? Name one UNSC decision it ever abided by for that matter.

    • Kay24 on June 15, 2019, 6:35 am

      To your point, here is an old video of Netanyahu in 2002 pushing hard for the US to attack Iraq and Iran, stating he definitely wants “regime change”, you can see how totally wrong he was in his predictions that it would be easy to “win” in Iraq, after winning in Afghanistan. How easily he speaks about these wars, where today anyone can see these US led wars have resulted in these countries in total disarray, and in a huge mess. How many civilians have been massacred, injured, and are now refugees? Millions. For zionists like Netanyahu, deciding to attack a helpless nation, and topple their leaders, is so easy, so is the lying to convince America to fight their wars.
      It has been 16 years since he lied to congress, and today he still does. Congress still continues to believe him, and support him, despite being lied to.

      https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4529120/netanyahus-expert-testimony-iraq-2002

    • mondonut on June 15, 2019, 2:14 pm

      @oldgeezer, Name one UNSC decision it ever abided by for that matter.

      United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701

      • oldgeezer on June 16, 2019, 11:03 pm

        @mondonut

        Poor choice. not even close.There are many hundreds of violations of that resolution. Thousands technically.

        Now I will grant you that Lebanon/Hezbollah hasn’t upheld their end either but that doesn’t excuse Israel’s rogue behaviour and violations of international law. Sad when you think about it. Israel is no more trustworthy than an organization that they feel are terrorists. Sad but at the same time that is exactly what Israel is. A rogue terrorist state and a danger to both the region and the world.

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