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Congresswoman Betty McCollum from Minnesota has introduced a bill (H.R.2590) "to promote and protect the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation and to ensure that United States taxpayer funds are not used by the Government of Israel to support the military detention of Palestinian children, the unlawful seizure, appropriation, and destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the West Bank, or further annexation of Palestinian land in violation of international law."

It's terrific for Congress Members and special envoys to speak out against brutal ethnic cleansing by the rightwing Israeli government. But ceasing to fund the killing would carry more weight. If the U.S. State Department had a secret "off" switch for all U.S.-manufactured weapons, there would be very few places on earth it would ever have to send anyone to plead for peace. In the absence of such a fantasy solution, we have the commonsensical steps taken in H.R.2590.

This bill would prohibit 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;
  • the seizure and destruction of Palestinian property and homes in violation of international humanitarian law; or,
  • Israel’s unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory in violation of international humanitarian law.

Click here to quickly ask your Representative to cosponsor this bill, and to ask your Senators to introduce and pass the same legislation.

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If H.R.2590 becomes law, here are things the Israeli government will be forbidden to do to children with U.S. dollars: torture, physical violence, restraint in stress positions, hooding, sensory deprivation, death threats, solitary confinement, imprisonment without charge or trial, denial of access to parents or legal counsel, the use of force to coerce confessions.

The Israeli government imprisons around 700 Palestinian children a year, with the support of U.S. tax dollars, which flow in at a rate of nearly $4 billion a year. Armed soldiers barge into homes in the middle of the night, taking children away from their parents. Israel subjects children to torture and abuse, deprives them of food and water, and denies them their right to an attorney. U.S. tax dollars should not fund this immoral and illegal activity! (See documentation in background links at bottom.)
 
Israel routinely destroys Palestinian homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, leaving thousands of Palestinians homeless. Israel has demolished more than 48,000 Palestinian structures since 1967, 24,000 of which are estimated to be homes. These numbers have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, Israel demolished or seized 851 Palestinian structures, displacing over 1,000 Palestinians, including over 524 children. Families are often given just minutes to gather their belongings before bulldozers destroy their homes. In some cases, Palestinians are forced to even pay for the demolition of their own homes. (See documentation in background links at bottom.)

This week the residents of an apartment building in Gaza were given one hour to get out before it was destroyed with a missile.

A poll of 53 countries released last week found 44% of people see the U.S. government as a threat to democracy, while 38% see the Chinese government, and 28% see the Russian government as threat to democracy. A likely factor in the U.S. lead in this polling is its endless support for an apartheid state that gives basic rights to only one kind of people. If President Biden is serious about "winning the 21st century" on behalf of "democracy," it is in his immediate interest to change this shameful policy. 
 
Most of the world's oppressive governments receive funding for their militaries from the U.S. government, but Israel's receives the most. If you think putting some basic limits on what can be done with that money is the very least the U.S. Congress could do, click here to send an email. We've drafted it for you but encourage you to edit and add your own words!

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-- The RootsAction.org Team

Background:
>> H.R.2590
>> Defense for Children International - Palestine
>> Friends of Sabeel North America: A Christian Voice for Palestine: "Support Rep. McCollum’s Bill H.R. 2590 to Protect Palestinians"
>> HaMoked Center for the Defence of the Individual: "Under Cover of Darkness: Night Arrests of Palestinian Minors by Israeli Security Forces in the West Bank"
>> Human Rights Watch: "Abusive Israeli Policies Constitute Crimes of Apartheid, Persecution"
>> The Guardian: "U.S. Seen as Bigger Threat to Democracy than Russia or China, Global Poll Finds"
>> World BEYOND War: "Mapping U.S. Military 'Aid' Received"

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