Ahed Tamimi just spent her 17th birthday in Israeli military
detention. Ahed was arrested by Israeli soldiers at her home in December, taken into
custody and charged with several offenses including some relating to her allegedly
assaulting an armed Israeli soldier who entered her family’s property on Dec.
15. Like other Palestinian children arrested by Israeli
forces in the West Bank, Ahed is subject to Israeli military law under which,
as human-rights groups have documented, they routinely are mistreated.
For context on the
Tamimi family’s resistance to the Israeli occupation of their land, the Israeli
military’s responses, and how Ahed’s experience illustrates that of many
Palestinian youth, see the article by Ahed’s cousin, Nour Tamimi, in The Washington Post.
Ahed has become the
public face of youth who have been subjected to persistent and troubling
practices by Israeli forces with regard to arresting, incarcerating and trying
Palestinian children in Israeli military courts.
The U.N. special rapporteur
on the situation of human rights in the
Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, Michael Link, said, “Sadly, this is not an isolated case.” He explained, “Figures from Palestine
show that Israel detains and prosecutes between 500 to 700 Palestinian children
in military courts annually.”
He went on to say, “We
have received reports that these children are commonly mistreated while in
detention, subjected to both physical and psychological abuse, deprived of
access to lawyers or family members during interrogation, and tried under a
military court system in which there are significant concerns regarding
independence and impartiality and which has a worryingly high conviction rate.”
Human rights groups, including B’Tselem and
Defense for Children
International Palestine, have documented the abuse and rights
violations to which Palestinian children are subjected in the Israeli military
On Nov. 14, Rep.
Betty McCollum, D-Minn., introduced a bill to prevent U.S. tax
dollars from paying for human rights violations against Palestinian children in
Israeli military detention.
The Promoting Human
Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act (H.R. 4391) would require the secretary
of state to certify annually that no funds obligated or expended in the
previous year by the United States for assistance to Israel have been used to
support prohibited practices under international law. If the secretary cannot
make this certification, a detailed report would be required outlining the
amount of money spent in violation of the legislation and how it was spent.
As a minimum
safeguard, while Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation
continue to be arrested and prosecuted within the Israeli military courts,
Israeli authorities must respect and ensure basic due-process rights and the
absolute prohibition against torture and mistreatment. From the moment of
arrest, operations and procedures must be carried out in accordance with
international juvenile justice standards, specifically the U.N. Convention on
the Rights of the Child.
Stand up for Palestinian
children’s human rights. Ask your
representative to support H.R. 4391.
Click here to find out if your
representative is already a co-sponsor, and if so, send a note of thanks! If not, ask them to add their name as a
co-sponsor of H.R 4391.
For more information, see the No Way to Treat a Child campaign.
If you respond and have not already registered, you will receive periodic updates and communications from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]