US faith leaders welcome legislation to stop taxpayer funding abuse of Palestinian children


image - Christian Peacemaker Teams

image - Christian Peacemaker Teams

Faith leaders of many denominations in the USA have written a joint letter protesting about the detention and torture of Palestinian children by the Israeli military and welcome proposed legislation that will prohibit "any US taxpayer funds from contributing to the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children by any country, including Israel."

The full letter text follows:

Dear Members of Congress,

As faith leaders who deeply care about the well-being of children in our country and in communities abroad, we write to bring to light the ongoing trauma faced by Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military.

We welcome the "Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act" (HR 2407), legislation that prohibits any U.S. taxpayer funds from contributing to the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children by any country, including Israel.

As documented by numerous human rights organizations, since the year 2000 an estimated 10,000 Palestinian children between the ages of 12 and 17 have been detained, prosecuted and incarcerated by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank. Often dragged from their homes in the middle of the night by armed soldiers, they suffer physical and emotional violence and frequently face verbal abuse, humiliation and intimidation.

These children are interrogated, usually without family or lawyers present, and often sign confessions in Hebrew, a language many do not understand. Our faith commitments call us to pay particular attention to the rights of those most vulnerable, including children. Wherever children are languishing in detention camps whether in our U.S. context or in Israeli military prisons, we pray that leaders do their utmost to protect the humanity and dignity of all and prevent the violation of children's rights.

We applaud that H.R. 2407 also gives attention to healing Palestinian children who have suffered from the physical and mental trauma of detention. H.R. 2407 authorizes the appropriation of $19 million to fund non-governmental organizations that monitor human rights in Israel/Palestine and provide physical and mental health services.

We believe in the importance of healing communities and victims of abuse so that one day Palestinians and Israelis will be able to live in peace and security. Congress has a responsibility to ensure that US policy and foreign assistance reflects values that prioritize concern for the most vulnerable, preserve and protect everyone's dignity, and conform with US law. We thank you for your service and commitment as we work together for justice and peace.

Please know we are lifting you up in our prayers.

Sincerely,

Joyce Ajlouny General Secretary American Friends Service Committee
Rev Eddy Alemán General Secretary Reformed Church in America
Rev Julia Brown Karimu President, Division of Overseas Ministries, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Co-Executive, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Ron Byler Executive Director Mennonite Central Committee US
Rev Dr Mae Elise Cannon Executive Director Churches for Middle East Peace
Rev Paula Clayton Dempsey Director of Partnership Relations Alliance of Baptists
Carole Collins Director of Operations and Finance Alliance of Baptists
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church
Rev Dr John Dorhauer General Minister and President United Church of Christ
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton Presiding Bishop Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rev Dr Susan Frederick-Gray President Unitarian Universalist Association
Susan Gunn Director Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Rev Dr Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary General Board of Church and Society The United Methodist Church
Rev Teresa Hord Owens General Minister and President Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada
Rev. Dr. Nathan Hosler Director Office of Peacebuilding and Policy Church of the Brethren
The Most Reverend Metropolitan JOSEPH Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Eli McCarthy Director of Justice and Peace Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Rev John L McCullough President and CEO Church World Service
Rev Dr J Herbert Nelson Stated Clerk of the General Assembly Presbyterian Church (USA)
Diane Randall Executive Secretary Friends Committee on National Legislation
Rev Dr Karen Georgia Thompson Associate General Minister, Wider Church Ministries and Operations, United Church of Christ Co-Executive, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Dr Steven Timmermans Executive Director Christian Reformed Church in North America
Rev Dr Al Tizon Affiliate Associate Professor of Missional and Global Leadership North Park Theological Seminary
Nikki Toyama-Szeto Executive Director Evangelicals for Social Action/The Sider Center
Jim Winkler President and General Secretary National Council of Churches
Johnny Zokovitch Executive Director Pax Christi USA


Tags: Holy Land, Israel, Palestine, US Faith Leaders, H.R. 2407, Children in Prison

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