FROM THE AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE:
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For the past three years, AFSC has partnered with Defense for Children International-Palestine on a campaign to challenge Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing the widespread and systematic ill treatment of Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces.
You can be part of our efforts. Through our work, we have found the following messages to be effective in talking with members of Congress about Palestinian children in Israeli military detention. We encourage you to use them to communicate with your elected officials—whether in person, phone calls, emails, or letters.
1. Children are the future. They also are the present.
2. Two sets of laws exist: one for Palestinians, another for Israelis. Even on the same land.
3. Abuse in the military court system is widespread, systematic, and well documented. Military courts are not about providing justice.
4. The U.S. government is not a neutral player on this issue, but could make a positive difference.
AFSC staff, volunteers, and others visit Congressional offices to raise awareness about Palestinian children in detention.
In recent years, members of Congress have publicly stated their concern for the rights of Palestinian children:
In 2015, 19 members of Congress signed a letter to then Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to prioritize the rights of Palestinian children in the U.S. government’s bilateral relationship with Israel.
One year later, 20 members of Congress called on President Obama to appoint a special envoy for Palestinian children.
In January 2017, over 11,000 people signed a petition to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, requesting the U.S. government to prioritize human rights and hold Israel accountable for its systematic ill treatment of Palestinian child detainees.
U.S. military assistance to Israel has helped to sustain the military occupation and undermined the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians—and that must change. In September 2016, the U.S. agreed to give Israel $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade (fiscal years 2019-2028), the largest such aid package in U.S. history.