To the Honorable David
US House of Representatives
4th district, N Carolina
Thank you for the opportunity to meet with
you in your Chapel Hill-Durham office February 22, 2018 to discuss the
plight of Palestinian children detained under the Israeli military
system and DACA recipients here in the U.S.
We also thank you for the interventions you led with congressional
colleagues to object to
the Trump administration’s
destructive foreign policy actions that have setback Israeli and
Palestinian prospects for a fairly mediated, negotiated resolution to
the conflict and the need to continue financial aid to Palestinian
Although you said you would not be co
sponsoring HR 4391 Protecting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military
Detention of Palestinian Children Act, we urge you to reconsider. We
understand your approach is to get concerned colleagues in congress to
contact the US Department of State to work with Israeli counterparts to
end these practices.
In July, 2015 you and Representatives Jan
Schakowsky, John Yarmuth and Steve Cohen wrote to then Secretary of
state John Kerry asking for assurance that “Palestinian children would
not suffer mistreatment while in custody.“ The reason we reiterate our
concern now is because the practices of abuse and abrogation of basic
legal protections that cause Palestinian children to suffer in the
Israeli military detention continue to be a systemic problem.
Israeli human rights organizations attest to this.*
The current administration has
underfunded Dept of State crippling them from engaging in diplomatic
work they did under the previous administration. The Trump
administration has thus far made matters worse between Israel and
Palestine leadership. Thus, what can we expect from the current
administration? Furthermore, we doubt that Israeli counterparts are any
more likely to cooperate under Mr. Netanyahu’s government given
expansion of their military occupation/colonization policies.
HR 4391 offers guidelines to
assist US State Dept in needed points of discussion with Israel because
it outlines specific practices that must be addressed, changed
and includes reporting requirements from Dept of State.
would prevent US tax dollars to support Israeli military detention,
interrogation or ill treatment of Palestinian children in violation of
international humanitarian laws:
torture,or engage in or degrading
treatment; use physical violence
or psychological abuse; keep
children incommunicato or receive administrative detention;
use solitary confinement;
deny parental or legal counsel during
interrogations; force or use coercion to obtain a confession, including
in another language.
HR 4391 calls
for specific responsibilities of Department of State to annually submit
(1) certification that no funds expended in the previous fiscal year to
Israel were used to support any of these activities or
(2) if State Department cannot make such certification, a report
describing each activity and the amount of funds used by Israel in
violation of this bill.
As US tax payers and human
rights advocates we do not support systematic trauma inflicted on
hundreds of Palestinian youth in the Israeli military detention system.
and Israeli human rights organizations* have
monitored and documented evidence of human rights abuses suffered by
Palestinian children under the Israeli military detention system. ( estimates:
10,000 since 2000 )
Data from Israeli military courts obtained by Israeli daily
Ha’aretz (2011) reveal that 99.7% of
military court proceedings end in convictions!! Neighboring
Israeli settlers’ children are afforded access to full legal counsel and
protections in civilian Israeli courts, not military courts.
Two different legal systems
in the same territory on the sole basis of one’s nationality is
discriminatory and not in American interests to ignore, minimize or
support this policy of our ally, Israel.
policy of Israeli military Detention of Palestinian children has created
a dangerous, ugly and unjust political reality in the occupied
territories – a reality in which two populations live on the same land,
under different legal systems, separate and entirely unequal, with the
governing authority serving one population at the expense of the other.
“One population (Israeli settlers) is comprised of
privileged Israeli citizens, enjoying the benefits of a prosperous,
powerful state, with their rights guaranteed by a democratic government
accountable to their votes. The other population is comprised of
disenfranchised Palestinians, living under foreign military occupation
explicitly designed to protect and promote the interests not of
Palestinian residents of the territories, but of Israeli settlers”
(Foundation for Middle East Peace fmep/org)
HR 4391 has broad national support:
Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International USA, Arab American
Institute, Center for Constitutional Rights, Church
Churches for Middle East Peace, Defense for Children International -
Palestine, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Global Ministries
of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of
Christ, Jewish Voice for Peace, Mennonite Central Committee,
Presbyterian Church (USA), the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights,
United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR), and United Methodist
General Board of Church and Society.
As well as local
support (Coalition for Peace with Justice, AIME, Triangle JVP, OCPC and
area church communities)
We want to thank you
for your ongoing support of Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
recipients and encourage you to continuing working vigorously for
legislation that will protect these young people. We join you in
deploring how their fate has been linked to other legislation that would
spend billions of unnecessary funds for extending the border wall,
undercut family reunification, and prevent immigration from
underrepresented nations. We hope that an acceptable compromise can be
found that will prevent deportation of these Dreamers while preserving
as much as possible of our current immigration policies.
We appreciate that
you listened to our concerns.
Thank you for your
service to the people of N Carolina as well as your leadership in the
Congress on numerous issues both domestic and global.
the Orange County Peace Coalition
The Orange County Peace Coalition is composed of members from a
number of human rights and peace groups/organizations in Orange County. The
mission of the Peace Coalition of Orange County is to act as a forum for
groups concerned with Peace, Justice, and Environmental issues.
It serves to facilitate exchange of information, coordination of
activities, sharing of resources, and coming together to work on
projects as deemed appropriate by each of the interested groups.
* https://www.btselem.org/statistics/minors_( see
“unprotected: detention of Palestinian
teens in East Jerusalem) a Joint
report by HaMoked and B'Tselem, Summary, October 2017
it comes to Palestinian minors from ( Occupied )East Jerusalem, the
safeguards set out in the Youth Law are routinely rendered hollow and
meaningless by police officers, prison guards and judges.” many examples