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Justice For All Condemns the Use of Palestinian Children as Human Shields by Israeli Occupation Forces

Justice For All vehemently condemns the abhorrent practice of Israeli occupational soldiers using Palestinian children as human shields. As reported by Defense For Children International-Palestine, the foremost organization advocating for the rights of Palestinian children, Israeli forces have already resorted to using Palestinian children, including two toddlers, as human shields in at least five documented incidents in 2023.

This heinous crime against Palestinian children has been repeatedly perpetrated in the past and continues unabated in 2023. It represents a flagrant violation of human rights, undermining the principles of dignity, protection, and safety that every child deserves. We stand firmly in solidarity with the Palestinian people, urging swift and decisive action to rectify this grave injustice.

The use of human shields is a gross violation of international humanitarian law, including, but not limited to:

Article 51(7) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions explicitly prohibits the use of civilians, including children, as shields during armed conflicts.

Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”

Article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child upholds the rights of every child to life, survival, and protection from all forms of violence, including their use as human shields.

Such actions by Israeli occupational soldiers not only endanger the lives and well-being of innocent Palestinian children but also perpetuate a cycle of violence and trauma that hinders the prospects for just and lasting peace in the region.

Justice For All calls upon the international community, human rights organizations, and governments to:

Strongly condemn the use of Palestinian children as human shields and demand that Israeli occupational soldiers immediately cease this practice. Urge for a thorough and impartial investigation into these incidents, holding the Israeli government accountable for their actions.

Support efforts to raise awareness about the plight of Palestinian children and advocate for their protection and welfare, ensuring they have access to their fundamental rights, including education, healthcare, and a safe environment.

Pressure the Israeli government to comply with international law and human rights standards, respecting the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of their nationality or background.

Justice For All also urges US congressmen to take note of these disturbing reports and introduce legislation or measures that explicitly condemn the use of human shields and provide support for the protection and rights of Palestinian children in the occupied territories.

We believe that all children deserve to grow up in an environment where their safety and well-being are prioritized and where they are shielded from the horrors of war and conflict. We stand united in our commitment to upholding human rights, advocating for justice, and working toward a future where all children can thrive in peace and security.

Statement on H.R. 3103 – Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act

Justice For All expresses deep appreciation for the introduction of the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, also known as H.R. 3103, by U.S. Representative Betty McCollum on May 5, 2023. This landmark legislation represents a pivotal step towards advancing justice, equality, and human rights for Palestinian children and families affected by the Israeli military occupation. The bill’s provisions, which prohibit the allocation of U.S. taxpayer funds to support human rights abuses in the occupied West Bank, demonstrate a firm commitment to upholding fundamental principles of fairness and accountability.

The bill also proposes the annual submission of Compliance and non-Compliance certificates for the provisions by the U.S. Secretary of State. This certification process adds a crucial layer of accountability and ensures that U.S. taxpayer funds are not used in support of actions that infringe upon Palestinian rights. By mandating transparency in the expenditure of U.S. foreign aid by Israel, the bill seeks to bring Israel’s spending in line with the same reporting requirements expected of other recipient countries.

By addressing critical issues such as the military detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children, the confiscation and demolition of Palestinian property, and the violation of international humanitarian law through unilateral annexation, this legislation seeks to hold Israeli authorities accountable for their actions. We commend Congresswoman McCollum for her unwavering dedication to safeguarding the rights of Palestinian children and families and for her persistent efforts to ensure that U.S. funds do not contribute to human rights violations. The inclusion of annual certification and reporting obligations for the Secretary of State, along with the requirement for oversight reporting on the Israeli government’s human rights violations, are crucial measures that promote transparency and accountability.

As an organization devoted to justice and human rights, Justice For All believes that this bill sets a significant precedent in advocating for the rights of Palestinian children and families living under Israeli military occupation. It sends a powerful message that U.S. taxpayer funds should never support actions that infringe upon the basic human rights of any individual, irrespective of nationality or ethnicity. Justice For All stands in solidarity with those impacted by the Israeli military occupation and remains steadfast in our commitment to advocating for the rights and well-being of all individuals, regardless of their background. We will continue to support endeavors that advance justice, equality, and human rights, and we hope that Canadian policymakers will join us in this critical endeavor.

Support H.R. 3103
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