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Support H.R. 3103
According to the Congressional Research Service, Israel stands as the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign aid, with the United States providing a staggering $150 billion in non-inflation-adjusted bilateral assistance until February 2022. The commitment made in 1999 through a Memorandum of Understanding further solidified the US government’s obligation to provide Israel with a minimum of $2.67 billion in military aid annually for ten years. Subsequently, in 2009, the annual amount was increased to $3 billion, and in 2019, it was raised again to a minimum of $3.8 billion annually.
These facts highlight the immense financial commitment and responsibility we bear towards Israel. However, with this commitment comes the duty to ensure that US taxpayer funds are not contributing to human rights violations or perpetuating the Israeli occupation. The alarming reports of detention, mistreatment, and abuse of Palestinian children raise serious concerns that demand immediate attention and action.
The detention of Palestinian children remains a pressing issue that must be addressed. Every year, hundreds of Palestinian children, some as young as 12 years old, endure arrests, interrogations, and prosecutions within the Israeli military court system. These practices violate international law and deprive children of their fundamental rights, including access to legal representation, protection from physical violence, and fair trial procedures.
In the past, the US Congress has introduced several legislations to defend the rights of Palestinian children and families. In 2017, H.R. 4391, the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, became the first-ever bill in Congress focused on Palestinian human rights and garnered support from 31 members of Congress. In 2019, H.R. 2407, the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, aimed to prevent US taxpayer funds from supporting the ill-treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention and received support from 25 members of Congress. In 2020, H.R. 8050, the Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act, sought to restrict federal recognition of Israeli sovereignty over any part of the occupied West Bank in violation of international law and was cosponsored by eleven members of Congress. Lastly, in 2021, H.R. 2590, the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, focused on the rights of Palestinian children and the Israeli military detention and court system, gaining support from 33 members of Congress.
Lastly, H.R. 3103, the Defense of Palestinian Children Act, introduced in the 2023, focuses on promoting and protecting the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation and ensuring that US taxpayer funds are not used to support the military detention of Palestinian children and other violations of international law
H.R. 3103 is the latest and fifth piece of legislation regarding the rights of Palestinian children and families. Supporting Bill H.R. 3103 is a critical step toward accountability and justice. The bill requires the Secretary of State to annually certify to Congress that foreign aid to Israel does not contribute to human rights abuses. Additionally, it mandates the Government Accountability Office to submit a report on the expenditure of U.S. taxpayer funds by Israel, ensuring transparency and accountability in the usage of foreign aid.
By supporting this bill, we can actively advocate for justice and accountability, ensuring that U.S. taxpayer funds do not perpetuate human rights violations. Bill H.R. 3103 sets a powerful precedent by demanding equal treatment and respect for the rights of Palestinian children. It promotes transparency in the expenditure of foreign aid and contributes to the long-term goal of fostering a just and lasting peace in the region.
As a nation committed to upholding human rights and accountability, we cannot turn a blind eye to these violations. We must exercise caution and ensure that our military assistance does not contribute to the detention of Palestinian children or the perpetuation of the occupation. It is crucial to scrutinize the usage of these funds and demand transparency and accountability from Israel.
Let us redirect our efforts toward supporting a future where Palestinian children can grow up in a world free from violence and oppression. Together, we can work towards a just and lasting peace that reflects our values and respects the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.
Support H.R. 3103
- Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, H.R. 4391, 115th Cong. (2017), https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/4391/text.
- Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, H.R. 2407, 116th Cong. (2019), https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2407/text.
- Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act, H.R. 8050, 116th Cong. (2020), https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/8050/text.
- Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, H.R. 2590, 117th Cong. (2021). https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/2590
- “US Foreign Aid to Israel.” Federation of American Scientists, Congressional Research Service Report, updated March, 2023. https://sgp.fas.org/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf
- Defense of Palestinian Children Act, H.R. 3103, 118th Cong. (2023), https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/3103/text.