We’ve all seen the pictures of wailing toddlers separated at the United States-Mexico border. We’ve read accounts of teenagers from south of the border warehoused in makeshift prisons. Less well known is the plight of children in detention in Israel. UNICEF reported in 2013 that the “ill treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process.” A recent report found that in 2018, 54 Palestinian children were killed and 900 were detained, forcibly separated from their parents.
Families and children on our southern border and families and children in Palestine share similarities. In America the movement of people is to flee great hardship in their native land, while in Palestine the movement of people is to reclaim native land from occupation. In the U.S., children are asked to sign documents in English, which is not their native language, while in Israel, children are asked to sign documents in Hebrew, which is not their native language. The Alliance Community for Justice in Palestine and Israel calls on Alliance members and congregations to learn about the plight of children in Palestine-Israel and the plight of children at the U.S.-Mexico border. We ask the U.S. Senate to join with 194 other nations in ratifying the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Both the State of Israel and the U.S. government must guarantee basic due process rights and absolutely prohibit the separation of detained children from their parents and legal counselors. We encourage the Alliance to continue to work in partnership with ecumenical, interfaith and other non-governmental partners advocating for the rights of children and providing support for children and their families affected by the occupation in Israel and by the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
We also urge Alliance members and Alliance churches to advocate for federal legislation that will ensure that U.S. foreign assistance funds do not support military detention, interrogation, abuse, ill-treatment or separation of children in Palestine from their families and that U.S. domestic funds do not support detention, interrogation, abuse, ill-treatment or separation of children at the U.S.-Mexico border from their families.
View their proposed statement, being voted on at the upcoming Alliance Annual Gathering, here.