Take Action: Tell Congress to pass H.R. 2590

The resolution would prohibit Israeli use of US aid for certain actions against Palestinians that violate international humanitarian law.

Israel’s new government is in place and its Prime Minister, Neftali Bennett, visited President Biden in the White House late last month, attempting to reset Israeli-U.S. relations. Bennett has voiced his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state and his support for settlement expansion in the West Bank, both of which are in contradiction of international laws and conventions, and conflict with Biden’s own approach. Even so, Biden asserted the “unshakable” nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and pledged that the “U.S. will always be there for Israel.” As Bennett and Biden seek to establish an amicable rapport, a just and lasting solution for Palestinians and Israelis seems as distant as ever, with neither leader seemingly intent on engaging the core issues.

Meanwhile, with the federal fiscal year coming to a close at the end of this month and next year’s federal budget due, it is an opportune time to consider allocations to advance foreign policy priorities. President Biden has made clear that human rights, equality, and democracy are, for him, guiding principles in U.S. foreign policy, and he has demonstrated some willingness to do so, holding up arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over their involvement in the Yemen civil war. It is time to hold Israel accountable to human rights standards and adopt H.R. 2590 that addresses Israeli violations as well.

In May, Rep Betty McCollum introduced H.R. 2590, the “Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation.” Many of our churches and agencies have offered support of this resolution, which would prohibit Israeli use of U.S. aid to detain, abuse, or ill-treat Palestinian children in Israeli detention; to seize or destroy Palestinian homes and property; and to annex Palestinian land and territory, all of which violate international humanitarian law. To date, the resolution has 29 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

This fall, children in the Northern Hemisphere started a new school year. In the first week of school in Bethlehem, four Palestinian youth were arrested in a night raid, and Israel has withheld information about those detentions from their families - in violation of Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel and the U.S. are both signatories. Already in September, Israel has demolished at least three Palestinian homes and properties in Silwan and in the Bethlehem area. And PM Bennett’s intention to continue settlement expansion is a form of de facto annexation of Palestinian land that Israel has undertaken for decades.

Israel must be held accountable and the U.S. has the leverage to do so, given the Administration’s stated commitment to human rights, existing U.S. foreign assistance laws, and the aid that the U.S. sends to Israel. Urge your representative to support H. R. 2590 to prevent using your taxes to support violations of international human rights law.