FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC (August 24)—Several organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of supporters, applauded today Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) for raising concerns with the State Department about the cases of Nadeem Nawarah, 17, and Mohammad Abu Daher, 16, two Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces on May 15, 2014 during a protest in the occupied West Bank.
Closed circuit security cameras fixed on the building near where the boys were shot captured both shootings. The video, obtained and released by Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), depicts both boys collapsing to the ground after being shot, and their lifeless bodies being carried away off camera by other protesters. Forensic analysis of the video footage showed that neither boy posed any lethal or imminent threat to Israeli forces at the time they were killed.
McCollum’s letter reads in part: “As these killings exemplify, Israel’s treatment of Palestinian youth in the Occupied West Bank is unacceptable and must not be tolerated by the U.S. or the international community. Systemic human rights abuses are well documented, including the physical and psychological abuse of Palestinian children held in military detention. The murders of Nadeem Nawara and Mohammad Daher only highlight a brutal system of occupation that devalues and dehumanizes Palestinian children. It is time for a strong and unequivocal statement of U.S. commitment to the human rights for Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation.”
McCollum also called on the State Department to investigate whether these killings constitute violations of the “Leahy Law.” If so, the “38th Company of the Israeli Border Police should be ineligible to receive future U.S. military aid and training and all border police involved in this incident should be denied U.S. visas as stipulated by the law.”
Brad Parker, Defense for Children International Palestine, (518) 744-9071 firstname.lastname@example.org
Brad Parker, International Advocacy Officer & Attorney for Defense for Children International Palestine stated: “Without accountability, Palestinian children like Nadeem and Mohammad will continue to experience systematic and widespread human rights violations as a result of Israel's prolonged military occupation of Palestinians. The status quo of systemic impunity is not sustainable. Rep. McCollum's letter and leadership is a strong challenge to the impunity enjoyed by Israeli forces, and we hope it will lead to increased pressure from US lawmakers to ensure that Israeli authorities hold perpetrators accountable."
Josh Ruebner, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, (202)332-0994, email@example.com
“Too often, Israel’s grave human rights abuses of Palestinians children living under military occupation go unnoticed or are dismissed by our elected officials, despite the fact that US taxpayers foot the bill for Israel’s military occupation to the tune of more than $3 billion each year. We trust that Rep. McCollum’s strong letter to the State Department will at least ensure that Israel is held accountable by the United States for the killings of Nadeem Nawarah and Mohammad Abu Daher,” stated Josh Ruebner, Policy Director for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Kate Gould, Friends Committee on National Legislation, (202)903-2516, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Gould, the lead Middle East policy advocate at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, said: “Increasingly, lawmakers are hearing from Americans that they don’t want their taxes to fund police violence at home or abroad. This incriminating video is a harrowing reminder of the dangers for children and youth living under military occupation. We applaud Congresswoman McCollum’s leadership in prioritizing the human rights of all children.”
Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace
Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, noted her hope that “Representative McCollum’s leadership in demanding justice for Nadeem Nawarah and Mohammad Abu Daher is a sign that US political leaders are becoming more willing to confront the endemic nature of Israeli impunity when it comes to treatment of Palestinians and focus on ending Israel’s brutal occupation with increased urgency.”
Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International USA, (202)675-8755, email@example.com
Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International USA’s Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, stated: “The Israeli forces’ unlawful killings of these two Palestinian boys demonstrates the brutality Palestinian civilians face under Israeli military occupation. The Obama Administration should stop supplying arms to Israel and back a UN arms embargo on all parties to the conflict. It is time for the U.S. government to end its opposition to a possible investigation of the situation by the International Criminal Court."
Kristin Szremski, American Muslims for Palestine, (202)796-8417, firstname.lastname@example.org
"As an occupier, Israel is obligated under international law to protect Palestinians. As a recipient of US foreign military assistance, Israel is obligated under American law to uphold human rights," said Osama Abuirshaid, American Muslims for Palestine policy director. "We thank Rep. McCollum for taking on this important issue and we ask the State Department to heed her call for an investigation into Leahy Law violations and to raise the protection of Palestinian children to priority status in our relationship with Israel."
An annual U.S. State Department human rights report released on June 25 included the killings of Nawarah and Abu Daher. The annual country reports on human rights practices include a specific section covering the situation of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). It raised a number of issues related to Israel’s ill-treatment of Palestinian child prisoners and denial of fair trial rights in Israeli military courts, and grave violations against Palestinian children, including the killing and maiming of Palestinian children and attacks on schools in Gaza by Israeli forces.