Text: H.R.4391 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (11/14/2017)

[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 4391 Introduced in House (IH)]


  1st Session
                                H. R. 4391

 To require the Secretary of State to certify that United States funds 
    do not support military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-
       treatment of Palestinian children, and for other purposes.



                           November 14, 2017

 Ms. McCollum (for herself, Mr. Pocan, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Conyers, Mr. 
   Blumenauer, Ms. Pingree, Mr. DeFazio, Mr. Carson of Indiana, Mr. 
Gutierrez, and Mr. Danny K. Davis of Illinois) introduced the following 
      bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


                                 A BILL

 To require the Secretary of State to certify that United States funds 
    do not support military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-
       treatment of Palestinian children, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Promoting Human Rights by Ending 
Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act''.


    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Israel ratified the Convention on the Rights of the 
        Child on October 3, 1991, which states--
                    (A) in article 37(a), that ``no child shall be 
                subject to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading 
                treatment or punishment'';
                    (B) in article 37(b), that the arrest, detention or 
                imprisonment of a child ``shall be used only as a 
                measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate 
                period of time'';
                    (C) in article 37(c), that ``every child deprived 
                of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect 
                for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a 
                manner which takes into account the needs of persons of 
                his or her age''; and
                    (D) in article 37(d), that ``[e]very child deprived 
                of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt 
                access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as 
                well as the right to challenge the legality of the 
                deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or 
                other competent, independent and impartial authority, 
                and to a prompt decision on any such action''.
            (2) In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, there are two 
        separate legal systems, with Israeli military law imposed on 
        Palestinians and Israeli civilian law applied to Israeli 
            (3) The Israeli military detains around 500 to 700 
        Palestinian children between the ages of 12 and 17 each year 
        and prosecutes them before a military court system that lacks 
        basic and fundamental guarantees of due process in violation of 
        international standards.
            (4) Approximately 2,700,000 Palestinians live in the West 
        Bank, of which around 47 percent are children under the age of 
        18, who live under military occupation, the constant fear of 
        arrest, detention, and violence by the Israeli military, and 
        the threat of recruitment by armed groups.
            (5) Since 2000, an estimated 10,000 Palestinian children 
        have been detained by Israeli security forces in the West Bank 
        and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system.
            (6) Children under the age of 12 cannot be prosecuted in 
        Israeli military courts. However, Israeli military forces 
        detain children under the age of 12 and question them, for 
        several hours, before releasing them to their families or to 
        Palestinian authorities.
            (7) Human Rights Watch documented, in a July 2015 report 
        titled ``Israel: Security Forces Abuse Palestinian Children'', 
        that such detentions also included the use of chokeholds, 
        beatings, and coercive interrogation on children between the 
        ages of 11 and 15 years.
            (8) The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) concluded, 
        in a February 2013 report titled ``Children in Israeli Military 
        Detention'', 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, from the moment of arrest until the child's 
        prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing''.
            (9) The 2013 UNICEF report further determines that the 
        Israeli system of military detention of Palestinian children 
        profoundly deviates from international norms, stating that ``in 
        no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile 
        military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing 
        the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights''.
            (10) UNICEF also released reports in October 2013 and 
        February 2015 noting that Israeli authorities have, since March 
        2013, issued new military orders and taken steps to reinforce 
        existing military and police standard operating procedures 
        relating to the detention of Palestinian children. However, the 
        reports still found continued and persistent evidence of ill-
        treatment of Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces.
            (11) In 2013, the annual Country Report on Human Rights 
        Practices for Israel and the Occupied Territories (``Annual 
        Report'') published by the Department of State noted that 
        Israeli security services continued to abuse, and in some cases 
        torture minors, frequently arrested on suspicion of stone-
        throwing, in order to coerce confessions. The torture tactics 
        used included threats, intimidation, long-term handcuffing, 
        beatings, and solitary confinement.
            (12) The 2013 Annual Report also stated that ``signed 
        confessions by Palestinian minors, written in Hebrew, a 
        language most could not read, continued to be used as evidence 
        against them in Israeli military courts''.
            (13) The 2016 Annual Report noted a ``significant increase 
        in detentions of minors'' in 2016, and that ``Israeli 
        authorities continued to use confessions signed by Palestinian 
        minors, written in Hebrew.'' It also highlighted the renewed 
        use of ``administrative detention'' against Palestinians, 
        including children, a practice in which a detainee may be held 
        indefinitely, without charge or trial, by the order of a 
        military commander or other government official.
            (14) The nongovernmental organization Defense for Children 
        International Palestine collected affidavits from 429 West Bank 
        children who were detained between 2012 and 2015, and concluded 
                    (A) three-quarters of the children endured physical 
                violence following arrest;
                    (B) under Israeli military law, children do not 
                have the right to a lawyer during interrogation;
                    (C) 97 percent of the children did not have a 
                parent present during their interrogation;
                    (D) 84 percent of the children were not properly 
                informed of their rights by Israeli police;
                    (E) interrogators used stress positions, threats of 
                violence, and isolation to coerce confessions from 
                detained children; and
                    (F) 66 children were held in pre-trial, pre-charge 
                isolation for interrogation purposes for an average 
                period of 13 days.
            (15) Amendments to Israeli military law concerning the 
        detention of Palestinian children have had little to no impact 
        on the treatment of children during the first 24 to 48 hours 
        after an arrest, when the majority of their ill-treatment 
            (16) In 2002, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of 
        the Child, which monitors implementation of the Convention on 
        the Rights of the Child, reviewed Israel's compliance with the 
        Convention and expressed serious concern regarding 
        ``allegations and complaints of inhuman or degrading practices 
        and of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian children'' 
        during arrest, interrogation, and detention.
            (17) In 2013, the Committee declared that Palestinian 
        children arrested by Israeli forces ``continue to be 
        systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to 
        acts of torture'' and that Israel had ``fully disregarded'' the 
        previous recommendations of the Committee to comply with 
        international law.


    The purpose of this Act is to promote and protect the human rights 
of Palestinian children and to ensure that United States taxpayer funds 
shall not be used to support the military detention of Palestinian 


    It is the sense of Congress that the detention and prosecution of 
Palestinian children in a military court system by the Government of 
            (1) violates international law and internationally 
        recognized standards of human rights;
            (2) is contrary to the values of the American people and 
        the efforts of the United States to support equality, human 
        rights, and dignity for both Palestinians and Israelis;
            (3) undermines efforts by the United States to achieve a 
        just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians; and
            (4) should be terminated and replaced with a juvenile 
        justice system in which Israeli authorities do not discriminate 
        between the treatment of Israeli and Palestinian children and 
        that adheres to internationally recognized standards of human 
        rights and obligations.


    It is the policy of the United States not to support the military 
detention of Palestinian children, a practice that results in 
widespread and systematic human rights violations against Palestinian 
child detainees and is inconsistent with the values of the United 


    (a) Prohibition.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none 
of the funds authorized to be appropriated for assistance to Israel may 
be used to support the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or 
ill-treatment of Palestinian children in violation of international 
humanitarian law or to support the use against Palestinian children of 
any of the following practices:
            (1) Torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.
            (2) Physical violence, including restraint in stress 
            (3) Hooding, sensory deprivation, death threats, or other 
        forms of psychological abuse.
            (4) Incommunicado detention or solitary confinement.
            (5) Administrative detention, as described in section 
            (6) Denial of access to parents or legal counsel during 
            (7) Confessions obtained by force or coercion.
    (b) Certification.--Not later than October 15, 2018, and annually 
thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committee on 
Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
Appropriations of the Senate--
            (1) a certification that none of the funds obligated or 
        expended in the previous fiscal year for assistance to the 
        Government of Israel have been used by such Government to 
        support personnel, training, lethal materials, equipment, 
        facilities, logistics, transportation or any other activity 
        that supports or is associated with any of the activities 
        prohibited under subsection (a); or
            (2) if the Secretary cannot make such a certification, a 
        report describing in detail the amount of such funds used by 
        the Government of Israel in violation of subsection (a) and 
        each activity supported by such funds.
    (c) Additional Matter in Existing Reports.--The Secretary of State 
shall include, in each report required under section 116 of the Foreign 
Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151n), a description of the nature 
and extent of detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of 
Palestinian children by Israeli military forces or police in violation 
of international humanitarian law.

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