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Dear Justice Advocates,

Imagine one night long after midnight, when your whole family is sleeping, a team of armed men storm into your home and drag away your child blindfolded and handcuffed. These men are acting with the authority of the government. They will not tell you where your child is being taken and will not allow any family members to go with him. You don't when or if you will see him again.

Now imagine you ARE that child, being interrogated for many hours without sleep by angry men who insult you, beat you, threaten to do worse things to your family - which you know they can - even threaten to rape you, if you do not confess to whatever they are accusing you of.

No adult is there to protect your rights or witness what is happening to you.

If you are taken to court, it is a military court where you have few rights and you do not understand what is happening. There is a good chance you have confessed already to make the abuse stop. So you probably will serve time in prison - a prison for adults - for an act you did not commit or for a minor infraction.

Someday you are released. Now you are a traumatized young soul, always fearful of what is coming next, not knowing when and where an unprovoked attack will arise and a new nightmare will begin. And that is how you live your childhood.

This is the experience of far too many Palestinian children and their families.
Every year, 500 to 700 Palestinian children are arrested, detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system. There are scores of documented cases of these children being abused while in custody. Even the nature of their arrests is very often abusive and in violation of international law.
Learn more from Defense for Children International »
TELL CONGRESS Israel must protect the rights of all children under its authority, Palestinian and Israeli. Ask your legislators to sign the McCollum Letter to John Kerry. CLICK HERE»
Recently, many of you took action, asking your Members of Congress to attend a briefing about the treatment of Palestinian children in detention. (See a report on the briefing below.)
Now it is time to take another step for the children of Palestine.

Representative Betty McCollum has written a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, citing the disturbing facts in the 2013 UNICEF report: "Children In Israeli Military Detention."  She asks the State Department to "elevate the human rights of Palestinian children to a priority status" in our relationship with Israel.

See Representative McCollum's Letter to Secretary John Kerry and her invitation to fellow Congress members »

It is very important that this letter have as many Congressional signatures as possible. THE DEADLINE FOR SIGNING IS JUNE 12TH.

Please take a moment to contact your legislators:
Please FORWARD this message to others.
Use the links below to share it widely, sign up for our alerts, and more.

Thank you for taking action!
The U.S. Policy Committee, United Methodist Kairos Response
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Report on the Congressional Briefing:
Children in Israeli Military Detention
Thanks to the outreach of people like you, over 30 Congressional offices were represented at a June 2, 2015 briefing on the issue of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention

There they heard testimony from Tariq Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian-American teenager, who provided a first-hand account of his own arrest and detention when visiting Palestine.  You can see the entire briefing here:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

The June 2nd briefing was part of the three-day advocacy effort in Washington DC by the No Way to Treat a Child campaign. It included an Interfaith Vigil on Capitol Hill on June 1st, supported by many faith-based and other organizations.  
See pictures from the vigil here
Read more about it here.

For more information:
“Time to end Israel’s impunity,” Suha Abukhdeir, CNN, updated June 2, 2015.
“Children in Israeli Military Detention,” UNICEF, February 2015.
“Minors in Detention,”  B’Tselem.
“Military Detention,” Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP).
“No Way to Treat a Child.”
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United Methodist Kairos Response is an international peace movement in the
United Methodist Church responding to the urgent call* from Palestinian Christians for effective action to end the Israeli occupation and support a just peacein the Holy Land. 
*See "Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth

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