The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the USA has approved actions in advocacy towards Palestinian children and against military detention.
1. Affirm the support of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as expressed by the 202nd General Assembly (1990), and for the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as expressed by the 211st General Assembly (2014).
2. Calls, once again, upon the United States Senate to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and directs the Stated Clerk to communicate this call to all members of the United States Senate, the president, and the vice president.
3. Directs the Presbyterian Mission Agency, through the Office of Public Witness, to advocate and witness for the human rights of the children of Palestine and Israel until there is an amendment in the practices of the state of Israel so that they are in compliance with international humanitarian laws, specifically the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In particular, mobilize Presbyterians everywhere to communicate with their senators, congresspersons, and the president of the United States their concern for the safety and well-being of the children of Palestine who suffer widespread and systematic patterns of ill treatment and torture within the Israeli military detention system, including but not limited to
• the use of physical violence (beatings, blindfolding, position abuse are examples) and psychological pressure (solitary confinement, threats of sexual assault and rape, verbal abuse, strip searching, threats, denial of food, water, and access to a toilet) to compel children and youth to give testimony, confess guilt, or to provide otherwise incriminating statements against their family, friends, and communities;
• denial of due process guarantees, including denial of the right to prompt access to legal counsel and other appropriate assistance, particularly the presence of a parent or family member during interrogation;
• psychosocial effects and obstacles to reintegration when released from the Israeli military prisons, loss of educational opportunities while in detentions, and access to education following their release from custodial detention;
• the discriminatory legal framework in force in the Occupied Palestinian Territory involving separate laws governing children based on religion or ethnicity (no Israeli child comes into contact with the military court system); and
• violent, late-night raids and arrests by heavily armed soldiers who invade their homes while they and their family members are asleep.
4. Call on the government of Israel to change its military detention system to
• stop night arrests;
• stop blindfolds and restraints;
• stop separation from parents and legal counsel;
• stop physical abuse and verbal threats; and
• stop isolation and coerced confessions.
5. Call on the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and the government of Israel to denounce and cease the incitement of violence against children or at the hands of children.