The Fight for Palestinian Lives
This year PVS students had the opportunity to advocate for Palestinian lives. Alhamdulilah, we got the chance to speak to two senators, Marsha Blackburn and Steve Cohen. Beginning in early 2019, the advocacy group had first introduced H.R.2407 which is the idea of promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act. This bill prohibits the use of certain foreign assistance funds to support the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children in violation of international humanitarian law. The bill also prohibits such U.S. aid from being used to support certain practices against children, including torture, sensory deprivation, solitary confinement, and arbitrary detention. During both meetings, students gave strong points and personal stories demonstrating why they feel deeply about this subject and why the laws and bills should be passed protecting Palestinian lives. For example, one of the main points mentioned to both the Senator and the Representative was iron dome funding. Senior Naisha Chowdhury said, “I know that Cohen voted yes to approve the additional billion in funding for the iron dome. I just wanted to discuss further why I think Cohen should reconsider. Israel already receives $3.8 billion in US taxpayer-funded weapons each year. Israel is a wealthy country. Funding the Iron Dome skews the military balance further in Israel’s direction and emboldens Israel to conduct offensive operations. By providing effective cover for only one side, while Palestinians in Gaza have no similar system to protect themselves against US missiles in Israel’s possession, US funding for Iron Dome further implicates the United States in the Israeli human rights abuses and war crimes committed against the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip.” All of the efforts from this group will lead to future progress.
Inshallah, we hope to make a bigger difference and gain more support to have a greater effect as a whole. These are the first steps to something much bigger. As a Palestinian, I am so excited to finally be able to contribute to something that helps people back home, and so many other students agree.