Withhold U.S. aid over Palestinian teens’ deaths, U.S. lawmaker suggests
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Withhold U.S. aid over Palestinian teens’ deaths, U.S. lawmaker suggests

(JTA) — A Minnesota congresswoman called on State Department officials to investigate whether the killing of two Palestinian teenagers by Israeli soldiers requires the withholding of U.S. military aid.

Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat, in a letter made public Monday sought the probe over whether the May 2014 deaths of Nadeem Nawara and Mohammad Daher constituted violations of the Leahy Law, which bars the State and Defense departments from providing military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity.

If so, she wrote, 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.”

The teens were killed hours apart in the same location during a demonstration in the West Bank town of Beitunia for the Nakba, Arabic for catastrophe, marking Israel’s successful bid for statehood.

In December, an Israel Border Police officer was indicted on manslaughter charges for the killing of Nawara.

McCollum asked that a State Department official be present at the trial of the officer “to ensure appropriate standards of justice are achieved.”

McCollum said her letter, which was dated Aug. 18, was sparked by a visit to her office by Naddem Nawara’s father, Siam, who asked for her assistance in finding justice for the death of his son.

“The murders of Nadeem Nawara and Mohammad Daher only highlight a brutal system of occupation that devalues and dehumanizes Palestinian children,” McCollum wrote. “It is time for a strong and unequivocal statement of U.S. commitment to the human rights for Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation.”