US congresswoman Betty McCollum receives award for Palestinian children advocacy
A Palestinian American rights and advocacy group awarded US Congresswoman Betty McCollum on Tuesday with an award for her work advocating for Palestinian human rights.
Speaking at the Virtual Palestine Advocacy day hosted by American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), McCollum thanked the organisation for awarding her the "Champion of Palestinian Rights Award" and for its help in advocating for her legislation regarding the detention of Palestinian children.
"I want to thank you for giving me the honour to stand next to you, to improve the lives and the future of the Palestinian people," McCollum said in her remarks.
"Thank you for the award that you have given me today. I accept it on behalf of all those who stand up to support human rights for children."
AMP has hosted its annual Palestine Advocacy Day since 2015, where it trains students, community members, and activists on civic engagement for Palestinian issues.
McCollum, who has challenged the pro-Israel group AIPAC amid attempts to silence her, put forward a bill shedding light on Israel's imprisonment of Palestinian children, and says the imprisonment of those children "lacks basic and fundamental guarantees of due process".
The bill, introduced last year, has been sitting in the House Foreign Affairs Committee and has picked up 24 co-sponsors.
If passed, the legislation would prohibit American tax dollars from being used by the Israeli military to detain, interrogate, abuse or torture Palestinian children.
The congresswoman introduced a similar measure in 2017, but it failed to advance in the House.
As US President Donald Trump on Tuesday hosted the signing ceremonies of normalisation agreements between Israel and Bahrain and the UAE, McCollum stressed that the Palestinians should decide their future.
"Repression, economic stagnation, apartheid is a system that the Palestinian people endure every day, as a struggle under Israeli military occupation," McCollum said on Tuesday.
"An oppression that is sadly supported by US taxpayers' dollars, our dollars.
"And I believe that Palestinian people deserve dignity, respect, justice and freedom and a future in which their fate is decided by the Palestinians themselves."