For the past several years, Congresswoman Betty McCollum has tried to spark a dispute in the United States over the billions of dollars Washington sends to Israel each year.
The Minnesota Democrat wants to know more about where the money is going, and to ensure that Israel does not use US military aid to carry out atrocities in Palestine.
Last month, McCollum wrote a recent statement, aimed at ensuring that US aid is not used to mistreat Palestinian children, destroy Palestinian property, expel Palestinians from the West Bank, or Israel’s attempt to advance Palestine. .
The bill is supported by more than a dozen members of Congress, as well as a number of Palestinian organizations, human rights and Jewish organizations, including J Street – and has angered Israeli supporters, who claim to be supportive of many ($ 3.8bn per year) is essential to protect the US counterpart in the Middle East.
Although they may not have enough votes to pass, Palestinian listeners will say the request is opening up important conversations round up US aid to Israel and violating Israeli rights against Palestinians.
McCollum’s efforts have also sparked interest this week as Israeli officials threatening to evict several Palestinian families from the illegal settlements of East Jerusalem by Sheikh Jarrah to make way for the Jewish settlers.
Police violence against Palestinians in #SheikhJarrah those who just want to live in the houses they have lived in for all their generations are a government-sponsored torture. NO US tax dollars are supposed to support the occupation of Palestinian territories or the destruction of Palestinian homes. # HR2590
– Representative. Betty McCollum (@ BettyMcCollum04) May 6, 2021
“Police brutality against Palestinians in #SheikhJarrah who simply want to live in houses they have lived in for generations is a government-sponsored torture,” McCollum sent a statement on May 6. of Palestinian homes. ”
Talk to Al Jazeera by email in front of the recent violence in Jerusalem, McCollum explained his bill and what he hopes to achieve.
Al Jazeera: Why is the bill important?
Betty McCollum: Millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are in dire straits at the hands of Israeli soldiers who violate their human rights. U.S. military aid to Israel supports this work. My finances are blocking US money to support or violate human rights.
Not $ 1 of US taxpayers should be used to violate the rights of Palestinian people living in Israeli hands.
Al Jazeera: The move has attracted the attention of Congress and other Israeli-Palestinian groups working in the US. Why do you think the idea of establishing US aid in Israel is so simple?
McCollum: In Congress, Israel is seen as a special democracy that shares our values, as well as the main security goals of the two countries. But the arrest of Israeli troops for Palestinian children, the demolition of Palestinian homes, and the occupation of two Palestinian states is not a US-supported issue and do not reflect our views.
The extermination of the Palestinian people has been so effective that 75% of Congress wants no restrictions on US military action in Israel, supporting the suppression of Palestinian policies.
Al Jazeera: Have you seen any change among US lawmakers when it comes to supporting Washington unlimitedly in Israel? If so, how would you describe the change of heart?
McCollum: There is a large group of courageous friends who search for the truth and speak the truth. They are willing to stand for Palestinian rights because they recognize Palestinians as free people and deserve respect. Many in Congress feel that it is better to destroy the Palestinians and to support Israeli views on systemic persecution. There is also a group that is not comfortable with what Israel has done, but does not want to criticize what has happened.
Changes cannot occur once or twice. It will come at a time when the American people will no longer allow our tax money to be used to support the oppression of the Palestinian people – and the pressure on the electorate is necessary to change.
Al Jazeera: More than 300 Congressmen recently signed a letter calling for help from Israel to be unlimited. “Reducing spending or adding security measures could be detrimental to Israel’s ability to protect itself from emergencies,” it reads. What is your answer to this?
McCollum: By refusing to enact explicit laws to support U.S. troops in Israel, Congress is giving Israel the light to persecute the rights of Palestinian children, demolish Palestinian homes, and take over Palestine.
Congress recognizes the abuses and violations of human rights by Israel against the Palestinian people, and the letter says: ‘We do not care, and we will continue to look the other way!’
Al Jazeera: What do you believe your bill is in Congress?
McCollum: The purpose of my bill is to recognize the humanity of the Palestinian people and to condemn their oppression. At a time in US history where racism and xenophobia are being exposed and rejected, why is our government helping to oppress and persecute the Palestinian people?
It is my hope that government agencies, religious groups, and human rights activists will urge Congress to suspend US support for the occupation of Israeli troops and the brutality of Palestinian people.