June 25, 2018 at 12:30 pm (light lunch served)
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2044
45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20515
James Zogby, President, Arab American Institute
Bill Van Esveld, Senior Researcher, MENA, Children's Rights Division, Human Rights Watch
Farah Bayadsi, Attorney, Defense for Children International - Palestine
Jehad Abusalim, Policy Consultant, American Friends Service Committee
Diala Shamas, Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights
Jennifer Bing, Palestine Israel Program Director, American Friends Service Committee, and co-leader of No Way to Treat a Child campaign
Children under 18 years old account for nearly 46 percent of the 4.95 million Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. This generation of Palestinian children have lived under Israeli military occupation where systemic impunity and persistent grave human rights violations are the norm, not the exception.
With leaders that seemingly lack a political vision to pave the way for a future with justice and equality, children see only a future with limited prospects where their hopes and dreams are stifled by an Israeli military occupation with no end in sight.
Panelists will examine how persistent grave human rights violations, systemic impunity, discrimination, and recent U.S. policy decisions, like relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, affect the lives of Palestinian children growing up under a military occupation.
The briefing will also provide updates on “The Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act,” or H.R. 4391, the first-ever bill to address Palestinian human rights in the U.S. Congress.
Jehad Abusalim is a policy consultant at American Friends Service Committee in Chicago. Abusalim is from Gaza, Palestine where he lived for most of his life. He earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Al-Azhar University and received a diploma in Hebrew language from the Islamic University, both located in Gaza City. Jehad volunteered and worked with a number of youth groups, initiatives, and civil society organizations in fields related to youth and women empowerment, popular education, Palestinian national reconciliation, and advocacy against the blockade on Gaza. He has been published in +972 Magazine, Al-Jazeera English, Palestine Square, and Vox.com. Jehad recently contributed to a book on Gaza titled Gaza As Metaphor. He is currently a PhD student at the Hebrew and Judaic Studies and History joint program at New York University, where he studies Arab and Palestinian intellectual writings on Zionism from the first half of the twentieth century.
Farah Bayadsi is a lawyer at Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCIP). Bayadsi provides legal aid to Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces and prosecuted in Israeli military courts. She specializes in issues of juvenile justice and speaks on the situation of Palestinian child detainees, specifically issues of ill-treatment and torture of child detainees within the Israeli military detention system and violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. She earned her LL.B from Shaarei Mishpat College college in Hod Hasharon and her LL.M in International Law and Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Bill Van Esveld is a senior researcher for Middle East and North Africa in the Children's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch. He began working on children’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa in 2015. For the previous six years he focused on Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. As the Arthur Helton research fellow at Human Rights Watch in 2007-08, he wrote or contributed to reports on Western Sahara and Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria, asylum seekers in Egypt and Israel, and migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Van Esveld helped report on Iraq for the International Center for Transitional Justice, and on human rights developments in the UN General Assembly for the International Service for Human Rights. He holds a J.D. from NYU Law, where he was a fellow at the Institute for International Law and Justice.
Diala Shamas is a staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she works on challenging government and law enforcement abuses perpetrated under the guise of national security, both in the U.S. and abroad. Prior to joining CCR, Diala was a Clinical Supervising Attorney and Lecturer in Law at the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School, and a Senior Staff Attorney supervising the CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility) project at CUNY School of Law. She has also worked on a range of international human rights issues, including refugee policies in Australia and Greece, and human rights and humanitarian law violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Shamas received her undergraduate and law degrees from Yale, where she was an editor for the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal.
James Zogby co-founded the Arab American Institute in 1985 and continues to serve as its president. He is Director of Zogby Research Services, a firm that has conducted groundbreaking surveys across the Middle East. For the past three decades, he has served in leadership roles in the Democratic National Committee and served 2 terms as a President Obama appointee to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. He writes a weekly column published in 12 countries. He is featured frequently on national and international media as an expert on Middle East affairs. In 2010, Zogby published the highly-acclaimed book, Arab Voices. His 2013 e-books, Looking at Iran: The Rise and Fall of Iran in Arab Public Opinion and 20 Years After Oslo, are drawn from his extensive polling across the Middle East with Zogby Research Services.
Jennifer Bing directs the Palestine-Israel program for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Chicago. Jennifer began her advocacy for Palestinian children after working as a teacher in a Quaker school in Ramallah during the first Palestinian uprising (1986-1989). During those years she also worked as a field worker and researcher for Swedish Save the Children, documenting the impact of the first popular uprising on Palestinian children under the age of 16. Jennifer has worked with AFSC since 1989, organizing dozens of speaking tours, conferences, educational workshops, protests, delegations, and public events. She has produced two documentary films about the Palestinian-American community in Chicago and serves as a resource to people interested in activism and advocacy for human rights.