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Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15

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Today: Jul 22, 2017

Palestinian childhood facing Israeli occupation in Silwan

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Half the population of Silwan, south of the Old City of Jerusalem, comprises of children of whom 75% live under the poverty line, a fact that causes most of them to work after school to support their families.

Silwan lacks for sufficient public facilities institutions to serve its children population. There is no sport club, playgrounds or community centers. Even the capacity of its schools cannot absorb all the students. Consequently, many pupils are obliged to attend schools which locate outside the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the permanent presence of armed settlers together with their security guards in settlement outposts in Silwan, leave negative impacts on the psychology of Palestinian children and sometimes endanger their lives. As an example to the posed threats on the children life, the incident which took place early this year when one settler opened fire towards the Palestinian child Amin Nirokh while riding his bicycle in front of the so-called David City which locates in Wadi Hilweh. The Palestinian child sustained injuries in his leg.

According to Information Center of Wadi Helweh, a local organization specialized in monitoring Israeli violations against the Palestinian residents of Silwan, attacks by settlers and security guards against Palestinian children are ongoing. In another example of the atrocities against the children, the attack which was waged by members of the security guards of the so-called David City against the Palestinian child Montaser Faraj while he was collecting iron scraps near the settlement post. According to eye witnesses, one of the security guards threatened the child with his gun. But the police interfered on behalf of the security guards and summoned the child victim to the police station for interrogation. The child was later sent to house arrest.

In another case, Israeli police arrested on January 10, the Palestinian child Ahmad Daoud Siyam from his home in the early morning hours and transferred him handcuffed to the Police station without informing his father about the reason of arrest.

On April 1, an Israeli police force raided Mada Creative Center to arrest the Palestinian child Yazan Siyam from inside the toilet. The child was charged with involvement in throwing stones incidents on Jewish settlers. However, he was released only after his family paid a bail of NIS 4500 (approximately $1200).

Mada Creative Center was established in 2007, to provide outside curriculum activities for Palestinian children in the area. According to one of the center's official, "It was established despite the difficult circumstances and big challenges which faced the founders." She also accused Israel's Jerusalem municipality of lacking for the intention to establish community centers for the Palestinian population in the neighborhood. On the contrary, she added, Israeli police used to conduct regular raids to the center during which they attack and abuse the employees and attendant people. She concluded that the center serve as the only safe haven for Silwan children to attract them away from the streets.

Silwan children also suffer of ramifications of the Israeli policy of house demolition. They also live in continuous worry for fears of having their houses demolished. It is worth mentioning that there are 216 Palestinian houses slated for demolition under the pretext that they were built without building licenses, knowing that it is almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain such licenses from the Israeli Jerusalem municipality which plans to establish the so-called Garden of the King in place of Palestinian homes.

In an effort by the Israeli police to prohibit Palestinian children from engaging in stone throwing incidents, they threatened Palestinian families of taking their children away to hand them to the so-called Israeli Social Affairs Department if they are arrested again.

Reporting to JCSER about the arrest of their children, parents of the two children Wadee' Abdel Haq, 9, and Omar Abu Soud, 7, said that Omar and his brother Rami, 16, were arrested from the street while they were on their way to a grocery near their house in Ras al-Amud. Omar was taken to the Jewish cemetery in Ras al-Amud while his brother was held inside a police Jeep. Afterwards, both children were taken to the police station. Later, a police force arrested the neighbors son Wadee' Abdel Haq, 9. After several hours of interrogation, the Police released Rami.

According to Wadee's father, the two children were arrested on November 10, and were charged with throwing stones towards a settlement post in Ras al-Amud. The investigator claimed that there was a recorded footage for the two children while they were throwing stones. When the fathers headed to the police station, one of the police investigators told them that according to law, a social specialist must interview the children on claims that they parents have failed to provide them with sufficient family care by allowing them to spend most of the time in the streets.

When the two fathers requested to see the video footage, a police officer responded by claiming that he did not want open a file for the children and will release them if they confessed with the charges against them and on the condition that they should report to the police station the next day to continue with the investigations.

Abdel Haq, Wadee''s father added that on November 11, he headed to the police station with his neighbor Abu Soud to see the footage but the police officer refused to play the footage except in presence of a social specialist and a judge.

He added that the investigator advised them not to let their children play in the streets because according to law, the police has the right to arrest any child from the street after 5:00 pm and delivering him to the Israeli Social Affairs Department where he will be put in a juvenile house until he reaches adultery.

It should be mentioned that the mother of the Palestinian child Imran Mohammad Mansour, 12, who was deliberately hit by a settler car in Silwan on October, 8, 2010 was summoned to the police station where she was accused of not taking care of her child by allowing him to play in the streets.