The Israeli police and military prosecution arrest Palestinian children without regard to the special protection provided by more than 27 international conventions on the rights of children. The purpose behind these arrests is to intimidate the children and to drain their families’ financial resources and thereby making the children a financial burden on their families.
Pressure through money
Accompanying the release of children due to lack of any evidence to convict them is the imposition of exorbitant bails that could reach up to 4,000 NIS, without regard to the financial situation of the family or to social conditions that may prevent them from providing the requested amount of money, conditions which are particular relevant in light of difficult financial circumstances in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The imposition of this amount of money constitutes a long-term punishment for the families, who are sometimes forced to borrow the money or to deprive themselves of some basic needs in order to provide the requested amount. Additionally, the imposition can cause the family to feel that their child caused them to pay the money despite his innocence of all the charges and the arbitrary nature of his detention.
Global Comment – Child Arrests in Palestine: An Israeli Scandal.
This financial blackmail involving Palestinian children detained in the occupation’s prisons is a systematic policy imposed by the occupation in order to put pressure on the Palestinian community and taking advantage of their difficult financial circumstances. This is far from any sort of credibility and fairness in judgment, especially in the cases of released children who are found innocent of the indictments submitted against them. An additional aim of this policy is to release the occupation from its financial duties towards the Palestinian prisoners and detainees.
This could cause children to leave school and search for employment in order to help their families, who have suffered from the strain of the financial bail. Additionally, it could cause the children to feel a sense of guilt towards their parents, which then results in discomfort, tension and frequent dwelling upon the incident that occurred.
Defence for Children International Palestine: Arrest and abuse by Israeli police part of life for children in Silwan.
The child might feel responsible for the incident he went through and what the arrest caused his parents in terms of financial pressure. This could lead him to believe that he should take full responsibility for his actions as if he were a grown up. Such thinking could lead a child to work in areas not appropriate for his age or at all, including areas such as drug dealing and falling into the trap of exploitation and underpaid labor.
On the other hand, parents may feel already existent economic and financial pressure increase because of the event, and may find it difficult to bail their son out and be forced to borrow money, which will only increase the financial and economic problems of the detainee’s family.
Reem Talhami, the artist in this photo:
I am a woman who comes from the Palestinian North, the Galilee.
I am a woman who chose to live in the city of Jerusalem.
I am a woman who chose to build a family in Jerusalem, to have children in Jerusalem.
The task of creating a family and raising children in the city of Jerusalem is not an easy task.
The daily threats to which Jerusalemite families are exposed are endless.
I cannot imagine my daughter being arrested and taken from her bed!
I do not want to dream of such a thing, and I do not want any child in the world to be exposed to such injustice, humiliation and fear.
Children were not created for this.
My three daughters were not born in order to experience such occupation, every day, dozens of times a day.
When my friend and colleague, Tamer Nafar, reached out to me to participate in a campaign to expose the Israeli violations, and to highlight the occupation government’s practices of arresting Palestinian children and breaching the international laws that were put in place to protect them, I did not have a moment’s hesitation.
This is a picture of my voice, standing clearly in front of those who are watching, an addition to the Palestinian tragedy, a compilation of Palestinian suffering. I was not asked to sing! But I am here because I know my voice. My voice is their voice, and my picture is is an expression of their voices; I am honored to share my voice.
I have always dreamed of freedom and the right to expression, and of equality between all humans. Through the arrests of Palestinian children, the Israeli occupation denies them their freedom and their right to expression and forces upon them fear and horror.
The father and mother of a child who has been arrested will not stand idly by as their child suffers, just like any father and mother anywhere in the world. But the difficult material conditions that families in Jerusalem suffer from at the hands of the occupation, the struggles, the lack of opportunities- these make their situation different from that of any other family.
A Palestinian Jerusalemite child has the right to a life of dignity, free from physical and emotional violence. S/he has the right to play without being arrested. The right to security and safety, free from fear and torture.
Take your hands off of our children, and let them search for the remains of stolen childhood – childhood that you stole from them!
Financial Guarantees: Food or Freedom
As the main principle in life should be freedom, arrests should be an exception. Considering the arrests of minors and children, the court is obligated to find every possible way to avoid arresting children and detaining them behind bars. In this context, the court could ask for initial guarantees from the child’s family to ensure that there are no violations of the conditions imposed when considering an alternative to actual detention.
One such guarantee permitted by law is the deposit of a financial guarantee in the court’s account to ensure the implementation of the conditions set by the court as an alternative to actual detention. The amount of the guarantee should correspond to the seriousness of the charges, on one hand, and with ability of the defendant and his family to pay on another hand.
According to the law, it is crucial to note that the financial guarantee should never become an obstacle in releasing a detainee if he or his family cannot pay the amount imposed by the court. In such a case, the defendant is presented to the judge within a short period of time to discuss his ability to pay the amount requested by the court.
The police could also request the deposit of financial guarantee to release the suspect before presenting him to court and, of course, the standards and procedures should be as mentioned above. The police must be informed that arresting a child should be their last option. Additionally, they police cannot request financial guarantees without having a strong reason for the arrest.
In reality, we witness the Israeli courts and the Israeli police, in particular, exercising a financial war against the families of detained children by imposing outrageous suns of money as financial guarantees, without taking into consideration the disadvantaged economic status of the families. Often there is no clear legal basis authorizing detention or even the request of a financial guarantee, and the families are forced to bail their children out in order to avoid the detention procedures and judicial deliberations that could last for several days or even weeks.
We have seen several cases where children were arrested under conditions that are not legally justified; despite this, the parents were forced to deduct from their children’s food of in order provide the required financial guarantees.
When the detention center is turned into a market where the main product sold is freedom and its price is determined by a biased interrogation officer, the spirit of the law fades.