Diplomatic delegations visit Wadi Hilweh Information Center
September 30, 2016

Diplomatic delegations recently visited Wadi Hilweh Information center in Silwan and took a closer look at the growing phenomenon of child-arrests in Jerusalem and settlement outposts in Silwan.

Majd Gheith from the Information Center explained that the Japanese Ambassador to the Palestinian territories, a delegation from the Japanese Embassy, members from the French Parliament and French Consulate in Jerusalem and a delegation from the European Union from Brussels visited the center last week.

Gheith added that the center’s staff talked about the phenomenon of arresting Jerusalemite children from their homes which became a daily act in the Jerusalemite neighborhoods. They also explained to the delegations the assaults that occur while raiding children’s homes in terms of searching their houses, damaging property and confiscating personal items.

The center also explained that some arrests were executed against children under 7 years old which violate all Israeli and international laws regarding arresting and interrogating children not to mention detaining and interrogating them without the presence of an adult companion.

The center’s staff also showed recordings of Israeli checkpoints in Jerusalemite neighborhoods which negatively disrupts the movement of Jerusalemites especially children while heading to their schools and affect their educational achievement.

During their visits, the delegations met with several children that were subject to arrests, interrogations or house-arrest. The children’s families talked about the house-arrest imposed on their children and how their home becomes like a prison and the parents become wardens. During house-arrest, children are banned from going to school and are not allowed to play with their friends or even accompany their parents outside the house and this could last for several months in several cases. Also, occupation forces would raid the house several times to make sure the child is home and has not violated the house-arrest conditions.

The European Union delegation also took a look at the increasing settlement outposts in the neighborhoods of Silwan and the negative affects they have on locals in terms of daily provocations by settlers and their guards and the breakout of verbal altercations which could escalate in clashes at times. The center also talked about the settlers’ armed guards who are continuously present in the neighborhoods of Silwan and deliberately terrify and harass children.