Israel’s house arrest policy turns Palestinian parents into ‘prison guards’ – Middle East Monitor

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Ashraf Rajabi, 16, was arrested by Israeli forces in October 2021 as he returned home to the town of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, Anadolu News Agency reports.

The Palestinian miner was accused of throwing stones at Israeli forces during protests against the razing of Al-Yusufiye cemetery, one of the oldest Islamic cemeteries in East Jerusalem.

Rajabi remained in Israeli custody for 10 days, but interrogators did not provide evidence on the allegations against the Palestinian boy.

He was paroled by an Israeli court, which slapped him with a $300 fine and ordered him to remain under house arrest for five days.

READ: On Palestinian Children’s Day, at least 160 languish in Israeli jails

“We received a court order on the fifth day that his house arrest will be extended,” said his father, Kayed Rajabi. Anadolu Agency.

“Since then, the court has continued to extend his house arrest, without setting a date to end the measure,” he said.

prison guards

The Palestinian father said he and his family have become like “prison guards” who constantly watch their son’s movements to warn him not to leave the house.

The Israeli court threatened the family with a $3,000 fine if Rajabi left the house, in addition to placing the boy behind bars.

Due to his house arrest, the Palestinian boy cannot participate in any social activities, either with family or friends.

Israeli authorities use the house arrest policy against Palestinian minors because the law does not allow the imprisonment of children under 14 years of age.

READ: Israel bans Al-Aqsa’s Jerusalem Waqf deputy director for 6 months

Instead, they place them under house arrest throughout the trial until they come of age, and can then be sentenced to prison.

There are no exact figures on the number of Palestinian children held under house arrest by Israel.

An estimated 4,500 Palestinians are believed to be held in Israeli jails, according to data compiled by prisoners’ rights organizations.

Unjust policy

Last month, the Israeli court allowed Rajabi to leave his home to go to school before returning to house arrest.

“He was only allowed to leave the house from 7 a.m., but he must return home at 3 p.m. Otherwise, the family will be punished for any violation,” his father said.

He said his son misses socializing with loved ones and friends as well as his sporting activity.

“My son is under tremendous psychological stress,” he said. “He’s completely isolated now and can’t even visit his uncle’s house, which is adjacent to our house.”

Rajabi’s family awaits the next court hearing on April 18. Until that day, they must continue to observe the boy and never allow him to leave the house for any reason.

“Being a jailer for your son inside his home is more difficult than his detention in Israeli prisons,” the sad father said. “Can you imagine how much we suffer every day from this unjust policy?

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