Palestinian children encouraged to go to jail
Increasing financial hardships lead some poor parents in the territories to
encourage underage sons to harass IDF soldiers, get arrested; boys get
shelter, families receive benefits from PA government
Ali Waked YNET Published: 01.26.07, 16:49
Exactly a year after Hamas' January election to the Palestinian government,
the wild optimism of early 2005 is noticeably absent. Ongoing inter-faction
violence and rising poverty are providing Palestinians with little to be
At this time, both internal and international efforts to advance a
Palestinian unity government appear to be at a stand-still.
In a recent bout of infighting Thursday night, two Palestinians - one
operative from Hamas and one from Fatah - were killed. Friday afternoon, a
Hamas security official, injured earlier during exchanges of fire in Beit
Lahiya, died of his wounds.
As if the violence were not enough, the Palestinian Authority has also
recently logged an increased number of homeless children. For this problem,
however, some Palestinian families seem to have found a unique, if tragic,
Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Issa Qaraqe told Ynet of an
increasing phenomenon of Palestinian minors deliberately provoking IDF
soldiers at checkpoints in order to be arrested, and thus receive shelter in
"Prison time provides these lads with shelter, and also provides their
families with prisoners' benefits," Qaraqe explained.
"We were actually amazed to find that some families encourage such a
phenomenon in order to reduce expenses, and primarily to receive the weekly
benefits given by the Palestinian government to the family of every
prisoner," he added.
Qaraqe recounted a recent visit to a family whose underage son had been
arrested: "I started to comfort the father and was amazed to hear him say
that it's actually not so bad, because now the family will receive a
government benefit. It will be their only income."
According to Qaraqe, such sentiments by parents illustrate the financial and
emotional hardships suffered by Palestinian families over the past year.
"How can one explain a parent who not only isn't sad that his son is in
jail, but rather, encourages him to go there?" Qaraqe queried. "These people
are sick, and it indicates the severe deterioration of Palestinian society
over the past year."