Child Arrest and Family Psychology in Silwan

In 2010, Misha Gray conducted research in the Palestinian town of Silwan (located to the immediate southeast of the Old City of Jerusalem) under the auspices of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel and the Wadi Hilweh Information Center. Political tensions have been high in Silwan in recent years, as Jewish-Israeli groups have claimed sections of the town for archaeological tourist attractions and private housing. Local children have responded to the influx of Israelis into the area by throwing stones at police and military forces. Israeli authorities, in turn, have arrested children suspected of throwing stones.

Gray conducted interviews with 19 local parents and community workers about the psychological effects of arrest on children and their families. She concluded that the arrests frequently disrupted and dominated family life and altered relations between arrested children and their parents. She also hypothesized that the arrests made local children more prone to violence. Gray further noted a paucity of psychological supports for both children and families in the community.

The full text of Gray’s report, including an extensive bibliography of sources about the situation in Silwan, is available for download or printing here.

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