Sending children to provoke soldiers: A video shot at a protest rally held in the village of Nabi Salih, in the central West Bank on Friday, captured an uncanny moment, showing how Palestinian protesters use children to needle IDF soldiers in hope of provoking a violent response.
Familiar with the tactic, the soldiers did not fall for the obvious trap.
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The Palestinians residing in Nabi Salih claim that settlers have illegally taken over nearby lands.
A video of the protest, which has been uploaded to Youtube and has garnered thousands of views, shows a group of children, led by a Palestinian girl of about 10, yelling and cursing the soldiers for a few long minutes in a clear attempt to provoke a response.
The crew, consisting of two IDF officers and a Border Guard officer, let her rant away – but did nothing.
At some point, the video clearly shows a young Palestinian girl pushing a little boy at one of the soldiers – who remains still. Another part of the video shows the children pushing the soldiers.
Lieutenant-Colonel Shay Ben-Yishay, commander of the Kfir Brigade's Duchifat Battalion was present at the time.
Several Palestinian and foreign photographers were present as well, shooting the incident.
At some point, a smoke grenade was fired at the protesters, but did not harm those shown in the video. On the contrary – the provocation attempts against the soldiers continued.
The troops did detain one foreign photographer after he refused to identify himself.
"Where did you take him? You're a traitor! I know you speak Arabic. Our soldiers are stronger than you! I'll smash your head," the 10-year-old girl is heard in the video screaming at the soldier in Arabic.
After spitting at him, she continued shouting: "I spit in your face. Go watch your mother instead of fighting little children. You're a traitor. You kill people to get money from dogs."
Abir Kubati, spokesperson of the popular protest coordination committee, said: "I don't understand what the army wants – they send soldiers into a Palestinian village and then dare to depict themselves as victims because the residents don't welcome them.
"This specific video shows a girl whose brother was detained by the soldiers, very violently, only minutes before and that's why she was upset.
"The brother, by the way, is 16, a minor, and he was released by the Military Court because his rights were violated and he was beaten by the soldiers," she said.
'Soldiers know to avoid such traps'
A senior IDF source told Ynet that intelligence indicates that pro-Palestinian activists pay Palestinian children from Nabi Salih and the nearby villages to confront the soldiers.
The weekly protests in the areas used to involve hundreds of people, but over time the numbers have dwindled to just a few dozens. According to the officers, the majority of protesters are foreign pro-Palestinian activists.
"The soldiers are briefed on the fact that these protests are staged for the sake of provocation, so that they could be filmed acting violently and so that those videos could be distributed worldwide in an effort to harm the IDF's image," the officer explained.
"We make every effort not to fall for such traps, to exercise restraint and to use only crowd-control measures to disperse such protests."
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit issued the following statement: "IDF troops are instructed to exercise restraint while adamantly ensuring protests do not infringe on public order.
"Soldiers are instructed to disperse protests that are illegal or violent."
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