IDF soldiers have detained a 5-year-old Palestinian boy Tuesday for allegedly throwing a stone at a settler's car in a checkpoint near Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs.After the incident, the boy was taken into an IDF jeep and taken to his parents' house, where his father joined them. The soldiers took the father and son to an IDF base, from which they were eventually transferred to a Palestinian police station. B'Tselem released a video capturing the moments of his apprehension.
Boy, father taken to IDF custody (צילום: בצלם)
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"I received a call at work and was told that the boy was at home under arrest," the boy's father said. "I arrived home and found him hiding in a closet shaking from fear."
According to the father, he told the soldiers that "even if the boy had thrown a stone, he is only a child and I will take care of it himself."
But the boy and his father were taken to an army base where the father was handcuffed and blindfolded. According to him, he was beaten while they were at the base, and then the two were transferred into the custody of Palestinian police.
While waiting at the checkpoint for the Palestinian Police, a high ranking army official, apparently from the District Coordination and Liaison (DCL) Command, arrived and began talking with the soldiers.
In the video he can be overheard saying (in Hebrew) that "all of the activities in terms of hasbara cause damage," apparently referencing the detention of a 5-year-old in general and the embarrassment such an incident could cause Israel in terms of public relations.
Then the soldiers can be seen untying the father and removing his blindfold. Afterwards he and his 5-year-old son are transferred into the custody of a Palestinian Police officer.
At the Palestinian police station: "They just asked us questions and eventually fined us for 5,000 dinar (roughly $7,000) for the kid's rock throwing," the father repeated.
Like in Israel, the minimum age of criminal liability in the military legal system in the West Bank is 12. This means that the arrest or detention of youths under that age is forbidden, even if they are suspected of perpetrating a criminal offense.
In her letter to the IDF's Legal Adviser to Judea and Samaria, B'Tselem Director Jessica Montell claimed: "The footage clearly shows that this was not a mistake made by an individual soldier, but rather conduct that was considered reasonable by all the military personnel involved. It is particularly troubling that none of them apparently thought any part of the incident wad problematic: Not the fact that they scared a five-year-old boy out of his wits, nor threatening him and his parents to 'hand him over', nor threatening to arrest the father on no legal grounds, nor handcuffing and blindfolding the father in front of his son."
In response, the IDF stated: "We are saddened that the B'Tselem organization chooses to film only these kinds of videos and upload them to the internet before fully clarifying the details of the incident with the IDF. This was a child throwing stones on a road in Hebron. An IDF force detained him, handed him over to his parents and then transferred him in an organized manner to the Palestinian Police."
You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: paldesk @gmail.com
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