Video shows armed Israeli forces attempting to drag the children into their jeeps in a West Bank refugee camp.
Israeli Border Police officers were filmed dragging very young Palestinian children into their jeep in a West Bank refugee camp on Tuesday. The footage, provided by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem and shot by one of its volunteers in Bethlehem, shows the officers detaining the three boys, aged seven and eight.
According to the Israeli human rights organization, the children were playing at the time near their home in Aida Refugee Camp in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem. Protests were presumably taking place in the area.
The video, shot by B’Tselem volunteer Jamal Abu S’ifan, becomes clear from minute 0:44, at which point the Israeli troops are dragging the young boys by their clothes as they are screaming. Several local residents managed to intervene and free the children from the officers.
The incident came just days after a different video, also released by B’Tselem, which documented a large group of Israeli soldiers taking turns assaulting a handcuffed Palestinian minor in the West Bank city of Hebron. The video shows the soldiers repeatedly kicking, punching, slapping, and manhandling the boy before blindfolding him and leading him away.
Arrests, detentions, and physical assaults of Palestinian minors by Israeli security forces are not unique. An average of 700 Palestinian children are arrested and prosecuted by Israeli forces each year, according to Defense for Children International-Palestine, and around 10,000 Palestinians between the ages of 12 and 17 in the West Bank have been subject to arrest, detention, interrogation, and imprisonment under the in Israeli military courts since 2000.
In July 2013, for example, I reported on the detention of a five-year-old Palestinian boy who allegedly threw stones in Hebron. Five. Years. Old.
While there seems to have been an increase in such incidents over the past week during unarmed Palestinian protests against Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, such violence is part and parcel of the routine of the occupation and the system of state violence Israel imposes on the Palestinian population, from the river to the sea. Trump’s statement simply fuels it more, and gives it more media coverage.
The age of criminal culpability in Israel — and under Israeli military law, which applies to Palestinians in the West Bank — is 12. The arrest of a minor under the age of 12 is illegal.