Israel Defense Forces soldiers earlier this week were videotaped detaining a five-year-old Palestinian boy in Hebron, after he allegedly threw a stone at an Israeli car on Tuesday.
The video, shot by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, shows soldiers from the Givati Brigade stationed in the West Bank city detaining Wa’adi Maswada, aged five years and nine months.
In the video, one of the soldiers is heard asking the boy, “Where is daddy?”
Several local residents try to speak to the soldiers and deter them from proceeding with the arrest.
One of the soldiers then tells them [in English], “He’s a child, eh?… No, but he threw it.”
Another soldier says to the boy and the crowd, “Get over here, don’t set me off.”
A Palestinian teenager takes the child by his hand and leads him off to the side.
The whole time the 5-year-old can be heard crying.
Six soldiers can be seen gathering around the two, as the teenager stars telling the commanding officer from the Givati Brigade where the child lives.
The child is led to a military Jeep, and the officer tells the child, “Climb in with me.”
The child starts to flail and tries to run away, still crying, while residents start to gather around.
An older person arrives and takes the child’s hand and they climb up together, as the boy continues to weep and is eventually dragged into the Jeep.
According to reports by B’Tselem, the soldiers arrived at the home of the Maswada family together with the boy.
“I asked the officer, ‘Why would you arrest a five-year old?’” the father said in his testimony to B’Tselem.
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.
In a later television interview, Maswadeh admitted throwing a stone, saying he had aimed at a dog but hit a car instead.
B'Tselem said Maswadeh's handling by the troops was illegal as the age of criminal responsibility in Israel and its West Bank jurisdiction is 12.
“The security forces are not allowed to arrest or detain children under that age, even when they are suspected of having committed criminal offenses, and the authorities must deal with the law-breaking in other ways,” said group director Jessica Montell.
In a statement, the army said Maswadeh's stone-throwing had endangered passers-by. More than 150 Israelis were hurt in similar West Bank incidents between January and May, it said.
“Soldiers intervened on the spot and accompanied the minor to his parents. From there he was passed on to the care of the Palestinian Security Forces, all the while accompanied by his parents.
The child was not arrested and no charges were filed,” the statement said.