The following is a press release from the Palestine Solidarity Project. These arrests are part of an Israeli policy across the West Bank to target children in an attempt to intimidate and harass peaceful protesters:
Saturday, February 19, 2011, 3pm: Thirteen Palestinian boys, all between the ages of 12 and 15, were arrested by Israeli Forces from a playground in the village of Beit Ommar, in the southern West Bank. The Israeli soldiers, supported by a unit of special forces, attacked the children with sound bombs, tear gas, and rubber bullets before making the arrests.
When several mothers of the children ran to their defense, they were beaten by soldiers and prevented from reaching the area. The families of the children still do not know where they are being held.
Two hours before the mass arrest, Beit Ommar demonstrators carried out their weekly unarmed demonstration against the nearby Israeli settlement of Karmei Tsur, which is built on land taken from village residents. This week’s demonstration was especially significant in decrying the Israeli Government’s recent decision to continue building settlements in the West Bank, a move that is illegal International Law.
As in past Saturday demonstrations, Israeli Forces attacked the unarmed demonstrators, who were supported by Israeli and International solidarity activists, with sound bombs and tear gas. This week, soldiers also occupied the house of Husni Za’qiq and held his family inside the residence against their will. After more than an hour, the demonstrators dispersed with minor injuries but no arrests. The weekly demonstrations are organized in Beit Ommar by the National Committee Against the Wall and Settlements and the Palestine Solidarity Project.