In an effort to document the longstanding Israeli practice of exploiting Palestinian youths to protect their occupation forces, Defence for Children International Palestine (DCI-Palestine) released this video of the Israeli Border Police. It allegedly shows a Palestinian teenager being forced to act as a human shield. The young man, identified only as “Mohammed K., 17,” had been participating in a demonstration in support of hunger striking prisoners that occurred in the West Bank town of Abu Dis on Friday, April 19.
The video shows a handcuffed Palestinian teenager being taken from a police jeep and forced to accompany policemen as they approached and shot into a crowd of protesters who are not visible in the frame. The video was shot by Huthifa Jamous, who is a local journalist.
The DCI-Palestine website quotes Mohammed’s father stating that his son was “roughed up” and bruised by the police, who detained the teenager for questioning.
According to a report by Agence France Presse, a Border Police spokesman denied that the youth was being used as a shield; instead he claims that the young man was displayed to the protesters to prove to them that he had not been harmed. An action which the spokesman claimed calmed the protesters whose number he estimated to be 400.
DCI-Palestine reported two months ago, that a 9-year-old boy was forced to act as a human shield by Israeli soldiers when they confronted a demonstration near Ofer Prison, outside Ramallah. The boy, who was a passerby, was held at gunpoint throughout the incident.
“We are deeply concerned by the continued use of Palestinian children as human shields,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program Director at DCI-Palestine. “Israeli forces continue to blatantly disregard international law, as well as their own domestic law. We demand that the Israeli authorities conduct a prompt, transparent and impartial investigation and hold the perpetrators accountable.”
The DCI-Palestine website has documented 20 other occurrences of Israelis forcing Palestinian children to act as human shields. The incidents are listed at the link.
Jerusalem Post, 972, and the Electronic Intifada have posted the video, since I wrote this. Also, Ma’an and some Gulf news sites. Some use a headline like, “Handcuffed teenager paraded by Israelis in front of demonstrators.”
On a related note, a friend of mine who lives in Finland, emailed me last week saying that he had struck up a conversation with a young Israeli on a bus who was visiting his Finnish girlfriend. After learning that my friend had been in U.S. Army Intelligence and asking him a few questions about his experience, the Israeli boasted that when his unit would raid Palestinian homes in the West Bank, they would always grab a young man off the street to act as a human shield.