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Video: Israeli forces force crying 8-year-old boy barefoot through gravel looking for stone-throwers

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Palestinian activists on Sunday filmed Israeli forces dragging an 8-year-old Palestinian boy through the al-Harika neighborhood of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank for more than hour.

The video, received and edited by Israeli rights group B’Tselem, shows 8-year-old Sufian Abu Hitah crying and barefoot, being pulled by his arm by an Israeli soldier.

The boy was surrounded by at least between 8-18 Israeli soldiers while being taken around the neighborhood, as Israeli forces tried to get the boy to identify other children who soldiers suspected of throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba earlier that day.

Sufian was taken down a gravel road through the neighborhood with no shoes on, and seemingly no care taken for the boy’s feet on the rocky path. The video then shows soldiers taking the boy up onto  a roof top. On the way down from the roof, Sufian is shown in tears as Palestinian neighbors and family members awaited the soldiers, attempting to convince them to release Sufian.

A woman eventually got ahold of the 8-year-old’s arm, pulling him away while Palestinians surrounded the boy trying to protect him from continued detention. Israeli forces followed the boy and the adults who took him back for several minutes before retreating, giving up on the chance of getting the 8-year-old to give them information about other children.

Amit Gilutz, spokesperson for B’Tselem told Mondoweiss that the incident was a normal display of Israeli military tactics.

“Unfortunately, an appalling treatment of minors is not unusual, but part of the occupation’s routine,” Gilutz said.

B’Tselem did an investigation into the incident and released a detailed report on Thursday.

During the investigation, the rights group spoke to the boy’s mother, Amani Abu Hitah.

Amani said she had been visiting her parents in the al-Harika neighborhood of Hebron. The mother sent her son to pick up his younger brother from school. When he got back, he took off his shoes to enter the house and realized he dropped a toy along the way, B’tSelem reported.

Amani knew Israeli soldiers were in the area, so she told Sufian not to go out looking for the toy, but the 8-year-old snuck out, and went on the hunt for his missing toy.

A few minutes later Sufian was picked up by Israeli soldiers, and local boys ran to tell his mother.

“I saw more than fifteen soldiers surrounding Sufian. Two of them were holding him by both arms and dragging him towards the gate of Kiryat Arba. A few neighbors had already gathered in the street and were trying to rescue Sufian from the soldiers,” Amani told B’Tselem.

“I went up to one of the soldiers and asked him to give me back my son. He refused and said: ‘If you want to get him back, convince him to tell us the names of the children who were throwing stones.’”

“Sufian was shaking with fear. I saw him talk to the soldiers and tell them that he doesn’t know anything, but it didn’t help … I was really scared and worried about Sufian. I started crying and ran after the soldiers as they moved from house to house, to try and get them to let him go,” she said.

After an hour of dragging the boy around the neighborhood, women from the village were able to get the 8-year-old away from Israeli forces to safety.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, at least 12,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in an Israeli military detention since 2000.  

Last month Mondoweiss reported on a 14-year-old boy, Ali Jawarish, who was violently arrested by Israeli forces from Aida refugee camp.

The incident was also caught on camera. The video depicted Israeli forces tearing off the boy’s shirt, and violently throwing him into the back of a military jeep.

The video of Ali’s arrest only shows the first few moments of the arrest, because the youth who filmed the incident filmed it on a social media messenger app that only allowed for 15-second video recordings at a time. Witnesses in the area during the arrest however, told Mondoweiss that after Ali’s shirt was ripped off and he was thrown into the jeep, Israeli forces began beating the teen.

In a report, Defense of Children International – Palestine (DCIP) condemned Israeli actions towards Palestinian children, noting that the Israeli system is “notorious for the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children.”

“The majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones, and three out of four experience physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation,” the report said, adding that “no Israeli child comes into contact with the military court system.”

Sheren Khalel

Sheren Khalel is a freelance multimedia journalist who works out of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. She focuses on human rights, women's issues and the Palestine/Israel conflict. Khalel formerly worked for Ma'an News Agency in Bethlehem, and is currently based in Ramallah and Jerusalem. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sherenk.

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12 Responses

  1. Kay24 on March 23, 2017, 12:43 pm

    What kind of sadistic people are these? How many of these abuses will go on, until the civilized world steps in to stop the endless harassment, and ill treatment, of these poor children? Israel is one of the most disliked nations in the world, and the many videos tell you why. No one can blame the victims of Israel’s violence, when they resist violently to it’s crimes.

  2. amigo on March 23, 2017, 1:16 pm

    These are the brave heroes that zionists revere and believe will preserve Israel for the next 1000 years –at least.

    The worlds most moral army is staffed by sadistic cowards , but on the bright side they are good runners and they will need to be , because the day is coming when these stalwart sons of Zion will have the opportunity to display their athletic prowess , running for their lives from an enemy that is somewhat older than 8 years.

  3. John O on March 23, 2017, 2:47 pm

    I can’t find a good link to it, but I’m sure many here will be familiar with the famous image of that little boy in a cloth cap, with his hands up, being herded towards some ghastly fate by Nazi soldiers.

    • just on March 23, 2017, 6:46 pm

      Perhaps this is the photo you’re thinking of, John O:

      With regard to Hebron:

      “The Right Angle: A Nationalist Group Takes Israelis on a Tour of Hebron

      Im Tirtzu has launched tours of the West Bank hot spot in an effort to counter what it calls the ‘delegitimization and lies’ of left-wing tours of the city.”

      read more:


      “Richard Gere on segregation in Hebron: It’s exactly like the Old South

      ‘It’s exactly what the Old South was in America. Blacks knew where they could go: they could drink from that fountain, they couldn’t go over there, they couldn’t eat in that place,’ the American actor tells an Israeli TV station during a tour of the segregated West Bank city.

      Richard Gere visited the West Bank city of Hebron this week, guided by the Israeli anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence.

      Gere was in Israel to promote his new film “Norman,” and was accompanied to Hebron by director Joseph Cedar, an Israeli, along with a crew from Channel 2 News.

      In the report, broadcast during the prime time evening news hour Wednesday, Gere responds to what he sees in blunt terms. He compares occupied Hebron to the Jim Crow era in the southern United States.

      Looking around, Gere says to his guides, and to the television camera, “It’s exactly what the Old South was in America. Blacks knew where they could go: they could drink from that fountain, they couldn’t go over there, they couldn’t eat in that place. It was well understood — you didn’t cross over if you didn’t want to get your head beat in, or you get lynched.”

      Having internalized the understanding that he is standing in the middle of a deserted street in what was once a busy commercial area, Gere sees Jewish settlers moving about freely where Palestinians are forbidden to walk and says: “This is the thing that’s flipping me out right now…This is really bizarre, this is genuinely strange … who owns the city, and their feeling of ‘I’m protected, I can do whatever I want.’” …

      The situation in Hebron is not a secret. Radical settlers are not popular in mainstream Israeli society and the ugly videos that show those settlers attacking Palestinians without provocation are often broadcast on Israel’s prime time news hours.

      Outrage, however, has not translated into change. There is no reason to suppose that a visit from a glamorous American film actor will have any impact on the status quo. But it is sobering to hear his unfiltered expressions of shock in response to the sordid reality of Israel’s 50-year-old occupation of the Palestinian territories.”

      • John O on March 24, 2017, 1:20 pm

        Yes, that’s the photo.

  4. RoHa on March 23, 2017, 9:20 pm

    Nice to see the fearless IDF is still heroically risking life and limb to protect us from evil terrorists.

  5. Talkback on March 24, 2017, 5:43 am

    Taking Nonjewish preteens as a human shield. Just the usual for the most moral army in the world. I wonder what their bitch Col. Richard Kemp has to say to that.

  6. GodWPalestine on March 24, 2017, 5:57 am

    FYI ignorant those IDF are the exact opposite of fearless, they are brainless cowards!
    Wow, they are fearless of a barefoot 8 years old!
    A soldier without his gun is like a man without penis!

    • RoHa on March 24, 2017, 10:46 am

      Remember, some of us express our disgust through sarcasm.

  7. eljay on March 24, 2017, 9:55 am

    Israeli Occupation and Oppression Forces goons operating in not-Israel terrorize a non-Israeli child. Aggressor-victimhood’s a tough gig, but I’m sure the Captain Israel underpants those “soldiers” were wearing gave them the necessary courage to do their dirty work.

  8. Ossinev on March 24, 2017, 3:35 pm

    Bring on those Hezbollah fighters – so long as they are 8 years old or under. Don’t mess with the IDF !!

  9. iResistDe4iAm on March 26, 2017, 7:23 am

    No doubt Zionists will cry HOAX and claim that the incident is a staged, fabricated, anti-Semitic attempt to delegitimize Israel.

    On what basis will they make that claim?
    Simple. The traumatised child in the video who was kidnapped and forcibly dragged by Israeli soldiers was not actually barefoot as claimed …he was still wearing his socks.

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