Palestinian journalist Raed Abu Rumaila recorded an apparent instance of Israeli soldiers harassing a 3-year old in Hebron’s Old City on Tuesday, posting the clip and photos of the incident to social media. The boy is seen being held by soldiers for under a minute, yet the incident continue to gain steam as Israeli police today accused the small child of acting as “the camouflage” to “agents for terrorist activities.”
Above the video, Abu Rumaila wrote, “A soldier carrying a vegetable corer and claiming that the child was trying to stab him.” The footage is shaky and looks like it was recorded on a cell phone. In frame are two soldiers, one holding the metal corer and another holding the unidentified boy by the arm.
In the last frame the three year old is crouching behind his father.
In a separate post of photographs of the same encounter, Abu Rumaila wrote the incident took place “near the Ibrahimi Mosque,” a religious site in the West Bank’s largest city, Hebron, that is divided between Israeli and Palestinian use and is often a flashpoint for violence.
Under Israeli military codes which govern Palestinians in the West Bank, the age of criminal liability is 12. It is 14 for Israeli citizens.
Update, March 29, 2018, 11 a.m:
After the video was circulated on social media, Israeli police claimed the Abu Rumaila’s footage was doctored and accused the child of staging a “provocation.”
“[T]he situation and was intended to paint the security forces in a bad light. The video is cut and edited. This was a young boy who was sent to throw stones at Border Police officers and with a screwdriver in his hand for ‘a stabbing attempt,’ and with his relatives watching him from a distance,” the police spokesman said in a statement.
“This is another example of the use of small children as camouflage as agents for terrorist activities, including children who were dressed up with explosive belts. Therefore, the soldiers must be extra cautious, even when it involves a small child. The boy held a screwdriver in his hand so the soldiers held the child and waited for his father to arrive to clarify the matter and release him at the scene within a short time,” the statement continued.
Israeli police also gave media different footage of the incident showing the moments before the soldiers grabbed the child by his hand. The child is seen running towards the soldiers, and then away. It was recorded from a further distance and it is unclear if the boy has any object in his hand.
H/T to Ofer Neiman who also contributed translations to this post.