“Israeli” soldiers detained a 5-year-old Palestinian boy in the West Bank for two hours for throwing a stone, threatened his family with arrest, before handcuffing and blindfolding his father.
According to the so-called “B’Tselem” press release, a group of seven “Israeli” soldiers and an officer detained 5-year old Wadi’a Maswadeh on Tuesday afternoon, after the boy allegedly threw a stone at a settler’s car at a checkpoint near al-Khalil.
Palestinians residents tried to intercede in favor of Wadi’a. In a video recorded by B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Jaabari, a Palestinian man can be heard pleading that the boy will not throw stones again, to which a soldier replied that the stone “could kill somebody.”
The soldiers then took the crying child, accompanied by a Palestinian, into one of their vehicles and drove to his family’s house.
Once at the family’s home, the soldiers informed Wadi’a’s mother that they would hand him over to the Palestinian police.
About half an hour later, Wadi’a’s father, Karam Maswadeh, arrived at the scene, where he was told by the soldiers that if he did not comply, he too would be arrested.
“The officer told me that he was going to arrest Wadi’a and hand him over to the Palestinian Coordination,” Karam said. “I asked him: ‘why arrest a 5-year-old boy?'”
“I tried to persuade the officer not to take Wadi’a to], but he said that if I didn’t bring him, I’d be arrested…I went inside the house and got Wadi’a, who was hiding there. He was crying.”
Wadi’a and Karam Maswadeh were then taken to an “Israeli” army base, where soldiers handcuffed and blindfolded Karam before walking the father and son to a police checkpoint.
They were held for another half hour in public view, as seen in the footage.
Palestinian minors are often detained by “Israeli” soldiers for allegedly throwing stones, an offense which can carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
“Palestinian children arrested by “Israeli” military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released,” UN said in a report.
Meanwhile, the 7 “Israeli” soldiers who detained the boy for have been cleared of any wrongdoing by their superiors.