An Israeli rights group has called the detention of a five-year-old Palestinian boy “illegal” and has urged the Israeli army to “change tactics” when dealing with young stone throwers in the Occupied West Bank.
Rights group B’Tselem’s plea came on Friday after it posted a video earlier this week showing Israeli soldiers detaining the boy for throwing a stone to a car in the city of Hebron.
Wadia Maswadeh was seen crying while being led into a military jeep by soldiers accompanied by a Palestinian adult.
The footage clearly shows that this was not a mistake made by an individual soldier, but rather conduct that, to our alarm, was considered reasonable by all the military personnel involved, including senior officers.
B’Tselem said the troops took the child to his home and told his mother they intended to hand him over to Palestinian police.
When the child’s father Karam arrived home he was advised that he would himself be arrested if he did not bring the child, B’tselem said.
The same B’Tselem video showed Wadia later with his blindfolded father at a Israeli military base.
“The footage clearly shows that this was not a mistake made by an individual soldier, but rather conduct that, to our alarm, was considered reasonable by all the military personnel involved, including senior officers,” B’tselem said.
Sarit Michaeli, spokeswoman of the rights group said on Friday that the detention was “illegal”.
The Israeli military statement said: “Soldiers intervened on the spot and accompanied the minor to his parents.
“From there he was passed on to the care of the Palestinian security forces, all the while accompanied by his parents. The child was not arrested and no charges were filed.”
“It is critical to bear in mind that even rocks thrown by children can pose a lethal threat to people,” it added. The statement did not accuse Wadia of causing injury or property damage.
According to human rights groups, it is the latest in a series of similar detentions.