Police in Israel summoned a Palestinian man for interrogation after his four-year-old son allegedly hurled stones at an Israeli military vehicle in occupied East Jerusalem.
Rabi Elayyan told Al Jazeera he was called in for questioning on Tuesday but refused to believe his son Mohammed was capable of carrying out the act he was accused of.
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“My son is too young to understand what police is, let alone start throwing rocks at them,” said the 35-year-old truck driver from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiyeh.
“I challenged them to show me evidence of my son’s alleged actions.”
Elayyan said he was warned by the police to ensure his son did not repeat the alleged offence. The 35-year-old added that his son was traumatised by the experience and was terrified by the sight of the police.
Images posted on social media showed a crowd of supporters accompanying Elayyan and Mohammed to the police station.
Elayyan said the police had instructed him to bring the accused four-year-old, as well.
However, Israeli government spokesmen denied on Twitter the toddler was asked to appear before the police.
Israel occupied Arab East Jerusalem during the 1967 war and annexed it in 1980, making it part of Israel in violation of international law that bans the annexation of occupied territories.
Qaddoura Faris, head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Association, said Israel is steadily moving towards becoming a “full-fledged racist state” and “couldn’t care less about international law or its image in the world”.
While the exact number of Palestinian minors interrogated or detained by Israeli officials remains unknown, Faris said Israel currently imprison between 250 to 350 Palestinian minors.
Faris added that Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinian children, especially in occupied East Jerusalem, has become part of its “occupation rituals”, sharing that four-year-old Mohammed’s experience at the hands of the police is a common occurrence.
Mohammed’s father echoed Faris’ views, saying that what happened to him and his son was not unusual.
“The Israeli military blow up our houses and impose heavy taxes as part of an overall strategy to drive us from our homes and properties in Jerusalem,” he said, adding that the Israeli military and police have a policy of systematic harassment against Palestinian residents in the city.