Palestinian boy’s arrest stirs anger
Israeli soldiers circle Maswadeh and his blindfolded father in this video image.An Israeli human rights group said the military should find another way to deal with young Palestinian stone throwers after video showed soldiers detaining a 5-year-old in the West Bank city of Hebron.
B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli said July 12 that the detention was illegal as the age of criminal responsibility in Israel and its West Bank jurisdiction is 12. “The security forces are not allowed to arrest or detain children under that age, even when they are suspected of having committed criminal offenses, and the authorities must deal with the law-breaking in other ways,” said group director Jessica Montell.
Video footage taken by the group B’Tselem of July 9’s incident showed Wadi Maswadeh crying as he was surrounded by soldiers on a street in Hebron. He was then made to board a military jeep accompanied by a Palestinian adult. B’Tselem said troops took Maswadeh home, picking up his father and holding them both for another half-hour, during which the father was bound and blindfolded.
The two were then handed over to Palestinian police, who questioned and released them. In a later television interview, Maswadeh admitted throwing a stone, saying he had aimed at a dog but hit a car instead.
No charges filed
A military official said they were held for several hours because Palestinian police arrived late to take them. He
said the father was blindfolded because they were in a military base. The Israeli military said the boy was detained after throwing stones at a main road, endangering passersby.
More than 150 Israelis were hurt in similar West Bank incidents between January and May, it said.
“The child was not arrested and no charges were filed,” the army said.