IDF defends actions over 'child detention' footage

By Ellis Bolle, July 12, 2013

The IDF has defended its actions following the release of video footage by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem which shows a 5-year-old Palestinian child being detained by IDF soldiers for throwing a stone at a settler car in Hebron.

The IDF told Ynet: "We are saddened that the B'Tselem organisation chooses to film only these kinds of videos and upload them to the internet before fully clarifying the details of the incident with the IDF. This was a child throwing stones on a road in Hebron. An IDF force detained him, handed him over to his parents and then transferred him in an organised manner to the Palestinian Police.”

The video shows a crying child, accompanied by a Palestinian teenager, being taken into an IDF vehicle. Ynet reported that the boy and his father were later taken to an army base where the father was handcuffed and blindfolded and reportedly beaten. They were then transferred to a Palestinian police station.

B’Tselem released a statement calling for legal action to be taken.

“Detaining a child below the age of criminal responsibility, especially one so young, has no legal justification”.

The father told Ynet that at the Palestinian police station “they just asked us questions and eventually fined us 5,000 dinar (roughly $7,000) for the kid's rock throwing”.

Like in Israel, the minimum age of criminal liability in the West Bank is 12. This means that security forces are not allowed to arrest and detain children under that age, even if they are suspected of a criminal offence.

Last updated: 12:27pm, July 12 2013