Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron briefly detained a 3-year-old toddler who was playing near his house.
Police said the boy ran at them while holding a screwdriver and peeler and claimed the child’s actions were a provocation. Video footage shows a much less sinister unfolding of events, in which a young child toddles near and toward soldiers in the street.
Israeli soldiers accused a 3-year-old of planning to attack them. pic.twitter.com/NLhu7DhJQi— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 30, 2018
“This is another example of the use of small children as camouflage as agents for terrorist activities, including children who were dressed up with explosive belts. Therefore, the soldiers must be extra cautious, even when it involves a small child,” Israeli police said. “The boy held a screwdriver in his hand so the soldiers held the child and waited for his father to arrive to clarify the matter and release him at the scene within a short time.”
A witness who recounted what occurred to Haaretz claimed a soldier catalyzed the incident by cursing the child and his mother.
“The boy went home upset and later returned with a gourd scraper. He came close to the [police officer] and then the [policeman] grabbed him. The incident was in the plaza of the mosque in one of the corners, near the boy’s house,” the witness said.
Even suggesting the 3-year-old was attempting to attack the soldiers is ludicrous given that a toddler is hardly a threat to heavily armed and extensively trained troops.
The incident provides evidence of an integral part of military occupation: the frequent detainment of Palestinian children by Israeli forces. Israeli forces in the West Bank have arrested 10,000 Palestinians between ages 12 and 17 since 2000, according to human rights organization Defence for Children International. As of February, 356 Palestinians are being detained or imprisoned by Israel, according to AJ+.
The melodramatic narrative publicized by Israel to justify its treatment of a toddler, which depicts the soldiers as victims, puts into question other rationalizations offered when Israel explains its policies and actions toward Palestinians.