AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– A video leaked on Thursday evening by the Israeli B’tselem rights group kept record of Israel’s torture of 20 Palestinian children in al-Khalil city a few days earlier. According to B’tselem, the Israeli occupation claimed the children were detained after an Israeli bus was hurled with stones in al-Khalil on Tuesday. B’tselem said the Israeli occupation soldiers arbitrarily arrested 20 Palestinian minors near the Jaber neighborhood after they ordered them to stand against a wall. Testimonies given to B’Tselem and footage filmed by B’Tselem volunteer Suzan Zraqo, who lives in the neighborhood, indicate that the soldiers passed through the neighborhood, gathering, seemingly at random, some twenty children and teens from the streets. The soldiers had them stand against a wall and began questioning them about an incident that occurred in the area earlier that day, in which stones were thrown at an Israeli bus. They then took a photo of every child and teen using a mobile phone. B’Tselem obtained the details of fourteen of these minors, seven of whom are under the age of twelve – the cutoff age for criminal liability. Fourteen-year-old neighborhood resident M.G. gave his account of the events to B’Tselem field researcher Manal Ja’bri on 29 May 2016: “It was after dark. I was playing cards outside with two friends, who are seven and ten years old, and my brother, who is eleven. Suddenly, we were surrounded by Israeli jeeps and lots of soldiers got out of them. Ten of them came over and detained us, and the others spread out along the roads that lead off towards Kiryat Arba.” “The soldiers told us to stand against the wall. We were frightened by the number of soldiers and because they’d detained us,” the child added. “Every group of soldiers was leading several children. I also saw soldiers grab N., who is seven years old, by the neck and lead him toward us. He was crying. They kept us there by the wall for about fifteen minutes,” he further stated. This is not the first instance that B’Tselem has documented soldiers torturing minors in al-Khalil. Several of these incidents have occurred within homes, with the children’s parents present. Given the soldiers’ conduct in this incident, it appears that their goal was primarily to intimidate the children. This demonstrates blatant disregard for the military’s duty to protect the rights of minors. The legality of this course of action is doubtful: the military is prohibited from treating civilians – certainly minors, and especially those under the age of criminal liability – as potential criminals and using soldiers to deter them, the B’tselem statement read.
(Source / 03.06.2016)