The Israel Defense Forces’ detention of a five-year-old Palestinian boy in Hebron earlier this month was a legitimate step in order to “thwart the threat posed by the activities of a minor,” the IDF’s legal adviser in the West Bank has ruled.
Earlier in July, IDF soldiers were videotaped detaining five-year-old Wa’adi Maswada and his father in Hebron, after the boy allegedly threw a stone at an Israeli car. The IDF opened an investigation into the incident following a demand by the Israeli human rights watchdog B’Tselem.
In a letter that legal adviser Col. Ben Barak sent last week to B’Tselem’s executive director, Jessica Montell, he explains that “IDF soldiers and Israeli security personnel sometimes encounter situations where children under the age of 12, without any parental supervision, hurl stones at civilians, vehicles and members of the security forces and participate in actions that disrupt public order.”
The letter, a response to B’Tselem’s complaint, stated that, “It should be pointed out that such incidents create a significant hazard for passersby and for members of the security forces and can even pose a danger for the children themselves, who are not at the time under the supervision of the adults who are responsible for their welfare.”
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