What the Guardian didn’t tell you about Palestinian youths arrested in Hebron

On March 20, the Guardian’s ongoing Middle East Live blog included a dispatch titled ‘Children Arrested“.

Here is the complete forty-eight word post – which included a B’Tselem video:

The Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, has uploaded new footage of appearing to show Israeli soldiers arresting Palestinian children, some as young as eight, in Hebron.

It demanded an emergency intervention by the authorities to secure the release of some of the children it claims are still detained.

Here is the B’Tselem video they showed:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDaMlJVcMkA]

Further, if you open the video in YouTube, and look at B’Tselem’s description, here’s what you’ll read:

B’Tselem this morning urgently contacted the Army’s Legal Advisor for Judea and Samaria, demanding his emergency intervention regarding the detention of numerous children, including some as young as 8 to 10 years old, by the Israeli military this morning in Hebron. Preliminary information received this morning indicates that Soldiers detained or arrested over twenty minors on their way to school. About ten of them were released. The video was filmed by an international activist.

The Guardian reader – as well as those who came across the story on B’Tselem’s YouTube Channel, and at other news sites which reported the story – would be forgiven for believing that Israeli security forces arbitrarily arrested innocent Palestinian children on their way to school.

However, here’s the rest of the story – the full picture which the Guardian will likely never report:

Per IDF Spokesperson Barak Raz:

On the morning of March 20, 2013, following near daily rock throwing at civilians passing by and security forces positioned in the area, the perpetrators of the rock throwing were apprehended and detained during such an incident. 27 were detained, of whom 7 were transferred to the police and 20 were released.

Contrary to reports and footage of children being “arrested on their way to school,” THIS is the complete picture of what really happened and what, in fact, led to that arrest .

As we said that morning, this arrest was carried out in real-time during an incident of rock throwing, and following similar incidents that had occurred almost daily.

Unfortunately, we experienced technical difficulties that morning with retrieving the footage, but we did make it very clear that footage made available from that incident only showed the arrest, and not what had led to it. The fact that we had such footage was also made very clear that morning, despite the claims that were made.

Here’s the video Barak posted:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE0kHl0Ddow]

For those still under the illusion that rock throwing is not a serious matter, recall that  just yesterday, March 30, a 4-year-old boy was wounded when the car he was traveling in was pelted by rocks on Route 60 near Efrat.

On March 14, an Israeli woman and her daughters, ages 3, 4 and 5, were injured after a car accident in the West Bank caused by rocks thrown by Palestinians. The 3-year-old – whose injuries were the most critical – was not breathing when medics arrived at the scene, and had to be resuscitated with a mouth-to-mouth procedure.  The Five Palestinian suspects arrested by Israeli security forces, and who all confessed to the attack, were 16 and 17-year-old youths from Kfar Haras.

On January 16, “an Israeli child was injured when Palestinians heaved a rock through the windshield of the car he was riding in”.

Rocks result 2
Child injured in rock attack

In December, 2012, Palestinians threw rocks at a car on Route 505. One of the rocks − which was a full 12 centimeters wide and 19 centimeters long − “shattered the windshield and struck a 12-year-old girl, breaking her skull.”

One of the most serious recent attacks occurred in Sept. of 2011 when Palestinians rock throwers caused a crash which killed Asher Hillel Palmer, 25, and his one-year-old son Yonatan near Kiryat Arba.  

wreckage 2
The wreckage of the car Asher Palmer and his son were traveling in when they were killed in 2011.

The story about the murder of Jonathan and Asher was all but buried by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood, who, in a report which focused mainly on another incident, referred to the victims not by their names, but as “a settler and his infant son.”

Israeli security officials have noted an increase in recent months of such attacks against Israeli civilian targets and vehicles.  In 2013 there has already been 1,195 incidents of rock throwing. 

Four out of the six Israelis murdered by Arab rock throwers since 2000 were children. 

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