Israeli occupation soldiers detained five Palestinian children in the south Hebron hills on Wednesday, March 10, after settlers from an outpost illegally built on the land of Palestinian farmers complained that the kids were “trespassing” on the site.
The incident took place by the Havat Ma’on outpost. The five children — who range in age from eight to 13 — were reportedly held for three hours at the Kiryat Arba settlement police station in Hebron before being released.
Two of the children, aged 12 and 13, have been summoned for additional questioning on Sunday, according to their lawyer Gaby Lasky. The other three were released without further charges, Lasky told The Times of Israel. “They were walking and playing in the area, gathering wild plants,” said Lasky.
Hillel Garmi, an Israeli activist who was present at the scene, told The Times of Israel he had seen the children picking edible wild plants close to the area of the Havat Ma’on outpost, without apparently breaking into the area. “We watched a number of settlers descend the hill, they got closer to the kids, and the children fled towards the nearby [Palestinian] town of al-Rakiz,” said Garmi, who watched the incident from a neighboring hilltop. According to Garmi, the settlers set off in pursuit in a van. When the children saw them, they fled again, leaving behind buckets full of the edible plants they had gathered.
Later that afternoon, a number of army jeeps entered al-Rakiz searching for the “trespassing” children and detained them children on the spot.
Video captured by B’Tselem documenting occupation soldiers forcefully hauling away five Palestinian children and placing them in a military vehicle: https://www.facebook.com/btselem/videos/894742194623591/