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WATCH: Israeli soldiers break into Palestinian school, arrest 10-year-old

Fully armed soldiers enter the school in occupied Hebron, threaten teachers, and take away a child they likely exceeded their authority to arrest because of his age.

By Meron Rapoport

Fully armed Israeli soldiers forced their way into a Palestinian school in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron and took away a 10-year-old boy this week. The age of criminal culpability is 12 years old under both Israeli civilian and military law.

While the soldiers likely exceeded their authority in this case, it would hardly be the first time that has happened. Israeli soldiers have been documented arresting and detaining far-younger Palestinian children over the years, particularly in Hebron.

The incident this week took place at the Haj Ziad Jaber School in of Hebron, a city in the West Bank where hundreds of Israeli soldiers are permanently stationed alongside hundreds of Jewish settlers and tens of thousands of Palestinians.

While the Jewish settlers living in the same city are subject to Israeli civilian law, Palestinians, even those living on the same street, are subject to military law and can be arrested by Israeli troops — a foreign army — at any time.

According to a report in Ma’an News, which published a video of the incident, the soldiers forced their way into the school and snatched the child from his classroom. On its Facebook page, the school wrote that the boy is a fourth grader.

In the video, an Israeli army officer can be seen grabbing the boy, who appears very young. A few Palestinian adults, including the school’s vice principal, try and stop the soldiers from taking the child.

Another Israeli soldier can be seen pushing an older Palestinian man, who Ma’an identified as the vice principal. When yet another Palestinian educator tries explaining to the soldiers that these were small children, the Israeli officer responds in Hebrew, “they threw stones, I don’t care how old they are,” adding that he would take them to an Israeli police station.

When the vice principal asks the Israeli soldiers to explain what is happening in Arabic, the army officer responds, again in Hebrew: “I don’t give a crap about your Arabic.”



Most Palestinians do not speak Hebrew and the vast majority of Israeli soldiers, even those in roles that require them to interact with the occupied Palestinian population on a daily basis, do not speak Arabic.

At a certain point in the video, the Israeli officer is seen speaking into his radio, ordering more soldiers to enter the school, saying “there are teachers jumping all over me.” Another soldier then threatens to break the arm of another of the Palestinian educators.

When one of the Palestinian educators asks to speak with a higher-ranking Israeli officer, the officer who originally forced his way into the school to detain the small child responds, “talk to whoever you want, I don’t give a crap.”

Eventually, after the Israeli army reinforcements filled the elementary school’s hallways, each clutching an assault rifle, the soldiers take away the 10-year-old Palestinian child and at least one of the adults.

According to Ma’an, “local sources” said that Palestinian authorities attempted to intervene at that point and that the boy was released some time later.

Gaby Lasky, an Israeli attorney who specializes in human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, said that because the age of criminal culpability is 12, “the soldiers did not have the authority to arrest the boy.”

“Every soldier, and definitely every officer, should know that there is no legal authority to arrest or put on trial a child of that age,” Lasky explained. Even entering school grounds during school hours with weapons, without a warrant, and without coordinating with the school’s administration, is something that should be forbidden. Usually, she said, even the army avoids doing so.

Lasky said she planned to file a complaint against the soldiers for entering the school grounds and arresting the young child

An Israeli army spokesperson responded by claiming that a group of students had thrown stones toward Israeli cars in the Jewish settlement in Hebron, and that following that incident, a “[military] force conducted a warning chat with the pupils, but they were not arrested.”

Nevertheless, the spokesperson added, “the incident will be investigated and regulations will be clarified accordingly.”

Meron Rapoport is an editor at Local Call, where a version of this article first appeared in Hebrew. Read it here.

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    1. Carmen

      Because nothing is more terrifying to the IOF than 10-year-old schoolchildren. ‘At a certain point in the video, the Israeli officer is seen speaking into his radio, ordering more soldiers to enter the school, saying “there are teachers jumping all over me.” Another soldier then threatens to break the arm of another of the Palestinian educators.’ Oh right, except for the teachers trying to protect the children. Bloody cowards.

      Reply to Comment
      • A'MAAL

        Why are Isrealy Soldiers doing that.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tommy Goldberg

          Because they consider Palestinians (I’m sorry, “fakestinians”) less than fully human. Certainly not human in the same way as Jews. You don’t do this stuff to human kids.

          Don’t believe me? Watch some video of Israeli soldiers reacting (in very calm and measured ways) to (adult!) Jewish settlers throwing stones at them.

          Reply to Comment
      • George

        Children don’t just throw stones at authority figures. They’re learning it from adults. Why aren’t these kids more interested in their studies?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Yeah, George, sure, I mean, if foreign soldiers brutally occupied San Francisco or Poughkeepsie or Omaha for fifty years, I’m sure those American kids would just buckle down and get interested in their studies. Cuz, what occupation, right? If we normalize the occupation, condescend and totally lack a shred of empathy then of course those kids are abnormal aren’t they?

          You are an Exhibit in the case that Israelis and their right wing American supporters live in a bubble of unreality, live in a smug, supremacist cocoon of ignorance, condescension, occupier’s logic, and racism.

          Reply to Comment
        • Aron

          While working in the west-bank I had stones thrown at me multiple time by settler children and their parents who were angry I took a picture of them while throwing stones at Palestinians for the sole reason they were Palestinian. I saw adult settlers throwing stones at palestinian school children. All this in full view of the IDF who did absolutely nothing until a Palestinian retaliated, then that Palestinian was abruptly arrested for stone throwing and endangering the jewish settlers.

          This happens every single day. Most frequently on the Sabbath though, because they can’t work or do anything, but they are for some reason allowed to go out and throw rocks at Palestinians.

          These illegal settlers are extremely dangerous and violent, even towards the IDF sometimes. But the IDF protects them even if they see with their own eyes when those monsters do what ever they want.

          I urge you to go to the West Bank and witness this with your own eyes. You’ll soon see that every single preconceived notions you have against Palestinians is wrong, and that the it is truly and demonstrably the Israelis that are the bad guy in this conflict.

          So yeah, they are learning it from someone. They are learning it from the Israelis. The only difference is that there are absolutely no consequence for the jewish population, while Palestinian CHILDREN get arrested.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Well. Aron tells the truth, the real story, and that truth never ever gets reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, the Miami Herald. Reporting like Aron’s and like +972’s will not get past an editor for these papers or any mainstream American newspaper. If they are ever in the first place putting a reporter on the ground like Aron or like any number of +972 journalists. They never do.

            They are too afraid. Leaving the vast majority of the American public wallowing in ignorance and prejudice, or fundamentalist Christian fervor (that is at its root profoundly anti-Semitic).

            Right wing Israel operates inside a protective cocoon sustained by the respectable western world’s persistent guilt-ridden, politically correct, residual fear of criticizing Jews, and its inability to effectively make intelligent and honest distinctions about this.

            Right wing Israelis like to rant against political correctness without realizing that the West’s kid glove treatment of Israel and the world’s fear of confronting Israel in any meaningful way is itself a form of destructive political correctness.

            As Larry Derner has convincingly explained, Israel gets a special pass no one else gets:

            The world’s blatant double standard – in Israel’s favor

            Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      Tommy Goldberg is right. Just look at the video, folks. Look at the imperious, brutal army troop, the lord of the land, dragging away a child, a tiny little fourth grader with his backpack of schoolbooks, and shoving the teachers who try to protect the child. Look at the contempt for non-Jews. In Hebron, the same size fourth grader, but Jewish, would order that same army troop around and the soldier would not dream of laying a hand on the Jewish settler kid. Would not dream of it. And there would be hell to pay if he did.

      This is apartheid. Nothing will change without outside forceful intervention.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bruce Gould

      Part of the problem is that people don’t understand what “military occupation” means, their eyes glaze over when they read that phrase. But the people who crafted the U.S. constitution understood what military occupation means – consider the fourth amendment: “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”

      Or the third amendment: “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner..” Or the posse comitatus act of 1878 – where do people think all this stuff comes from?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Guest

      Why are Isrealy Soldiers doing that.

      Reply to Comment
    5. and some scriptures have mentioned these savages racist to be God´s preferred´s people,
      and it must have been a monumental error

      Reply to Comment
    6. Nathanael

      The IDF is basically the Gestapo. Netenyahu follows the path of his teacher, Hitler.

      Reply to Comment