Does the child pictured above look like a danger to you?
He does to Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem who woke him up in the middle of the night intending to arrest him, his dad says.
Milk and diapers
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center reports today in Arabic:
Amid their frenzied campaign of arresting children in Jerusalem, Israeli forces raided the home of Zine al-Majid in the Saadia area of the Old City last week in order to arrest his son Muhammad, who is four years old.
The boy’s father told Wadi Hilweh Information Center:
“A big force raided our house at dawn on Thursday, and demanded to know the names of my children. So I told them and they said, ‘we have an arrest order for Muhammad.’ I was shocked and asked one of them if he was sure. Muhammad is only four years old! But the officer was not convinced and asked me to wake him up, and after he saw him he backed down from carrying out the arrest.
The father added: “I told the officer, ‘you want to arrest him; should I send milk and diapers with him?’”
He said that the officer questioned him about his son and his son’s friends and if he was in the neighborhood, under the pretext that an Israeli settler had been injured. He threatened to summon and interrogate the child if the accusations were established.
While Israeli detention of children so young is infrequent, it is not unprecendented.
Last year, in the village of Kufr Qaddoum Israeli occupation forces attempted to arrest Mo’men Shtayeh who was two-and-a-half years old.
More often, occupation forces target children who are just a little bit older. A harrowing video of Israeli occupation forces arresting several boys in Hebron earlier this year gave a glimpse into the everyday violence faced by Palestinian children living under Israeli military rule.
And Muslim Odeh, profiled by The Electronic Intifada last year, had been arrested 10 times and physically abused by Israeli occupation forces.
His age? Twelve.
Human rights organizations, including B’Tselem, report that Palestinian children are routinely tortured and habitually threatened with rape by their Israeli captors, among other horrifying abuses.
Odeh, like little Muhammad al-Majid, lives in the eastern occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, whose inhabitants are being systematically pushed out by government-backed settlers in order to build more Jewish-only colonies.
Israeli occupation forces frequently accuse Palestinian children of throwing stones at the settlers or occupation forces.
In February 2012, occupation forces destroyed a newly completed community center, described as “the only place for children in Silwan.”
As Israel continues its effort to drive Jerusalemites out of their city, even the children who bear the brunt of its violence are determined to stay.
Tayma Fteiheh, 13, a Silwan schoolgirl who writes rap songs, described what life was like for children in the area in a recent video from Defense for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI).
“All the houses here are under threat of demolition [by Israel] so that the settlers can build a park for their children,” Tayma said. “They want to throw Palestinian families on the streets so that they can build parks for their own children.”
“My dream is like the dream of any Palestinian kid,” she added. “It is to live in safety and not in the shadow of colonization, and not to feel crushed every time I leave the house.”
For children like four-year-old Muhammad al-Majid, there is no safety even inside their houses, as Israeli occupation forces can invade any time of day or night.
As of 30 September, 179 Palestinian children were imprisoned and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system, according to DCI.