Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament, can be heard shouting in Hebrew, “He’s a boy, you should be ashamed,” as he tries to intervene.
The attack on the child came as thousands of people protested on 30 November, in a “day of rage” against the Prawer Plan.
This is a scheme currently making its way through the Israeli parliament to force tens of thousands of Bedouins, who are nominally citizens of Israel, off their land in the Naqab (Negev).
Israel plans to raze dozens of Bedouin “unrecognized villages” – which are denied state services – and replace them with Jewish settlements.
The Prawer Plan is a “calculated and premeditated plan to sever the historical ties that bind Bedouin Palestinian communities to their land,” the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) said in a statement offering support for the protests.
It “reveals once again the colonial nature of Zionism and the apartheid character of the Israeli state,” the BNC added, urging an escalation of global civil society campaigns to pressure Israel to end its violations of Palestinian rights.
Yet despite the protests, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres have vowed that the forced removals will proceed.
Protest crackdownIn the Naqab, where the video was shot, Ma’an News Agency reported that a thousand activists raised Palestinian flags and anti-Prawer slogans in Hura village:
Dozens of Israeli police and police officers on horseback used batons and water cannons to disperse protesters, according to a Ma’an reporter on the scene.
Protesters responded by throwing rocks at police officers, who detained a number of protestors.
Tibi told the Israeli publication +972 that the police were violent and aggressive.
+972 reported that Tibi “says he saw Mistaarvim (special Israeli undercover units disguised as Arabs) arresting the child and instinctively tried to grab and pull him free, but was prevented from doing so.”
“The whole world is now seeing this picture,” Tibi said in reference to the images of the boy being arrested. “They will all see this, and that is good.” Tibi also tweeted an image:
Child beaten in police car
The attack on the child seen in the video was unprovoked, according to another eyewitness, Aram Mahamid, a lawyer from Adalah, the legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel.
Mahamid told +972 that police arrested the child because they claim he held – not threw – a stone, and because he supposedly attacked a police officer. +972 cast doubt on this, saying the claim “seems absurd considering the size of the policemen and gear they are strapped into, compared with this scrawny little kid.”
Mahamid told +972 that he saw with his own eyes the child being dragged by police and then beaten after he was already inside the car, in police custody. At the time of this report, Mahamid said the child had been held in the Be’er Sheva police station since the previous night, left handcuffed in the hallway for almost the entire time and was forced to sleep on the floor.
Mahamid said the child will see a judge Sunday afternoon and that in the meantime, Adalah is submitting a complaint to the Department for the Investigation of Police (DIP).
Asked about the violent and illegal arrest of this child, and the conditions he was held in, Mahamid said, ”Yesterday was a day they [the police] decided there are no laws.”
Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Israeli “minister of public security,” justified the police crackdown and brutality, accusing those protesting against the ethnic cleansing of the Naqab of being “rioters.”
“I strongly condemn the extreme violence employed by rioters against the police,” the Hebrew-language website Israel Hayom quoted him as saying.
“The Israel Police are prepared to allow legal and legitimate protest, but when there is so much violence against police officers, it is clear that the purpose of the rioters is neither legitimate not legal. Israel Police will apply the law against all the violent rioters and those who attacked and injured police officers,” he claimed.
Netanyahu echoed the determination to stamp out opposition. “We will try the offenders to the full extent of the law. We will not tolerate such riots. We shall continue to advance the Prawer Bill,” he told Israeli media.
Khalid Anabtawi, one of those arrested in Haifa and released this morning, is a staffer for Jamal Zahalka, the leader of the Balad party. Two others released from jail have been placed under house arrest and banned from using social media, Arabs 48 reported.
Israeli police have asked for court orders to extend the detention of some thirty other detainees, Arabs 48 added.
Jalal AbuKhater, a student and blogger for The Electronic Intifada, participated in a solidarity protest along with dozens of others in Dundee, Scotland:In London, a new direct action-focused Palestine solidarity group erected a “settlement” across the road from the Israeli embassy.
The photography collective Activestills and +972 jointly published a liveblog that features more images of the protests from across historic Palestine, including in Jerusalem, as well as in several other countries, including Belgium and Germany.
Note: An earlier version of this post gave the age of the child arrested and brutalized as 12. +972 reports that he is 14. This has been corrected.