Israeli human rights group B’Tselem today released two harrowing videos of heavily armed Israeli soldiers raiding the bedrooms of Palestinian children in the middle of the night.
The first video, above, is titled “Night search of Sameeh and Mai D’ana’s home, Hebron, 24 February 2015.”
The video was shot during a night raid on ten homes in the occupied West Bank city. B’Tselem does not say who shot the video, but typically the videos it releases are made by Palestinians.
After forcing the children – at least one as young as four – out of their beds, the video shows the soldiers in full combat gear, armed with rifles and hand grenades, photographing and interrogating them.
The father asks the soldiers why they are invading his home in the middle of the night.
“Because stones are thrown at us all day long,” one soldier replies.
“What’s that to us?” the father asks. “I don’t have to explain my schedule,” the soldier shouts and orders the father to “go wake up your children.”
We see the soldiers follow the father into the room and order the children – one of whom is visually impaired – out of bed.
The soldiers then interrogate the children, including the four-year-old.
“Do you think he understands?” the father asks.
“Yes, I think so,” the soldier says. A short time later the soldiers leave.
This video is titled “Night search of Nayef and Dalal D’ana’s home, Hebron, 24 February 2015.”
It shows the soldiers forcing their way into a home and shouting to wake everyone up, demanding their ID cards.
The mother protests that the children are young and asleep. The soldier shouts at her, “Get them all here.”
The mother tries to persuade the soldier, telling him the children will be terrorized, but the assault on the home continues and the soldiers enter a bedroom occupied by the family’s sleeping children.
Frequent night raids
Such night raids are a frequent occurence.
In 2013, more than half of Palestinian children detained in the occupied West Bank were taken from their homes in the middle of the night, according to Defence for Children International–Palestine.
The children’s rights group estimates that annually 500-700 Palestinian children are prosecuted in Israeli military courts after being arrested, interrogated and detained by occupation forces.
These disturbing scenes underscore that many more children who are not arrested are nonetheless subjected to traumatizing assaults in the very place they should feel safest.
B’Tselem has posted more information about the videos and testimonies from the parents on its website.
They also provide an insight into what Palestinians live and have lived through for decades with no respite in sight as Israel continues to enjoy immunity and impunity for its violations.
“Not only is this policy of entering Palestinian homes by night unjust and terrifying,” B’Tselem says in its description of the video, “it illustrates how casually and arbitrarily the lives of Palestinians under occupation are disrupted and their rights violated.”
B’Tselem “calls on the military to discontinue this policy without delay.”
B’Tselem should call for those who perpetrate these harrowing attacks and those who order them to be brought to justice.
These videos depicting systematic violence against children should also give pause to the UN officials who are allegedly sabotaging moves to have Israel’s army included on a UN list of serious violators of children’s rights.