The International Solidarity Movement published footage from Tel Rumedia in Al-Khalil (Hebron) today showing a group of Israeli soldiers intimidating a group of children. One soldier, the one wearing a cap, pushes one young boy and grabs what appears to be the ear of a second boy before forcefully kicking him and knocking his head away. The ISM reports that this child is 12 years old.
When another child attempts to run from the assault, two soldiers, including the one with the hat, sprint after him and appear to corner him behind a wall. It is unclear what exactly they end up doing to the child, but as it happens, a group of Israeli settlers standing on the roof of a Palestinian home instigate the encounter.
We demand a formal inquiry into the abuse of these children. There is no reason why a soldier should need to shove or kick a child who poses no threat whatsoever to the soldier or to anyone else. If it were not for the boy’s reflexes, the boy could have suffered severe and even permanent injury based on where it seems the soldier had aimed his kick.
This is also not the first instance of abuse by the Israeli military, and if these situations continue to go uninvestigated and if these soldiers continue to go unpunished, this will certainly not be the last. Just days ago, footage from 2009 was made public for the first time showing Israeli soldier Michael Gershkowitz beating a group of Palestinian workers with his rifle as they waited for their employers outside of a Jewish-only settlement in the occupied West Bank. Violence against Palestinians rarely ever gets investigated or even taken to court. In the event of the 2009 assault, Gershkowitz did go to trial for his actions. However, as is invariably the case, he was only sentenced to two month in prison and four months of community service.