Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

IDF

Israeli soldiers forced a group of 13 Palestinian children to pose for photographs on September 3, 2021 in the illegally occupied West Bank city of Hebron. (Photo: B'Tselem/screen grab)

'Morally Repugnant': Video Shows Israeli Troops Waking, Photographing Palestinian Kids

One Israeli human rights group said the incident illustrates "how arbitrarily the routine of the lives of Palestinians living under occupation is disrupted, and how easily soldiers violate their rights."

Brett Wilkins

Human rights groups this week reacted with outrage to video footage showing Israeli troops forcing Palestinian children from their slumber and photographing them outside their family home—an act that Israel's military admits was "not proper."

"It seems that for the army, all Palestinians, including boys and girls of elementary school age, are potential criminals."

The footage, first published Wednesday by the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, captures an incident that occurred on September 3 in the unlawfully occupied West Bank city of Hebron. The recording shows Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers ordering adult Palestinians to wake the frightened children, 13 of whom are gathered into a group and then told to "say cheese" before being photographed outside the home.

A woman in the home asks the troops, "Do you like when the soldiers come and take pictures [of] your kids?"

One of the Israeli soldiers explains that the children are being photographed "because they're throwing stones here," a reference to the futile yet symbolic act of Palestinian youth hurling rocks at heavily armored IDF vehicles.

B'Tselem said that the video shows "how arbitrarily the routine of the lives of Palestinians living under occupation is disrupted, and how easily soldiers violate their rights."

"It seems that for the army, all Palestinians, including boys and girls of elementary school age, are potential criminals—they are allowed to wake them up at any time at night, enter their house and conduct a lineup," the group added.

The London-based, pro-Israel Jewish group Yachad U.K. called the incident "morally repugnant."

Dylan Williams, senior vice president of the U.S.-based pro-Israel lobby group J Street, said the troops committed "a violation of international law."

"If any of the arms or equipment used by Israeli forces during this were U.S.-sourced, it's also a violation of U.S. law," he added.

According to the IDF, the home was invaded following a stone-throwing incident at the nearby illegal Israeli settler colony of Kiryat Arba.

"During the incident, minors were photographed by the officer to identify the stone-throwers," an IDF official said, according to The Times of Israel.

"This officer's conduct was not proper," the army official added. "The officer has received a reprimand on his conduct, and procedures will be sharpened among the forces to prevent the recurrence of similar cases."

In what the IDF called "intelligence mapping," troops entered the homes of Palestinians who are not suspected of any wrongdoing at night in order to gain knowledge of the buildings' residents and layouts. In June, the IDF announced it would significantly curtail the controversial practice.

Earlier this month, Common Dreams reported that the IDF veterans' group Breaking the Silence revealed a sweeping IDF West Bank surveillance operation in which troops are using facial recognition technology integrated with ubiquitous security cameras and smartphones to compile a database of as many Palestinians as possible.

To build the database, IDF soldiers held competitions to see who could take the most photos of Palestinians, including children. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted that it is illegal for IDF troops to photograph minors.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Reckless Misuse of Resources': House Approves $778 Billion Military Budget

"There was no CBO score needed. No concern about the deficit. No mention of inflation," said Rep. Jamaal Bowman.

Jake Johnson ·


Senate Dems Help Torpedo Resolution That Would Have Blocked $650 Million Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

"My simple question is, why in the world would the United States reward a regime that has caused such pain in Yemen with more weapons," Sanders asked after the vote. "The answer is we should not."

Brett Wilkins ·


Amnesty Scorecard Finds Twitter Failing to Protect Women From Online Abuse

"As our world has become increasingly dependent on digital spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic, it's critical that Twitter meet this moment with demonstrated commitment to improving the online experiences of all users, regardless of their identity."

Jessica Corbett ·


Filibuster Reform for Debt Ceiling Fight But Not Voting Rights or Reproductive Freedom?

"If our senators are willing to suspend the filibuster to protect our economy, they should be willing to suspend it to protect our democracy and our freedom to vote."

Jessica Corbett ·


As Senate Holds Guantánamo Hearing, Biden Urged to 'Finally End This Chapter of Injustice'

"Guantánamo is a centerpiece of the forever wars. It is a shameful symbol of racial injustice, torture, and violations of the Constitution and international law."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo