Palestinian throwing stones at Israeli border police 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
A 14-year-old boy with dual US-Palestinian citizenship who was accused of
throwing stones at cars in the West Bank went before a military court on
The case has cast a spotlight on the hundreds of Palestinian
minors detained by the military for stone-throwing.
The IDF says that the
age of detainees is irrelevant when set against the fact that throwing stones
can kill, but human rights groups have condemned such jailings
Muhammad Khalak was accused, along with two other youths, of
pelting both military and civilian vehicles outside the village of
The case was adjourned until next week.
Abdulwahab accused the United States of not doing enough to help his
“The US government is obligated to do something for us, but it
doesn’t even care. They’ve lost the issue somewhere in their back pocket,” he
said, adding that consular authorities had visited the boy but not promised any
The US Consulate in Jerusalem declined to comment, citing American
privacy laws. A US State Department spokesman in Washington on Wednesday said he
was unaware of the case.
Abdulwahab said his son, born in New Orleans,
was maltreated and had his teeth braces broken during the course of his arrest
in the early hours of April 5 in which, he said, heavily armed soldiers entered
the family home.
The IDF declined to comment on the
Defense of Children International, a human rights group,
says that there are 236 Palestinian minors aged 12-17 among a total 4,800
Palestinians in Israeli jails.
“The Israeli military’s treatment of
Muhammad Khalak is appalling and all too common,” said Bill Van Esveld, a
researcher for Human Rights Watch.
“There’s no justification for...
shackling him for 12 hours and interrogating him while refusing to let him see
his father or a lawyer.”
Stones thrown by Palestinians at an Israeli
vehicle outside Ariel last month caused a car crash that left a three-year-old
critically injured. In 2011, Palestinian youths hit the car of American- born
settler Yonatan Palmer with rocks outside Hebron, killing him and his infant
“These kinds of events show you that throwing stones is not a game –
it endangers innocent lives,” said an IDF spokesman. “The thrower’s age doesn’t
change the fact that these objects kill, and it’s something we take
Israeli military law in place in the West Bank prescribes a
maximum of 20 years in jail for throwing rocks at vehicles, though offenders
usually receive much shorter terms.
Palestinians complain that they face
regular stone-throwing by settlers and say that soldiers seldom intervene, even
when they witness the incidents.
At the end of last month, Palestinian
officials said two Palestinian school buses were hit by settlers throwing
stones, leaving seven children lightly wounded.
Two Palestinian teenagers
throwing Molotov cocktails at soldiers died during clashes between protesters
and troops last week, as popular resentment against the IDF and its detention
system led to weeks of street protests.
“Look at this oppression – a big,
strong army has nothing to do but harass little kids? Is this justice? Is this
peace?” said Ali Hamed as he watched his 16-year-old son Imad, another suspect
from Silwad accused of stone-throwing, in the courtroom dock on