The IDF entered damage control mode Wednesday over an incident in which an Arab child – apparently about six years old – was detained for an hour or two by IDF soldiers after he threw rocks near the Cave of Machpela in Hevron.
A video shot by the leftist B'tselem group shows the soldiers taking the boy, Wadi' Maswada, to his parents' home. The soldiers reportedly waited there until the arrival of the boy's father, Karim Maswada, some 30 minutes later. The boy and his father were then taken to the IDF's command center nearby and handed over to Palestinian Authority police.
Throughout the event, the boy is accompanied by an Arab youth who holds his hand, and who appears to be his relative.
B'tselem has filed a complaint about the incident, noting that it is illegal to detain children under the age of 12.
The IDF Spokesman told Haaretz: “We are sorry to say that B'tselem has chosen to dissminate videos of this type to the media in a biased way, before learning the details from the IDF. The minor was throwing rocks at a road in Hevron. An IDF force detained the minor, took him to his parents and transferred him to the Palestinian Authority police, so that they can process the case in an orderly fashion.”
Maariv's noted columnist, Ben Dror Yemini, wrote about the incident, which predictably received much attention in Israeli and foreign media: “On the day in which an Israeli soldier detained a Palestinian boy, another 100 people were killed in Syria, most of them innocents. That is the daily average. It is possible that some 'fighter' from one of the jihadist groups beheaded three women. In Nigeria, Somalia or Mali, dozens of children were slaughtered, or died of hunger.
"But there is a great difference between all of those horrors and the child who was detained in Hevron,” Yemini noted. “130,000 children died of starvation in Somalia because the jihadists decided not to transfer food to them. The story hardly reached the world's press, and even when it did, the coverage was marginal.”
"As far as human rights or children's rights are concerned,” he explained, “the problem is that the story about the child detained in Hevron will receive much more coverage than the starving to death of 130,000 children.” The overabundance of cameras recording every single misstep by the IDF therefore causes a moral aberration, he added.