RAMALLAH: Footage has emerged of Israeli Defense Forces personnel in Hebron forcing a Palestinian child to destroy a plastic toy pistol he received to celebrate Eid in exchange for permission to pass through a checkpoint at Shuhada Street on Sunday.
Palestinian activists circulated the video on social media, in which the nine-year-old boy, along with his father and two young brothers, were told by an IDF officer to destroy the plastic toy if they wanted to cross the checkpoint.
Ibrahim Melhem, a spokesman for the Palestinian government, told Arab News that the incident reflected a series of Israeli military measures that targeted Palestinian children, whether by killing them, arresting, injuring or intimidating them, or even restricting their right to play during Eid Al-Fitr.
“They are trying to narrow the space for joy and spread terror and fear among children, especially on holidays, while dozens of Palestinian children are being killed just to satisfy their desire to kill children,” Melhem said, calling on the UN to investigate the issue.
Dozens of settlers live among Palestinian families in Hebron, while the IDF provides security for settlers. However, it often abuses Palestinian citizens who pass through its military checkpoints.
“This behavior of the Israeli forces reflects the core policies of the state of Israel, which is based on suppressing and oppressing the Palestinian people and denying them, especially children, their right to dream of a better future,” said a statement from the political department of Hamas in Gaza.
“It shows how much Palestinian people are suffering under Israel’s occupation, even in simple circumstances and celebrations. This is state terrorism.”
The child’s father said: “This is what’s happening with the children of Al-Shuhada Street. The Israeli soldier refused to give him the toy until he destroyed it completely and made it useless.
“The kid was celebrating Eid like other kids in the city. According to the Israeli military officer, the kids living in Al-Shuhada Street do not have the right to play or celebrate Eid.
“This is the law of the Israeli government, as explained to the child by the Israeli military officer at the checkpoint.”
Palestinians say that targeting and killing Palestinian children constituted a consistent policy followed by the Israeli political and military leadership and was approved at the highest levels.
The human rights organizations in Palestine have documented the killing of 2,094 children at the hands of the IDF since 2000.
According to Palestinian sources, the IDF killed 61 Palestinian children in 2022 (44 children in the West Bank and 17 in the Gaza Strip), while dozens were arrested and are still languishing in Israeli jails.