An Israeli human rights group on Wednesday released footage of Israel Defense Force soldiers waking Palestinian children in the night to photograph them outside a house in the West Bank city of Hebron.
In the footage published by B’Tselem, the soldiers are seen telling adults at the house to wake up the children, marshaling around 12 children into a group and taking photos of them, apparently in violation of the law.
Some of the children appear to be kindergarten age, with many confused and frightened after being woken up.
The adults protested the army presence and decision to take pictures of the children, but eventually comply with the soldiers’ orders and try to calm the children.
The soldier has the children say “cheese” before taking their photo with a cell phone.
“No,” says one of the mothers when the children begin to say “cheese.”
“How would you like it if soldiers came into your house and took pictures of your children?” she asked.
One of the soldiers in the video says they are photographing the children “because they’re throwing stones here.”
“The footage from Hebron illustrates how arbitrarily the routine of life of Palestinians living under occupation is disrupted, and how easily soldiers violate their rights,” B’Tselem said.
“It seems that for the army, all Palestinians, including boys and girls of elementary school age, are potential criminals — at any time they are allowed to be woken up at night, their homes entered and given an identification line up.”
The army said that soldiers had gone into the home following stone-throwing at the nearby Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba to identify the stone-throwers.
“During the incident, minors were photographed by the officer to identify the stone-throwers. This officer’s conduct was not proper,” the IDF said acknowledging the illegal act.
“The officer has received a reprimand on his conduct, and procedures will be sharpened among the forces to prevent the recurrence of similar cases,” the army said.