Israeli forces had earlier summoned four and six-year-old Palestinian children from the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds neighborhood of al-Issawiya after charging them with throwing stones at Tel Aviv military vehicles.
On Monday, a large number of police forces stormed the neighborhood in order to capture the child, identified as Mohammad Rabiaa Elayyan. They chased the child and when members from his family showed up, they were handed a warrant ordering them to bring him to the Israeli police station on Salaheddine Street for interrogation.
Mohammad and his father Rabiaa went to the Israeli police station on Tuesday morning, accompanied by fellow residents of Issawiya, who came to protest the interrogation warrant.
Palestine's official WAFA news agency reported that Rabiaa was briefly interrogated by Israeli police, and released shortly thereafter.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan also posted a video, showing the four-year-old Palestinian child crying as he is carried by his father, who enters the police station.
Later on Tuesday, Israeli police summoned Palestinian child Qais Firas Obaid and his father – residents of Issawiya – for interrogation, claiming that the young boy had thrown stones at Israeli soldiers. They both have to appear in Israeli police station on Wednesday.
Jawad Siam, director of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan, stated that the interrogation summons are part of a broader policy to exert pressure on Issawiya's residents.
“It’s a way to put pressure on the family, on the people. They know they cannot arrest them, they cannot put them in jail - but it’s a kind of terror against the children,” he commented, adding that residents of Issawiya have been under a lot of pressure to stop their acts of protest against regular raids and arrests by the Israeli army and police, and frequent home demolitions.
“It’s collective punishment against Issawiya. They want people there to give up to police. But the fact is that people do not want to welcome the police. It will not work. Especially after the killing of Mohammad Obaid, the village exploded much more than before. And still they’ve put pressure, they’ve put checkpoints, tickets, collective punishment. They think that if they teach [Issawiya residents] how to punish the children, they will also learn,” he said.
The age of criminal culpability in Israel — and under Israeli military law, which applies to Palestinians in the West Bank — is 12. The arrest of a minor under the age of 12 is illegal.
For the residents of Issawiyeh, a Palestinian village of some 20,000, and other parts of occupied East Jerusalem, military raids and building demolitions are a daily reality. The village is plagued by poor infrastructure, residents are constantly harassed by the Israeli Border Police and anyone, including children, run the risk of arbitrary arrest.