Israeli forces used a 17-year-old Palestinian as a human shield while trying to disperse a protest in Abu Dis in the West Bank this Friday, the Electronic Intifada website reported.
Independent journalist Huthifa Jamous took pictures of the incident and shared a video shot by another observer, Kate A, a journalist, on his Facebook page.
The boy, called Muhammad R. by Electronic Intifada, is marched out of an armoured vehicle by Israeli forces. With his hands tied with a single plastic cord and raised above his head, and his shirt pulled up, he is led out to face out-of-frame protestors.
Three soldiers then raise their weapons, and shoot twice in the direction of the protesters. The youth is then forced back to the vehicle. One of the soldiers then flashes the V-for-victory sign.
According to the Jerusalem Media Center and Ma'an news agency, the incident occurred when at least 500 Palestinians in Abu Dis held a protest expressing solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. Israeli forces fired teargas and rubber bullets at them. The protestors responded by hurling stones and empty bottles.
Clashes continued for up to five hours.
Muhammad was later transferred to the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim in the West Bank for interrogation, where the soldiers roughed him up, the Defence for Children International-Palestine Section (DCI-Palestine) said. His father caught up with him at the police station and saw Muhammed struggling to stand on his right leg. His face was also bruised, the father added.
After questioning, Muhammad was taken to Ofer prison in the West Bank, his lawyer, Shadi Zaatreh told DCI-Palestine.
This incident does not mark the first time children and teenagers have been used as human shields.
In February, nine-year-old Mustafa Wahdan was used a human shield for several hours while being held at gunpoint throughout a confrontation outside Ramallah.
The use of human shields is prohibited by international humanitarian law, and was outlawed by an Israeli court in 2005. DCI-Palestine, however, has documented 21 such cases by Israeli forces, 20 of them occurring after 2005.
Two Israel soldiers were tried for the same crime after the 2008/9 incursion into Gaza, but were given symbolic sentences, according to the Electronic Intifada website.