||27 March 2018
||Al 'Arrub, West Bank
On 27 March 2018, an 11-year-old boy is detained by Israeli soldiers as he herds goats at 5:00 p.m. He reports being taken to a police station and questioned without being informed of his rights although he is below the age of criminal responsibility.
I was with a group of seven of my brothers and cousins on the land that belongs to my father near the Israeli military watchtower across from the camp. It was around 5:00 p.m. and we were herding goats and playing.
As we were playing and not paying attention the goats went too close to where the soldiers were. We tried to bring them back but the soldiers walked towards us and accused us of throwing stones at them. A group of soldiers carrying guns approached us and we were scared, especially my 4-year-old cousin who started to cry.
The soldiers forced me and the other boys to sit on some thorn bushes. They asked me what I was doing in the area and I told them I was herding goats. He asked me whether I threw stones at them and I told him I did not.
Then my older cousin, who is 20-years-old, saw that the soldiers had detained us and he went to speak to them. Five soldiers left us in the field and went to talk to my cousin and two remained to guard us.
My cousin’s attempt to get us released failed and the soldiers took me and the other boys to the back of a jeep where I sat on the floor. The jeep drove us to the police station in Etzion settlement.
At the police station the commander asked me what I was doing in the field and I explained to him. The commander did not allow me to use the toilet and I was freezing cold and shivering. He accused me of throwing stones at the soldiers. He did not say anything about my rights.
Then at around 11:00 p.m. I was taken in a police car and handed over to the Palestinian police. The Palestinian police took me and the other boys to the police station in Bethlehem and took a statement from me. My father was there and he took me home.
My mother was very happy to see me and she told me she went to the military watchtower when she heard the news and tried to get me released but the commander told her he wanted to keep me for a while “to scare the hell out of them” so that we don’t go to the fields anymore.
My father also told me that the Palestinian police wanted him to sign a document guaranteeing I will never go to the field but my father refused to sign this guarantee and told the police it was our land and that we had the right to be there.