Israel's military has detained and tried more than 800 Palestinian youths and children over the past five years for throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, jailing most of them, said a report released today. The Israeli rights group B'Tselem counted 835 minors who were charged with rock throwing from 2005 through early 2011, including 34 children who were 13 years old or younger. A military spokeswoman said 160 civilians and soldiers were wounded in violent attacks by minors during that period—out of those injuries, 10 were wounded by rocks.
In one case, Israeli forces first seized an 8-year-old boy, before determining they were trying to apprehend his older brother. Troops then handcuffed the 9-year-old brother, blindfolded him, and took him to a detention center where he was interrogated and held for five hours, according to the report. Israel has complained for decades about Palestinian children taking part in often violent demonstrations, charging that they are being exploited. Many Palestinian parents see their children as young fighters resisting Israel's occupation of the West Bank. "We are talking about minors that actually use rocks and explosive devices to target Israeli civilians and soldiers," the military spokeswoman said.