23 April 2004
This is what happened to a Palestinian child who joined teenagers throwing stones at Israeli border police.
Muhammad Badwan was grabbed by officers and tied by an arm to the grille covering the windscreen of their security vehicle (circled).
Last night the 13-year-old’s father said the police had illegally used his son as a human shield to try to stop demonstrators throwing stones at them.
‘When I saw him on the hood of the jeep, my whole mind went crazy, ‘ said Saeed Baswan, a 34-year-old labourer. ‘It’s a picture you can’t even imagine. He was shivering from fear.’
Muhammad said: ‘I was scared when they got me at first. I thought they would put me in prison. I was scared a stone would hit me.’
The incident happened in Muhammad’s home village of Biddo, north-west of Jurusalem, which has become a flashpoint for violence between Israeli forces and demonstrators protesting against the building of an Israeli security fence.
The picture was published by an Israeli human rights group trying to expose the behavior of some Israeli security personnel. Rabbi Arik Ascherman, director of Rabbis For Human Rights, heard about the boy and tried to intervene with the police, demanding he be released.
The rabbi claimed he was head-butted by one of the officers and arrested. He said he intended to press charges against the police.
‘The boy was sitting on the hood of a vehicle, unsuccessfully trying to hold back his tears, shivering with fright, and with one arm tied to the screen protecting the windshield,’ he said.
‘We tried to calm him down and reassure him. I asked if he was hurt. He said he had been beaten and was in pain.
‘It is very depressing that we have come to this position where this is what we do.’The Israeli police said they were investigating the incident.