Fact Check

Does Video Show Israeli Soldiers Detaining 5-Year-Old Palestinian Boy in November 2023?

"Now they are arresting children in name of self defence. Shame," one comment on X read.

Published Nov 22, 2023

 (X user @Resist_05)
Image Via X user @Resist_05
A video shared on X on Nov. 21, 2023, showed Israeli soldiers detaining a Palestinian boy during the 2023 Israel-Hamas conflict.

The video is authentic but dates back to 2013 and is unrelated to the 2023 conflict.

The protracted, often bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict exploded into a hot war on Oct. 7, 2023, when the militant Palestinian group Hamas launched a deadly attack on Israel and Israel retaliated by bombarding the Gaza Strip. More than 20,000 people, the vast majority of them Palestinians, were reportedly killed during the first two months of the war alone. The violence is driven by mutual hostilities and territorial ambitions dating back more than a century. The internet has become an unofficial front in that war and is rife with misinformation, which Snopes is dedicated to countering with facts and context. You can help. Read the latest fact checks. Submit questionable claims. Become a Snopes Member to support our work. We welcome your participation and feedback.

On Nov. 21, 2023, a video circulated on X (formerly Twitter), allegedly showing Israeli soldiers detaining a Palestinian boy in November 2023. As of this writing the post has reached over 4.7 million views, 30,000 reposts and 2,700 comments.

"Now they are arresting children in name of self defence. Shame," one comment on the viral post read. "This is factually accurate, but important to note that it's from 2013," another user argued. "ISRAELI SOLDIER TAKE A 5 YEAR OLD PALESTINIAN CHILD HOSTAGE," another post on X captioned the video, reaching over 340,000 views.

Although the video is authentic (it has not been digitally edited) and was captured by B'Tselem's field researcher Manal al-Ja'bari, it was not recorded in November 2023. The footage dates back to July 2013. Therefore, we have rated this claim as Outdated.

B'Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, published an article on July 11, 2013, with the title "Video footage: Soldiers detain Palestinian five-year-old in Hebron." It read (emphasis ours):

On Tuesday, 9 July 2013, at around 3:30 P.M., seven soldiers and an officer detained Wadi' Maswadeh, who is five years and nine months old (his birthdate on his mother's ID card: 24 September 2007) close to 'Abed checkpoint, near the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, after he threw a stone. B'Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja'bari, who was present at the scene, recorded the entire event on video. After local residents who had gathered at the spot tried to intervene, the soldiers put the crying child into a jeep with another Palestinian resident and took him home.

The article continued, explaining the following events and informing readers that "in the military judicial system in the West Bank, the age of criminal responsibility is 12, as in Israel."

When they reached the house, the officer informed Wadi's mother that he intended to hand him over to the Palestinian Police. The mother refused to let them take the child before his father, Karam, came home. About half an hour after Wadi' was detained, Karam Maswadeh came home. The officer informed Maswadeh that he was arresting his son in order to hand him over to the Palestinian Police. Meanwhile, Wadi' had spent the entire time hiding behind a pile of mattresses in the house and crying. The parents made it clear to the officer that the child is five years old, but the officer insisted on taking him to the DCO and threatened them, saying that the army would arrest the father if they did not comply. The soldiers then made Karam and his son leave the house and walk to the army camp on a-Shuhada street.

The in question video was also uploaded on B'Tselem's YouTube channel with a title "Soldiers detain five-year-old child in Hebron, 2013."

Its description on YouTube read:

On 9 July 2013, soldiers in Hebron detained Wadi' Maswadeh, a five-year-old Palestinian boy, after he threw a stone. The soldiers forced the crying, frightened child into a military jeep and drove him home. There, they waited for his father to arrive, threatened the family, and led both father and son to a checkpoint, where they blindfolded and handcuffed the father. The two were detained at the checkpoint for about an half an hour, after which they were handed over to the Palestinian police. In total, the boy was detained for some two hours. There is no legal basis whatsoever for detaining a child under the age of criminal responsibility. The incident was filmed by B'Tselem field researchers and a B'Tselem camera volunteer. The clip shown here is a compiled synopsis of the footage.

The news about the five-year-old Palestinian boy detained by Israeli soldiers was shared contemporaneously by media outlets such as BBC, The Times, and HuffPost.

Importantly, the B'Tselem's article was updated to include the response from the Israeli military's Legal Adviser in Judea and Samaria:

On 22 July 2013, the Israeli military's Legal Adviser in Judea and Samaria sent B'Tselem a response. In his letter, he addressed the general issue of soldiers having to deal with a complex reality in which children under the age of criminal responsibility throw stones. Regarding the detention of Wadi' Maswadeh, the adviser justified the soldiers' conduct from beginning to end, except their blindfolding and handcuffing the child's father. B'Tselem sent a reply, emphasizing that the soldiers had acted in a fundamentally unacceptable way throughout the incident, and that acknowledging the complexity of the reality in which they operate cannot justify blatantly unlawful violation of children's rights and harm to their welfare.

Moreover, Times of Israel published an article citing the IDF's statement on the matter which underscored that the soldiers accompanied "a minor" that was "caught in the act of hurling rocks toward a public street in Hebron" to his parents:

“On Tuesday afternoon a minor was caught in the act of hurling rocks toward a public street in Hebron and, by doing so, endangering passers-by in the area,” the IDF said in a statement on the incident. “IDF soldiers intervened on the spot and accompanied the minor to his parents. From there he was passed on to the care of the Palestinian Security Forces, all the while accompanied by his parents."

“Between January and May, 2013,” the statement continued, “over 2050 separate rock-throwing incidents occurred throughout Judea and Samaria, injuring well over 150 Israelis.”


“Anger at Video of Israeli Soldiers Detaining 5-Year-Old Rock Thrower.” The Observers - France 24, 12 July 2013, https://observers.france24.com/en/20130712-video-israeli-soldiers-detaining-boy.

“Israel ‘illegally Detained’ Five-Year-Old Palestinian.” BBC News, 12 July 2013. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-23281567.

Philp, Catherine. Israel Defence Force Detains Palestine Boy, 5, for Throwing Stone at Car. 22 Nov. 2023. www.thetimes.co.uk, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/israel-defence-force-detains-palestine-boy-5-for-throwing-stone-at-car-f77lgkhswrt.

Soldiers Detain Five-Year-Old Child in Hebron, 2013. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl6YGt7O9eM. Accessed 22 Nov. 2023.

Aleksandra Wrona is a reporting fellow for Snopes, based in the Warsaw area.