Every Friday and often after school on other days, Israeli soldiers fire tear-gas and sonic bombs at the Palestinian children as they approach a spring

The Economist says:

EVERY Friday and often after school on other days, Israeli soldiers fire tear-gas and sonic bombs at the Palestinian children as they approach a spring. It sits in a valley that separates Nabi Saleh, an Arab village of 500 people half an hour’s drive north of Jerusalem, from Halamish, a religious Jewish settlement. On most nights jeeps roll through the village; over the past 18 months the Israeli army has detained 32 of its children, some as young as eleven. Many have been taken from their beds, kept in pre-trial detention for months, and brought to court in shackles, there to be convicted of stone-throwing.

It is very difficult to work out what is going on in this narrative.

Certainly, I’ve seen some reporting in other newspapers of children convicted of throwing stones at the IDF on demonstrations, and the like. But this appears to be quite a different story.

Apparently, every Friday and after school, as regular as clockwork, the Israeli Army fires sonic bombs and tear gas at children.  The context in which the Israeli Army does this is unclear. Possibly, the suggestion is that the Israeli Army lies in wait for the children – possibly hidden – near a spring. It could be that they are laying in wait for the children, knowing that that they will come, ready to throw sonic bombs and tear gas at them. An ambush, perhaps.

Not only do they throw sonic bombs and tear gas at these quite possibly very thirsty children. They then arrest either these – or possibly completely unrelated children – who are then convicted of throwing stones. We do not know who they are supposedly throwing stones at: only that they are convicted.

(via Barry Rubin)

Sarah AB adds It has been pointed out by Judy that Barry Rubin has written a further piece with some important new material.

The one person actually quoted by name in the article was Eran (distorted to “Iran”) Segal. I sent him the paragraph in question:

“For some of Halamish’s settlers, irritated by the tear-gas that wafts into their living rooms from across the hill, this is not harsh enough. `The soldiers don’t maim enough Palestinians,’ complains Iran Segal.”

Mr. Segal responded that he only talked to the reporter about how the Friday stonethrowing–note, not the tear-gas (fired by Israeli soldiers) but the stones thrown at him by Palestinians–makes life impossible. He explained to the journalist that stones can kill.

The only thing he said about what the army should do was that if it had taken the problem more seriously in the past that the stone-throwing would have stopped.

I believe Mr. Segal, who seemed genuinely shocked by the statement attributed to him. Note how his complaint about being a victim (stones thrown to injure and perhaps kill him) was changed into making him seem a bloodthirsty aggressor (wanting to maim harmless little kids who had done him no harm at all).