Much of the media coverage of the Breaking the Silence’s August 2012 collection of testimonies on Israeli army mistreatment of Palestinian children concentrates on an incident described in Testimony #27. According to the soldier’s eyewitness testimony, a 2007 patrol through Hebron “hit… to put it mildly” a prepubescent Palestinian boy and forced him to identify the home of a teen-aged neighbor suspected of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. The patrol later arrested the teenager at his grandmother’s home, “beat him to a pulp” in a nearby construction site, and repeatedly threatened to shoot him on the spot. After the boy’s relatives arrived at the scene, the soldiers released him without charge.
Donald MacIntyre, a reporter for the British Independent, was able to identify and interview the patrol’s victim. Now a young man, Hafez Rajabi was still able to describe his arrest and beating in vivid detail. There were a few discrepancies between Rajabi’s and the soldier’s testimonies; but, as MacIntyre noted, they match “in every salient respect.”
In his interview with MacIntyre, Rajabi described the effect of the beating on the last five years of his life. He struggled to hold down a job, he said, because of his psychological and physical injuries. He spent more than 1000 British Pounds on medical expenses. And he was never compensated by the Israeli government or army for the incident.
On Breaking the Silence’s Facebook page, artist Elad Mordechai Mizrachi illustrated Testimony #27 in a moving series of photographs. In a dark nod to Rajabi’s youth, he employed children’s toys as models for the scene.