Was a 3-year-old Palestinian child detained in 2023 in the West Bank by Israeli soldiers as shown in a video? No, that's not true: This incident did happen in the town of Hebron in the West Bank; but it happened in 2018. As recorded in the video, the child's family succeeded in freeing the child from the soldier's grasp.
The recorded incident happened more than five years before the Hamas-Israel conflict erupted in October 2023, and was reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (archived here) and The Palestinian Information Center (archived here) on March 28 and 29, 2018 respectively. The video resurfaced on social media during the 2023 Hamas-Israel conflict without the original context included. The 32-second video was posted on X (archived here) by Sulaiman Ahmed on October 24, 2023, with text saying "ISRAELI IOF FORCES ARMED WITH RIFLES ARREST 3 YEAR OLD CHILDREN." On November 22, 2023, the same video was shared on Instagram (archived here). It was captioned:
Repost from @islamify and @thatlawyermomlife
IOF soldiers detaining a 3 year old!! In the west bank!
As a Palestinian, this is what were used to seeing. Not that any of this is normal. Aside from the wars, this is the typical day of a Palestinian. Mashallah the older brother how he stepped in to free his little brother. Imagine this was your child! This is against the law of any country. Why is palestinian life treated so differently?!
Stealing their belongings and disposing them
#savepalestine #freepalestine #occupation #endtheoccupation
This is how the post appeared at the time of writing:
(Image source Instagram screenshot taken on Mon Nov 27 18:02:35 2023 UTC)
Although the post does not specify a date for the video, the timing implies that the incident was recent relative to the 2023 Hamas-Israel conflict.
The scope of this fact check is not to parse out what exactly is shown happening in the video, but to establish that the video is over five years old relative to the 2023 Hamas-Israel conflict.
Articles from the time of the incident in 2018 are brief and do not contain concrete information about what the soldiers intended by detaining or restraining the child. A March 29, 2018, article in the Middle East Monitor (archived here) said that Israeli occupation forces "tried to arrest" a 3-year-old Palestinian child -- although it does not appear from the video that there was an attempt to formally arrest the child. The reports vary on the reason why the child was detained, the Haaretz article, which is partially behind a paywall, stated that "the boy was sent to throw stones at the officers and then ran at them with a screwdriver and peeler" while the Middle East Monitor said that "soldiers mocked and swore at the toddler as he played in the Ibrahimi Mosque neighbourhood of the city. The boy later went into his house and returned with a 'courgette corer'".
Other Lead Stories fact checks about the Hamas-Israel conflict can be found here.