Israeli soldier Palestine boy
An Israeli soldier detains a Palestinian boy during a protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near RamallahMohamad Torokman/Reuters

A picture of an Israeli soldier head-locking a 12-year-old Palestinian boy has gone viral as the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) accused the boy's family of being "Pallywood stars" to stoke anti-Israel sentiments. The Israeli soldier, who was injured in the incident, was attempting to arrest the boy in Nabi Saleh. Pallywood is a term coined by US historian and author Richard Landes over alleged manipulation of the media in order to gain sympathy for the Palestinian cause.

Questions have been raised over the veracity of the shocking West Bank image. It emerged online on Friday, 28 August, showing a balaclava-clad Israeli soldier holding a machine gun in one hand, and putting Mohamed Tamimi in a headlock at gunpoint.

In related images, the IDF soldier is seen grappling with the boy as two women, family members of Tamimi, attempt to fight him off. One of the young women, identified as Ahed, is seen biting the soldier which, the IDF says, caused him a minor injury.

The Tamimi family, well-known pro-Palestine activists, have earlier been blamed for creating provocative situations. The girl in the images had been pictured in confrontational positions with armed soldiers on earlier occasions, which went on to fetch her a bravery award from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Responding to the allegations, the IDF said in a statement that there was "a violent disturbance of peace in Nabi Saleh, in which Palestinians threw stones at IDF forces that were in the place. The youth who was photographed was identified by the lookout force as a stone-thrower, and because of this it was decided to detain him. At the time of the arrest, a violent provocation by a number of Palestinians developed, including women and children. In light of the violent altercation, the commander decided to not to go ahead with the detention".

Israeli solider Palestine teenager
Palestinians scuffle with an Israeli soldier as they try to prevent him from detaining a boy during a protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near RamallahMohamad Torokman/Reuters
Israeli soldier and Palestine teenager
Palestinians scuffle with an Israeli soldier as they try to prevent him from detaining a boy during a protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near RamallahMohamad Torokman/Reuters
Israeli soldier and Palestine teenager
Palestinians scuffle with an Israeli soldier as they try to prevent him from detaining a boy during a protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near RamallahMohamad Torokman/Reuters