Video shows Border Police officer taking away eight-year-old Anwar Burqan’s bicycle and throwing it into the nearby bushes.
An Israeli Border Police officer was caught confiscating a bicycle from an eight-year-old Palestinian girl in the West Bank city of Hebron last week.
In a video shot by B’Tselem volunteer Raed Abu Ramileh and published Tuesday afternoon, the officer appears to seize Anwar Burqan’s bike as she rides along a chain-link fence on al-Ibrahimi Street, before throwing it into the bushes.
In September 2012, Israeli security forces put up a the fence along al-Ibrahimi Street, adjacent to the Cave of the Patriarchs, leaving the main road on one side of the fence, and a narrow, unpaved and rough pedestrian path on the other. In recent years, B’Tselem has documented security forces prohibiting Palestinians from entering the paved side of the fence, though there is no official ban on Palestinian presence there.
According to B’Tselem, Burqan lives in the nearby apartment in the neighborhood of a-Salaimeh with her parents and six of her siblings. Her father, Amer Burqan, is confined to a wheelchair. Anwar told B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bri that they have no yard at home and that because of the crowded conditions she and her siblings play out in the street and ride their bicycles on the paved part of the divided street.
Anwar said that on Monday, July 25, 2016, his daughter was playing on al-Ibrahimi Street with her sister and two brothers. She was riding a bicycle belonging to one of her brothers when an Israeli Border Police officer ran over and confiscated it. He shouted at her to go home and she burst into tears.
In response to the footage, the Border Police Spokesperson released the following statement:
The Border Police sees the incident as being very severe and regrets that it happened. Following a preliminary examination, the Israel Border Police Commander instructed to have the officer immediately suspended from operational activity. All relevant materials will be handed over to the Department of Internal Police Investigations, which has launched an investigation into the incident.
Hebron is the Palestinian city where Israel’s regime of exclusion and separation is at its most bare-faced and brutal. The city is divided into two sections, H1, which is governed by the Palestinian Authority, and H2 — roughly 20 percent of the city — which is under Israeli military rule. There Palestinians live under a regime of closures and checkpoints, where roughly 850 Israeli settlers are free to do as they please (which often includes violence against Palestinian civilians) under the guise of military occupation.
Over the past decades Hebron has turned into one of the most heavily guarded areas under Israeli control. At least 650 IDF soldiers are stationed in the city on any given day. Since an Israeli settler massacred 29 Muslim worshippers in the city in 1994, hundreds of Palestinian shops have been shut down, and on Shuhada Street, a main thoroughfare, doors to Palestinian homes have been welded shut, preventing the residents from walking onto the street on which they live.
These areas are referred to by the IDF as being “sterile” of Palestinians. As a result of this policy, about half of the residents of the area left Hebron’s city center, turning it into a ghost town.