Israeli Border Police Officer Suspended After Throwing Palestinian Girl's Bike Into Bushes

Second officer caught on camera confiscating the bicycle from the eight-year-old goes unpunished.

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Border Police officer grabs girls bike, tosses it into bushes, Hebron, July 2016Credit: B'tselem

Two Border Police officers were filmed driving a Palestinian girl who was riding a bicycle in Hebron away and then, once she fled, one of the two picked up her bike and threw it into the bushes. The officer who threw the bike was suspended on Tuesday.

The video that was released by human rights group B'tselem was filmed last week. It shows an officer running toward the girl, Anwar Burqan, on Hebron's al-Ibrahimi St., demanding she stop on the roadside. He steps on her bicycle after she lays them on the road and asks her some questions until she runs away crying.

After that, another officer arrives at the scene, picks up the bicycle she had left behind and throws them into the bushes. The officer that threw the bike was suspended. The conduct of the other officer is currently under investigation.

Large swaths of al-Ibrahimi St. are closed to Palestinian traffic. Apparently, the girl's bicycle was confiscated because she was riding in a part of the street closed to Palestinians.

Ranya, the girl's mother, told Haaretz that since the incident took place her daughter refuses to leave the house, is scared, and shouts. "It was a trauma that will stay with her for her whole life. I don't know for what reason that soldier attacked her. Even if she entered a place she wasn't allowed to enter, what danger or threat did she pose – she's only an eight-year-old girl." The mother added that she didn't expect that the officer would be punished or prosecuted.

Raed Abu Ramileh, the B'tselem cameraman that lives in a house overlooking the courtyard where the incident transpired, recalled, "I saw that soldier coming toward the girl and I decided to document it. It was very difficult to watch, especially when you hear the girl crying and wailing." Abu Ramileh said that this time he was able to film the incident from within his home but sometimes he is met by violence – both verbal and physical – at the hands of police officers and settlers in the area, when they see him with a camera.

The Border Police issued the following statement: "The Border Police views the incident with severity and is sorry for it. At the close of the initial investigation the Border Police commander ordered that the combatant be immediately removed from active duty. All investigative material was handed over to the Police Investigation Department [Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers], which began its investigation of the incident."

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