A Border Police officer was suspended from duty on Tuesday after he was caught on film picking up and putting a Palestinian girl’s bicycle into some bushes in Hebron late last month, a spokesperson for the organization said.
In the video, which was released by the left-wing B’Tselem human rights organization on Monday, 8-year-old Anwar Burqan can be seen standing with her bicycle as she speaks to an unnamed border guard.
As they speak, the officer appears to pin down the bike with his foot, before another officer arrives, and the two border guards send the girl away in tears.
Once Burqan leaves the area, the second border guard picks up the bicycle and walks away with it. The video then pans over to the first officer who can be seen shooing away other children standing nearby.
According to B’Tselem, the second border guard threw the bicycle into the bushes, but this does not appear in the video. However, the officer apparently did put the bicycle into the bushes and can be seen covering it with the bush’s branches before walking away.
The head of the Border Police, Yaakov Shabtai, said in a statement that following an initial investigation, the officer was”immediately suspended from active duty.”
“The Border Guard sees this incident with severity and regrets it,” a spokesperson said.
The video and other materials have been handed over to the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department, which will look into the matter, the Border Police said.
The incident occurred on Hebron’s al-Ibrahimi Street, according to B’Tselem, which leads to both the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the al-Ibrahimi mosque, holy sites for Jews and Muslims, respectively.
In recent years, the street has become controversial as Israeli forces erected a fence in 2012 that runs along the road, splitting it in two.
In the video, Burqan can be seen riding her bicycle along the paved side of the road when the officer stopped her.
Palestinians have claimed that soldiers and Border Police officers forbid residents from using the larger paved section of the street, while Israeli officials have denied the claim.