Israeli Human Rights group B’Tselem released the footage, which shows the girl playing in the streets of Hebron, a city in the West Bank, when one of the armed officers ran up to her. The girl screamed and dropped the bicycle, and began crying as the officer stepped on it.
The officer is seen shouting at the girl and holding his gun as she runs away, and his partner picks up the bicycle and throws it in some nearby bushes. The child was identified as Anwar Burqan by B’Tselem, who reported the girl was playing with her brothers, aged seven and four, along with her 11-year-old sister when the episode unfolded on July 25.
Burqan had been riding her bike on a road that led to the Tomb of the Patriarchs/ Ibrahimi Mosque holy site, an area where only Israeli and Jewish settlers are allowed to go, while Palestinians are forced to use an unpaved road on the opposite side of a fence. Her family lives in a nearby flat that has no garden and the girl often plays on that street.
The girl’s mother, Ranya, said that Anwar has been scared to leave the house ever since the incident. "It was a trauma that will stay with her for her whole life. 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."
According to an Israeli Border Police spokesman, the officer involved has been suspended. "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," he said, adding "All investigative material was handed over to the Police Investigation Department, which began its investigation of the incident."
The footage was captured by Raed Abu Ramileh, who has a home overlooking the street where the encounter took place, and has stoked new discontent over Palestinian treatment in Hebron, which is controlled partially by both Israeli and Palestinian authorities.
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B’Teselem has said the incident is an example of "daily life" for Palestinians who have to live under military occupation in Hebron, and there is already much spirited protest over the heavily guarded nearby Israeli settlement of Old City.
Muslims and Jews alike have been massacred in Hebron, and the city has also been the site of attacks initiated by Palestinians, during a surge of violence last year where the perpetrators were shot dead by Israeli authorities.
Israeli forces have been the focus of fresh controversy since footage surfaced showing a disarmed Palestinian man being shot in the head as he lay on the ground, injured. The victim had just attempted to stab someone.
34 Israelis and two Americans have been killed in Palestinian attacks since September 2015, while more than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces in the same span of time.