A Palestinian girl has a new bicycle thanks to the kindness of an Israeli man after Israeli Border Police broke her old one.
On Aug. 2, two border patrol officers allegedly took 8-year-old Anwar Burqan’s bicycle and threw it in the bushes, damaging it beyond repair, The Times of Israel reports her family said. Their actions, which left the child in tears, were caught on video.
Sami Jolles, an Israeli with homes in Israel and the U.S., read about what happened to Anwar and decided to help the girl. Her situation reminded Jolles of something his father experienced in Europe in the 1920s, when a group of anti-Semites threw his bicycle into a river while they were attacking him.
By giving Anwar the bicycle after hers had been unfairly destroyed, Jolles said it was a way to “close that circle.”
With the help of peace activist Phil Saunders, Jolles managed to get a new bicycle to the girl.
Saunders, fellow Israeli peace activist Lonny Baskin and Palestinian peace activist Ziad Sabateen delivered the bike to Anwar.
“She’s a shy little girl, but she was so appreciative," Baskin said. "Her eyes were shining."
“I think that my father would be proud of me,” Jolles said.
Anwar shared her previous bicycle with her nine siblings, and plans to do the same with the one Jolles gave to her.
As for the Border Police officers who ruined her old bicycle, they will not face criminal charges, The Times of Israel reported.
The Police Investigations Department called the officer's conduct “inappropriate and unprofessional,” but found it did not warrant criminal prosecution.
The officers told investigators they confiscated the bicycle to prevent Anwar from crossing into the Jewish neighborhood of Hebron because Palestinians are not allowed to enter that area. The officers do not speak Arabic, and therefore said they could not explain the prohibition to the girl or her family.
The Israel Police disciplinary board is reviewing the case.