An Israeli border guard has been suspended and another is under investigation after they were recorded taking a bike from an 8-year-old Palestinian girl and throwing it into the bushes on a restricted road (video below).
The 65-second clip, which was posted on Aug. 1 and rapidly went viral, shows the police officer -- who is dressed like a soldier in military camouflage and toting a rifle -- running toward the girl, Anwar Burkan, on a street where she was playing with other children.
At first the girl tries to get away from the border officer, but he reaches her quickly and puts his foot down on her bike, pinning it to the ground. Several times it looks like she tries to leave with her bike, then starts sobbing as the officer says something to her and prevents her from taking her bike.
When a second officer -- also dressed in military fatigues and carrying a rifle -- approaches, the terrified girl ditches her bike and runs away toward another child standing in the street. She continues to sob as the officer follows her and says something, pointing back toward the bike.
Then the video cuts to the opposite side of the street, with the camera focusing on the second soldier as he takes the girl's bike and hides it in bushes along the side of the road, where Palestinians are forbidden.
The incident happened on July 25 in the majority-Palestinian city of Hebron. It was filmed by a volunteer for Israeli human rights group B’tselem, who recorded the incident from his home overlooking the street.
Hebron is home to 215,000 people, most of whom are Palestinian, according to the Jerusalem Post. Parts of the city have been claimed by Israeli "settlers," and in 2012 the Israeli government divided the city, carving a section out for Jewish settlers and erecting a fence to block off the street.
The paved, fenced-in section is reserved for the use of Israeli settlers, according to RT, while Palestinians are prohibited from using the road and are directed to a pedestrian path nearby. Both routes lead to the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Ibrahimi Mosque, which are considered holy sites by Muslims and Jews.
Raed Abu Ramile, the cameraman who filmed the incident, said he's not always successful documenting human rights abuses because Israeli soldiers and settlers have attacked him verbally and physically when they see him with a camera. This time, Ramile told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, he was able to capture the entire incident because he had a direct line of sight from an upstairs window.
"I saw that soldier coming toward the girl and I decided to document it," he said. "It was very difficult to watch, especially when you hear the girl crying and wailing."
Ranya Burkan, the little girl's mother, said her daughter was traumatized by the encounter.
"I don't know for what reason that soldier attacked her," Ranya told Haaretz. "Even if she entered a place she wasn't allowed to enter, what danger or threat did she pose? She's only an 8-year-old girl."
Israeli Member of the Knesset Esawi Frej told the Jerusalem Post the encounter illustrated “the banality of evil and the moral degeneration of a soldier who decided to harass an eight-year-old girl just because he felt like it.
“If anyone still needs proof occupation corrupts ... watch the video,” the parliamentarian said.