Border Policemen Say Bicycle-Grabbing Video Misleading

A view of Me’aras Hamachpeleh, in Chevron. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
A view of Me’aras Hamachpeleh, in Chevron. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Lawyers for two Border Policemen accused of abusing authority in grabbing a bicycle from an 8-year-old Palestinian girl argued on Thursday that the video of the incident gave a false impression and the officers are innocent of wrongdoing, Ynet reported.

The two policemen, one of whom was suspended from duty, were questioned under caution at the Police Investigation Unit on Tuesday.

The lawyers said that “What looks in the video as cruelty towards a helpless girl was actually an act to protect the girl who sought to cross the road into the city’s Jewish Quarter. The policemen, who realized that she was taking a risk and could not communicate with her in her language, took her bike from her and in that prevented the danger.

“When it became clear to (the Border Policemen) that the girl understood the risk in riding straight into the Jewish Quarter, they allowed her to come back and retrieve the bicycle.”

“The main lesson to learn from this is that judging an incident purely based on a video without even the least bit of interest in the officers’ version is a vicious and ugly thing,” they added.

Anwar Burqan, the girl in the case, lives in a-Salaimeh neighborhood in Chevron. The incident took place near Me’aras Hamachpeleh, in an area restricted to Palestinians, but where their children sometimes play.

A Border Policeman is seen in the video running towards the girl, and asking, “What are you doing here?”, scaring her into tears. He is then seen stepping over the bicycle, preventing the girl from taking it. She runs away and one of the policemen picks up the bike and throws it into nearby bushes.