Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Israeli police officer kicking Palestinian boy stirs anger

Activists have slammed a video released on Monday by Israeli human rights agency B’Tselem which shows an Israeli border officer kicking a Palestinian boy in the Israeli-controlled sector of Hebron.

The officer is seen in the video grabbing the nine-year-old boy, Abd a-Rahman Burqan, by the arm, dragging him as he says: “Why are you causing trouble?” A second officer walks towards the boy and kicks the child as he cries out.

According to B’Tselem, the incident took place on Friday close to the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Ibrahim mosque, a location that frequently witnesses clashes between police and young Palestinian boys.

The boy’s father, Amer Burqan, said his son had gone out to get soup which is given out to the poor.

Israel’s Border Police immediately announced an investigation into the incident. In a statement released shortly after the video was put online, it said it “condemns the police conduct as contrary to its values,” reported the Times of Israel.

Video cameras are frequently provided to Palestinian citizens by B’Tselem in order to document possible human rights abuses in the occupied territories.

The event follows a new report released on June 28 by Electronic Intifada, funded and supported by the British government, which accused Israel of violating international law with its treatment of Palestinian child detainees in the West Bank.

According to the report, Israel is in violation of at least six counts set out by the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and at least two of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Many Israelis turned to social media platforms to express support of the officers’ action.

Ali Abunimah who writes for the Electronic Intifada translated several comments posted by Israeli Facebook users on Israel’s Channel 2’s page.

One user Ariel Davidpur wrote: “The Border Police are the hero! It’s a shame he didn’t kill him with the kick”. However, Tal Avraham wrote: “Look at what you are writing … racists. Do you understand that what you are writing here is inhumane… You are disgusting and inhumane, sorry, but that’s the truth.”

Jessica Montell, the director of B’Tselem tweeted, “So proud of @btselem video team: mapping trouble spots, getting cameras & ongoing training/support to the right people.”

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