Daily life under occupation in Hebron’s Old City: Border Police officer throws child’s bike into bushes for daring to play on street reserved for settlers

Published: 
31 Jul 2016

Almost four years ago, on 23 September 2012, Israeli security forces erected a chain-link fence all along al-Ibrahimi Street, a major road in Hebron that passes close to the Tomb of the Patriarchs [al-Haram al-Ibrahimi], leaving the main road on one side of the fence, and a narrow, unpaved and rough pedestrian path on the other. The military prohibited Palestinians from using the main, paved, part of the street. In recent years, B’Tselem has documented this prohibition twice.

In March 2013 we first published footage showing that the main part of the street was placed off-limits to Palestinians. Consequently, the prohibition was lifted for a time and Palestinians were allowed to use the road. However, the restriction was renewed in January 2015. In April of that year, we published footage of Border Police at the Bakery Checkpoint explicitly telling our field researchers Musa Abu Hashhash and Manal al-Ja’bri that only Jews are allowed to use the main road. Immediately afterwards, Palestinians were once again allowed to access it. Since then, while the military has officially claimed that Palestinians are allowed to use the road, security forces on the ground have continued to enforce the prohibition and more so since October 2015. At present, Palestinians generally avoid entering the street altogether.

Eight-year-old Anwar Burqan lives nearby with her parents and six of her siblings. They live in a small apartment that in a-Salaimeh neighborhood, Hebron. Her father, ‘Amer Burqan, is confined to a wheelchair and was particularly hard-hit by the fence. Anwar told B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bri that they have no yard at home and that because of the crowded conditions she and her siblings play out in the street and ride their bicycles on the paved part of the divided street.

Anwar said that on Monday 25 July 2016, she was playing on al-Ibrahimi Street with her sister, 11, and two brothers, 7 and 4. She was riding a bicycle belonging to one of her brothers when an Israeli Border Police officer ran over, stepped on the bicycle and took it away from her. He shouted at her to go home and she burst into years. The police officer then threw the bicycle into the bushes.

B’Tselem volunteer Raed Abu Ramileh captured a portion of the incident on video:

First documentation of prohibited access to road, 2013

Second documentation of prohibited access to road, 2015