Leaked video shot in December showing Israeli soldiers setting dogs on a 16-year-old Palestinian boy has gone viral on social media in Israel and across the globe.
The video, which has sparked condemnations from the Palestinian government and activists and an investigation by Israel’s chief military prosecutor, depicts a young boy grabbed by Israeli soldiers before being attacked by military dogs as the soldiers jeer.
During the footage, which took place in the West Bank town of Beit Ummar, a soldier can be heard “who is the chicken?”, while another commands the dog to bite the boy.
According to Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, 16-year-old Hamzeh Abu Hashem had been detained by the soldiers after being accused of throwing stones.
“We, his mother and I, watched the video, and we couldn’t believe what we were seeing. My wife almost fainted. I don’t know if there’s a mother or father in the world who can be indifferent to such pictures,” said the boy’s father to Haaretz.
“It pained us very much, especially the fact that the boy was helpless and the soldiers rejoiced over him.”
Israeli human rights group B’Tselem condemned the attack, but added that the footage, which dates to 23 December 2014, is only one example of multiple similar instances in the past.
“[T]his footage is yet another example of the army’s standard practice when dogs are used in arrest operations,” said B’Tselem in a statement, citing at least 10 other cases in which they’ve received complaints.
The human rights group added that Abu Hashem was taken to prison after being treated for dog bite wounds at an Israeli hospital. The 16-year-old, the group added, was recently sentenced to six months in prison.
“B’Tselem once again calls on the military to stop the horrifying use of dogs for arresting unarmed Palestinian civilians. Setting dogs on civilians is an appalling act, both unlawful and immoral.”