IDF Soldiers Release Attack Dogs on Palestinian Boy

The 15-second clip shows a Palestinian teenage boy attacked by dogs of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Soldiers holding the dogs by the leash can be heard egging them on, saying “Bite him.” The footage was posted to the Facebook page of a far-right Israeli politician, in March of 2015, more than two months after it had taken place. The politician removed it from Facebook after it was picked up by the media.

Once the story was in the news, the IDF denounced the action of soldiers shown in the clip, and stated that it opened an internal investigation. “Upon completion of this inquiry, conclusions will be drawn and the necessary steps will be taken to prevent such incidents from recurring.”

B’tselem, an Israeli organization that uses video to monitor human rights violations in the Palestinian territories, responded to the IDF's statement with skepticism. A B'tselem volunteer had also witnessed and filmed part of the incident, and B'tselem spoke out about it back in December of 2014, calling for an investigation.

The organization pointed out that the new footage shows that both of the soldiers were wearing helmet cameras, “and the footage captured on them was presumably available to their commanders during the routine debriefing held after such operations.” Despite B'tselem's report and despite helmet cameras worn by the soldiers involved, it took a social media leak and a front-page story for this assault to be investigated by Israeli authorities.

As part of the inquiry into the incident, the Israeli Army temporarily halted the use of attack dogs in the West Bank.