Ramallah, October 12, 2015—Defense for Children International – Palestine confirmed five Palestinian children died at the hands of Israeli forces in separate incidents across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip over the past three days.
Israeli forces used lethal forces to quash a protest near Gaza’s border with Israel, east of the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, on Saturday. DCIP sources said that Marwan Hashem Barbakh, 10, died of a single gunshot wound to the chest. Another youth, Khalil Omar Othman, died from a bullet to the chest and another to the stomach. He had just turned 18 that day.
The deadly incident was the second in as many days. Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians and injured more than 60 on Friday near the border fence, according to media reports.
On Sunday, Israel carried out a predawn air strike south of Gaza City that collapsed a home on the Hassan family of four, according to witnesses. Rahaf, 3, and her pregnant mother, Nour, died. Her father, Yahya, and brother, Mohammad, 4, sustained injuries.
Late afternoon on Sunday, Israeli forces shot Ahmad Abdullah Sharaka, 14, during clashes near an army checkpoint in the West Bank town of Al-Bireh. The rubber-coated metal bullet struck him behind the left ear. Doctors at the Palestine Medical Complex pronounced him dead from a severe brain hemorrhage about an hour after he arrived.
“It’s now a matter of when the next Palestinian child fatality will occur and not if it will take place,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP. “The complete disregard for human life that Israeli soldiers exhibit suggests that the use of lethal force is their standard operating procedure whatever the circumstance.”
Tensions over access to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City escalated into tit-for-tat lethal attacks across East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank. The mosque lies in a compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount. Both faiths consider the site sacred.
On Monday morning, Israeli police gunned down Mustafa Adel al-Khatib, 17, near the Old City in Jerusalem, after he allegedly attempted to stab one of their officers. DCIP is still investigating the circumstances.
The incident followed Saturday’s fatal shooting of another Palestinian teenager, Izhaq Qasem Badran, 16, who stabbed two Israeli citizens near Jerusalem’s Old City. Witnesses said that Israeli police prevented paramedics from treating him at the scene.
Israeli and Palestinian media reported that Israeli police shot dead a Palestinian boy and seriously injured another in the Israeli settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev in East Jerusalem on Monday afternoon. The police alleged they tried to stab an Israeli boy. DCIP is confirming the details.
DCIP has confirmed six child fatalities so far this month. The first among them was Abdel-Rahman Obeidallah, 13, who took a single bullet to the chest at Aida refugee camp, north of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on October 5. A preliminary Israeli army investigation found that he was shot by mistake, according to Israeli news media.
At least 65 Palestinian children have been injured since the start of October, based on DCIP’s initial data.
In recent weeks, Israeli officials amended open-fire rules to allow Israeli forces to fire live ammunition during protests in Jerusalem when there is a “threat to life.” Previously, the regulations permitted live ammunition only when there is a direct, mortal threat to the life of a police officer or soldier.
The move comes as Israeli ministers approved harsher sentencing guidelines and fines for stone-throwers.