Ramallah, February 20, 2023—A 16-year-old Palestinian boy died today after Israeli forces shot him with live ammunition on February 8 in the northern occupied West Bank.
Montaser Mohammad Deeb Shawwa, 16, was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper around 2 a.m. on February 8 in Balata refugee camp, near Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Montaser was participating in confrontations in response to Israeli forces carrying out an incursion near Balata refugee camp in order to allow Israeli settlers to enter Qabr Yousuf (Joseph’s Tomb). After an Israeli sniper shot Montaser in the head from a distance of about 200 meters (656 feet), a private car transferred him to an ambulance, which brought him to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, where he was admitted to the intensive care unit. Montaser was pronounced dead around 6:45 p.m. on February 20.
“Palestinian children live in a hyper-militarized context where the Israeli military's nighttime incursions into Palestinian communities to intimidate Palestinian civilians, and in this case, protect Israeli settlers, is the norm,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “During these incursions, Israeli forces routinely resort to intentional lethal force in situations not justified under international law and make no effort to impartially investigate or ensure that Israeli soldiers act in accordance with international standards.”
Doctors at Rafidia Hospital were able to resuscitate Montaser after he arrived unconscious with no breath or pulse. He sustained a large injury to his mouth and lower lip, and the gunshot destroyed his lower teeth, according to information collected by DCIP. Montaser was attached to a ventilator until he succumbed to his wounds on February 20.
Qabr Yousuf is a religious shrine located in Nablus in a section of the Israeli-occupied West Bank that is under control by the Palestinian Authority. The tomb holds importance to Muslims, Jews, and Christians.
Montaser is the 12th Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces have shot and killed 11 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, and a 10-year-old Palestinian child in Gaza succumbed to head wounds he sustained during the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip in August 2022.
Under international law, intentional lethal force is only justified in circumstances where a direct threat to life or of serious injury is present. However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings.
53 Palestinian children were killed in 2022, according to documentation collected by DCIP, including 36 Palestinian children shot and killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the occupied West Bank. DCIP documented the killing of 17 Palestinian children between August 5–7 after Israeli forces launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip.