Ramallah, November 18, 2021—An armed Israeli civilian shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy who allegedly stabbed two Israeli paramilitary border police officers in occupied East Jerusalem yesterday.
Omar Ibrahim Ayoub Abu Assab, 16, was shot and killed by an armed Israeli civilian after he allegedly stabbed two Israeli paramilitary border police officers in Jerusalem’s Old City around 5:30 p.m. on November 17, according to documentation gathered by Defense for Children International - Palestine. An armed Israeli civilian shot Omar multiple times as he seemingly struggled with an Israeli border police officer, according to DCIP’s investigation.
Video footage of the incident appears to show Omar passing two Israeli border police officers on Al-Wad street in the Old City when he attacks one of the border police officers from behind. A struggle between Omar and the second border police officer ensued, and an armed Israeli civilian appeared to shoot and kill Omar. Eyewitnesses told DCIP that the armed civilian fired at least six shots at Omar during the altercation.
“There must be an independent and impartial investigation of this killing to ensure accountability,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Where individuals allegedly carry out a violent criminal act, they should be apprehended in accordance with international law and afforded due process of law.”
Omar’s body remains in Israeli custody, and DCIP has been unable to determine the location or number of gunshot wounds he sustained. Omar’s parents and older brother were detained from their home in East Jerusalem’s Issawiya neighborhood and questioned by Israeli police after the killing. They were only notified of Omar’s death after their interrogations, according to information gathered by DCIP.
The incident took place next to a Jewish seminary founded by the pro-settler Ateret Kohanim organization. The armed civilian who shot and killed Omar was identified in news media reports as the head of the yeshiva. The two border police officers were taken to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem in light and moderate condition, Haaretz reported.
Omar is the 16th Palestinian child shot and killed by Israeli forces or civilians in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the beginning of 2021, according to documentation gathered by DCIP. Israeli forces shot and killed Mohammad Amjad Salem Da’das, 15, on November 5 during confrontations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youth near the illegal Israeli settlement Elon Moreh, northeast of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli forces shot and killed 14-year-old Amjad Osama Jalal Abu Sultan after he lit a Molotov cocktail in Beit Jala, in the central West Bank on October 14. Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Yousef Mohammad Fathi Odeh on September 26 after he allegedly picked up a gun and fired at an Israeli military vehicle during an early morning military raid in Burqin, west of Jenin in the northern West Bank.
International law requires that intentional lethal force be used only when absolutely unavoidable to protect life, and only when lesser means would be insufficient to apprehend a suspect.
Israeli authorities’ practice of confiscating and withholding Palestinian bodies is a violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, which include absolute prohibitions on cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, as well as stipulate that parties of an armed conflict must bury the deceased in an honorable way. For families, the practice amounts to collective punishment in violation of international humanitarian law.