Ramallah, April 11, 2017—Jasem Nakhleh died two days after his sixteenth birthday in an Israeli hospital yesterday, after Israeli forces shot him outside Bet El settlement, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on March 23.
Israeli forces shot Jasem Nakhleh during unclear circumstances near a military watchtower installed next to the illegally constructed Bet El settlement, which directly faces the central West Bank neighborhood of Al-Jalazun refugee camp. During the same incident, Israeli forces fatally shot 17-year-old Mohammad Khattab, also injuring a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old.
“We are calling for a full and impartial investigation into this shooting, which has now claimed two Palestinian children’s lives,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at Defense for Children International - Palestine. “Israeli forces must abide by international law, which prohibits the use of intentional lethal force unless absolutely unavoidable.”
Dr. Samir Saliba, director of the Emergency Department at Palestine Medical Complex told DCIP that Jasem sustained live ammunition injuries to his head, chest, right thigh and right foot. His head injury caused a brain laceration, according to the doctor, and Jasem was admitted to the intensive care unit before being transferred to an Israeli hospital in a coma. He died of his wounds in hospital on April 10.
An Israeli military statement confirmed “hits,” according to local media, but claimed that the children were shot outside their car, while throwing explosives towards the settlement.
Under the condition of anonymity, a witness told DCIP that Mohammad was shot when he got out of his stalled car near Bet El settlement, to push it. Mohammad jumped back into the car to try to escape, but the car did not start, according to DCIP’s source. The witness said Israeli soldiers then approached the car and opened fire on all four children, including Jasem, while inside the car.
A shattered rear windshield and back passenger window, and other damage can be seen on video footage published by local media, purportedly showing the car the children were in, moments after the incident.
International law requires that intentional lethal force be used only when absolutely unavoidable where there is a threat to life or serious injury. Where individuals allegedly carry out a criminal act, they should be apprehended in accordance with international law and afforded due process of law.
Israeli forces routinely employ the use of excessive force and intentional lethal force in situations not justified by international norms, which in some incidents may amount to extrajudicial or willful killings, according to documentation collected by DCIP.