Ramallah, October 26, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy near Ramallah today.
Osaid Hamza Mahmoud Hmaidat, 15, was shot by Israeli forces with an expanding bullet that struck the left side of his chest around 1 p.m. on October 26 in Al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Israeli forces shot Osaid from a distance of 150 meters (492 feet) away. Palestinians in a private car transported Osaid to Al-Istishari Hospital in Ramallah, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
“Israeli forces are killing Palestinian children in unprecedented numbers as the international community considers whether humanitarian aid should be delivered as bombs freely rein down or not,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “When confronted with widespread and systematic Israeli attacks against an overwhelmingly youthful population in Gaza and the routine unlawful killing of Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, the international community has done nothing except perpetuate impunity.”
Osaid and other Palestinian children were leaving school as Israeli forces entered Al-Jalazoun refugee camp to close a hole in the wall that surrounds the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El. Israeli forces closed off the main entrance to the camp and stationed themselves next to Al-Jalazoun school. Students confronted Israeli forces as they were leaving school for the day.
The bullet that struck Osaid was likely an expanding bullet, according to documentation collected by DCIP. These bullets used by Israeli forces are designed to expand inside the body upon impact, causing massive internal injuries. Customary international law prohibits the use of expanding bullets, or any bullets that expand or flatten easily in the human body, though DCIP regularly documents fatalities and injuries seemingly as a result of expanding bullets, also known as dumdum bullets.
Israeli forces have escalated military operations throughout the occupied West Bank in recent weeks, carrying out increasing numbers of search and arrest operations.
Throughout the occupied West Bank, Palestinians have organized marches and demonstrations over the past week in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip bearing the brunt of Israeli land, sea, and air attacks after Palestinian armed groups fired rockets toward Israel and breached the Israeli perimeter fence surrounding Gaza early on October 7, launching attacks inside Israel. Israeli forces initiated a large-scale military operation dubbed Operation Iron Swords.
34 Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to documentation collected by DCIP, when the Israeli military began a full-scale bombardment on the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Iron Swords.
So far this year, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 74 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 66 Palestinian children with live ammunition, four Palestinian children were killed in a drone strike, and four Palestinian children were killed by missiles fired from a U.S.-sourced Apache attack helicopter.
At least 102 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
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.