Ramallah, February 9, 2024—Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy in the northern occupied West Bank today.
Moath Ashraf Faleh Bani Shamsa, 16, was shot in the back by Israeli forces outside his home around 5:15 p.m. on February 9 in the Palestinian village of Beita, southeast of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Moath allegedly threw a few stones toward Israeli military vehicles withdrawing from Beita near his home, and one vehicle abruptly stopped then quickly backed up toward him. Moath tried to run away, but a soldier opened the back door of the vehicle and shot him in the upper right side of his back from a distance of no more than 50 meters (164 feet). An ambulance brought Moath to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus where doctors attempted to revive him. Moath was pronounced dead around 6 p.m.
“Israeli forces routinely shoot Palestinian children in the back when they are running away and show no threat to an Israeli soldier’s life,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Children like Moath grow up in Palestinian communities where Israeli forces regularly carry out military incursions with complete impunity and demonstrate again and again that nowhere is safe for Palestinian children.”
Israeli forces entered Beita around 2:30 p.m., when they shot and assaulted several young Palestinians and prevented ambulances from reaching them. Israeli forces in heavily armored military vehicles withdrew around 5:15 p.m. and passed by Moath’s house, near the entrance to Beita.
97 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 military offensive on the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Iron Swords.
Israeli forces and settlers have killed 16 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank in 2024, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
In 2023, Israeli forces and settlers killed at least 121 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 103 Palestinian children with live ammunition, 13 Palestinian children were killed in drone strikes, four Palestinian children were killed by missiles fired from a U.S.-sourced Apache attack helicopter, and one child was killed in an Israeli warplane airstrike.
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.