Ramallah, October 14, 2023—Israeli forces killed seven Palestinian boys in the occupied West Bank last night into today.
The seven Palestinian children between the ages of 14 and 17 years old were killed in the context of demonstrations across the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as Israeli forces increasingly use intentional lethal force in violation of international law to repress Palestinian protests. Hussain Mutaz Hussain Mousa, 16, Ayham Iyad Issa Jabarin, 17, Mohammad Taher Ali Mustafa, 17, Osama Zaal Abu Mara, 17, and Rafat Thaer Ahmad Abu Mhana, 17, were shot and killed yesterday, while 14-year-old Omar Ahmad Abdulrahman Asmar sustained gunshot wounds yesterday and succumbed to his injuries today. Mohammad Rafat Mohammad Edwan, 16, was shot by Israeli forces in Tulkarem on October 10 and succumbed to his injuries earlier today.
“Israeli forces know no bounds and are empowered to shoot to kill Palestinians, including children, and now, as a matter of routine, unlawfully shoot and kill Palestinian children,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “We are witnessing attacks against Palestinians throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory as Israeli forces and settlers are emboldened by systemic impunity and international support to commit war crimes on a whim.”
Israeli forces shot and killed two 17-year-old boys in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Al-Issawiya yesterday. Mohammad Taher Ali Mustafa, 17, was shot and killed by Israeli forces around 6:30 p.m., according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces shot Mohammad in the head and chest from a distance of less than 100 meters (328 feet) during confrontations between Palestinian youth and Israeli paramilitary border police forces. He was transferred to Al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem and pronounced dead around 7 p.m.
Laith Osama Zaal Abu Mara, 17, was found with a gunshot wound to the chest around 8 p.m. in Al-Issawiya, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Laith’s father spoke to him on the phone around 7:30 p.m. and Laith indicated he was with his friends near the entrance to Al-Issawiya. Around 8 p.m., Laith’s father received a call that his son was injured. Paramedics transported Laith to Al-Makassed Hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 9 p.m. Laith was likely shot by an Israeli sniper from a distance of 50 to 100 meters (164 to 328 feet) away, according to doctors. Mohammad Taher Ali Mustafa’s funeral had just finished when Laith’s death was announced.
Israeli forces shot and killed four other Palestinian boys in the occupied West Bank yesterday. Hussain Mutaz Hussain Mousa, 16, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the back of his head after 10 p.m. on October 13 in Beit Liqya, a Palestinian village southwest of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Hussain participated in a march alongside other Palestinians from Beit Liqya after Friday prayers, where Israeli forces confronted Palestinians and Palestinian youth allegedly threw stones toward the soldiers. Hussain did not return home after the march and later on his family was told by Palestinians he was with at the march that he had left the march and headed home alone. His family began searching for him around 6:30 p.m. They discovered his body after 10 p.m. and he was declared dead at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah.
Ayham Iyad Issa Jabarin, 17, was shot and killed by Israeli forces around 10 p.m. on October 13 in the Palestinian town of Al-Ram, south of Ramallah, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Palestinians confronted Israeli forces near the northern entrance to Al-Ram, setting tires on fire. Israeli forces shot Ayham in the head with live ammunition from about 150 meters (492 feet) away. A private car transferred him to a medical center in Al-Ram and he was later brought to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, where he was briefly resuscitated before being pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m.
Rafat Thaer Ahmad Abu Mhana, 17, was shot and killed by Israeli forces around 8:30 p.m. in Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Earlier in the afternoon, Palestinian residents demonstrated in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, roaming the streets of Tulkarem and confronting Israeli forces near the separation wall at Khaduri crossing. Israeli forces had fired on Palestinian protestors with live ammunition throughout the afternoon and evening. Around 8:30 p.m., Rafat was sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle near Khaduri crossing when Israeli forces suddenly opened fire on the vehicle from about 150 meters (492 feet) away. Rafat sustained one gunshot wound to the head, expelling brain matter, and one gunshot wound to the back, exiting from the chest. Rafat, along with three others from the car who were injured, were transported to Thabet Thabet Governmental Hospital in Tulkarem, where Rafat was pronounced dead on arrival.
Omar Ahmad Abdulrahman Asmar, 14, was shot in the right thigh by Israeli forces from a distance of about 100 meters (328 feet) around 2:30 p.m. on October 13 in the Palestinian village of Zeita, north of Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Omar was participating in a march toward the Israeli separation wall. Palestinians carried him to an ambulance, which transported him to Thabet Thabet Governmental Hospital in Tulkarem. Doctors were briefly able to resuscitate Omar, who was then transferred to Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin because there were no available operating rooms at Thabet Thabet. The bullet severed the femoral artery and despite many blood transfusions, Omar was pronounced dead the next day around 12 p.m. on October 14.
Mohammad Rafat Mohammad Edwan, 16, was shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces on October 10 around 5:30 p.m. during confrontations with Israeli soldiers in the Palestinian town of Faroun, located south of Tulkarem in the northwestern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Around 3:30 p.m., a group of Palestinian youth from Faroun went toward the separation wall located on the western side of their village and threw stones at Israeli forces deployed nearby. Mohammad was shot in the right shoulder with live ammunition around 5:30 p.m. by an Israeli soldier about 150–200 meters (490–655 feet) away. He was transported in an ambulance to Thabet Thabet Governmental Hospital in Tulkarem. He suffered severe bleeding in his lungs, underwent surgery, and was then placed in the intensive care unit, where he remained until October 12.
Due to the seriousness of Mohammad’s condition, he was transferred to the Istishari Hospital in Ramallah on October 12, where doctors determined the bullet entered his right shoulder and had settled in his right lung, while bullet fragments had penetrated his spinal cord in his neck, causing him to become paralyzed from the neck down. He was admitted to the ICU and surgery was scheduled for October 15. However, doctors were unable to stop the bleeding in his lungs and Mohammad died around 6 p.m. on October 14.
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.
15 Palestinian children have been shot and killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7, when the Israeli military began a full-scale assault on the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Iron Swords.
So far this year, Israeli forces and settlers have shot and killed at least 54 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces killed one additional Palestinian child with a targeted drone strike in the occupied West Bank.
At least 53 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to Al Jazeera.
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.