Israeli forces kill 14-year-old Palestinian child near Bethlehem

Oct 18, 2021
Israeli forces shot and killed 14-year-old Amjad Osama Jalal Abu Sultan in Beit Jala on October 14, 2021.

Ramallah, October 18, 2021—Israeli forces shot and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy Thursday night in the central occupied West Bank after he lit a Molotov cocktail.

Amjad Osama Jalal Abu Sultan, 14, was shot and killed by Israeli forces around 10 p.m. on October 14 after he allegedly lit a Molotov cocktail in Beit Jala, west of Bethlehem near Route 60, a main north-to-south route in the occupied West Bank, according to information gathered by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Israeli forces fired the bullets without any warning or alert before shooting him, an eyewitness told DCIP. 

“Israeli forces routinely unlawfully kill Palestinian children with impunity, using excessive force and unjustified intentional lethal force,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “If a child is suspected of committing a criminal act, they should be apprehended in accordance with international standards and afforded due process of law.”

Amjad and his friend Mohammad T., 14, went to an area that overlooks Route 60 around 10 p.m., Mohammad told DCIP. Six Israeli soldiers emerged from behind some rocks, as Amjad lit a Molotov cocktail. The soldiers fired three shots at Amjad without warning. After he was shot, Amjad fell to the ground, Mohammad told DCIP.

Amjad’s parents received a phone call later that night from Israeli authorities informing them that their son was shot and killed, according to information gathered by DCIP. Israeli forces confiscated Amjad’s body after the killing and have not released it to his family. As a result, DCIP has been unable to determine how many bullets struck Amjad or the location of his gunshot wounds. 

Amjad is the 14th Palestinian child shot and killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the beginning of 2021. Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Yousef Mohammad Mathi 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.

Imad Khaled Saleh Hashash, 15, was shot and killed by Israeli forces on August 24 as Israeli forces conducted a raid in the Balata refugee camp located southeast of Nablus. Israeli forces shot Mohammad Mo’ayyad Bahjat Abu Sara on July 28, while he was a passenger in his father’s car. Israeli forces fired 13 bullets at the vehicle as it retreated from the area in which they were deployed. 

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.

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.

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