Ramallah, October 23, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in the northern occupied West Bank last night.
Mohammad Qasem Mohammad Abu Zer, 15, was shot in the chest by Israeli forces around 7 p.m. on October 22 in the Palestinian village of Zawata, northwest of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Mohammad, alongside other young Palestinians, were throwing stones at Israeli military vehicles after Israeli special forces entered Zawata and surrounded a Palestinian resident’s house. Mohammad was shot by an Israeli sniper stationed inside a Palestinian resident’s house from a distance of 40 to 50 meters (131 to 164 feet). Mohammad’s 18-year-old brother, Jamil, approached him to offer aid, but Israeli forces shot him as well. A third young Palestinian approached Mohammad and Jamil and the same Israeli sniper shot him. An ambulance transported Mohammad to An-Najah University Hospital in Nablus, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
“Israeli forces are increasingly and brazenly killing Palestinian children throughout the West Bank,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “At this moment, there is absolutely no check on Israeli aggression as the international community enables war crimes through the provision of weapons and financial and diplomatic support to ensure Israeli forces and officers enjoy impunity regardless of the gravity of crimes.”
Mohammad sustained a gunshot wound to the right side of his chest, rupturing his lung and diaphragm, according to information collected by DCIP. Jamil, Mohammad’s older brother, and the other young Palestinian that attempted to help him both sustained serious injuries and were transferred via ambulance to hospitals in Nablus.
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.
29 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 69 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 64 Palestinian children with live ammunition, one Palestinian child was killed in a drone strike, and four Palestinian children were killed by missiles fired from a U.S.-sourced Apache attack helicopter.
At least 91 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.