Ramallah, November 10, 2022—Israeli forces killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy by shooting him and detonating an explosive object yesterday near Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank.
Mahdi Mohammad Hamdallah Hashash, 15, was shot with live ammunition in the leg and chest by Israeli forces from a distance of about 400 meters (1312 feet) around 3 a.m. on November 9 near Qabr Yousuf (Joseph’s Tomb) outside of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. As Israeli forces opened fire, live bullets also struck a homemade explosive object near Mahdi and other Palestinian youth, causing the object to detonate. The resulting shrapnel severely injured Mahdi. A Palestinian ambulance transferred Mahdi to Rafidia hospital in Nablus, where doctors pronounced him dead.
“Palestinian children live in a hyper-militarized context where the Israeli military's nighttime incursions into Palestinian communities to arrest and intimidate Palestinian civilians is the norm,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “During these incursions, Israeli forces routinely resort to intentional lethal force in situations not justified under international law and make no effort to impartially investigate or ensure that Israeli soldiers act in accordance with international standards.”
Earlier that morning, Israeli settlers and forces arrived at Qabr Yousuf (Joseph’s Tomb), a religious shrine located just outside of Nablus that holds importance to both Palestinians and Israelis. The Israeli military had approved an event celebrating the win of the far-right and religious bloc in the recent Israeli elections, according to Al Jazeera.
Mahdi and other Palestinian youth confronted the Israeli settlers and forces. They placed a homemade explosive object, and when it fell out of place, Mahdi approached the object, and Israeli forces shot him in the leg, causing him to fall. Israeli forces continued firing upon Mahdi and the homemade explosive object, detonating the object, and further injuring Mahdi.
Israeli forces have intensified arrest operations and incursions into Palestinian cities in the occupied West Bank in recent months, leading to an increase in the number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the Israeli military launched its Operation “Break the Wave” on March 31, 2022.
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.
48 Palestinian children have been killed in 2022, according to documentation collected by DCIP, including 31 Palestinian children shot and killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the occupied West Bank. DCIP documented the killing of 17 Palestinian children between August 5–7 after Israeli forces launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip. DCIP continues to investigate several incidents.
2021 was the deadliest year for Palestinian children since 2014. Israeli forces and armed civilians killed 78 Palestinian children, according to evidence collected by DCIP.