Israeli forces kill 16-year-old Palestinian boy with excessive force

Oct 27, 2020 News | Fatalities and Injuries
Israeli forces killed Amer Abdel-Rahim Snobar, 16, on October 24 using excessive force. (Photo: Courtesy of Snobar family)

Ramallah, October 27, 2020—Israeli forces killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy on Saturday night northeast of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Amer Abdel-Rahim Snobar, 16, was helping his 17-year-old friend* move his broken-down car around 10 p.m. on October 24 near the village of Turmus’ayya, located northeast of Ramallah, when Israeli forces arrived at the scene, according to information collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. The friend managed to flee on foot to some nearby trees where he became an eyewitness to Snobar’s killing. Snobar was surrounded by Israeli forces and placed in a chokehold before being beaten and killed by Israeli forces, according to the eyewitness. Snobar was later transferred by ambulance to a Ramallah hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

Snobar’s body was transferred to the An-Najah National University ‎Hospital in Nablus where an autopsy was conducted. Doctors found he likely died from asphyxiation as a result of strangulation, according to information collected by DCIP. The initial autopsy report also noted substantial bruising and wounds on Snobar’s chest and abdominal area. 

Israeli authorities claimed that Snobar was chased, fell, and injured himself and that Israeli forces did not use any excessive force, according to news media reports.

“Israeli forces routinely use excessive and lethal force against Palestinian children,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP. “As long as systemic impunity is the norm and the international community remains complicit, Israeli forces will continue to torture and carry out extrajudicial and unlawful killings against Palestinian children.”

The 17-year-old eyewitness told DCIP he was driving south from the village of Yatma, located south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, to Ramallah when the unlicensed car he was driving broke down near the entrance to Turmus’ayya village. Israeli forces noticed the car and approached, while the eyewitness fled into some nearby trees. Israeli forces examined the car for about 45 minutes before moving along.

“When Israeli forces left the area, I rode in a private car back to Yatma, and I contacted Amer to get his help towing and repairing my car,” the eyewitness told DCIP. “We drove another unlicensed car from Yatma and pulled the vehicle to the entrance of Turmus'ayya, and I noticed the Israeli forces’ vehicle approaching again.”  

“I was scared so I ran away and yelled at Amer to flee,” the eyewitness told DCIP. “I managed to escape but they surrounded Amer, and he immediately put his hands up in a gesture of surrender.”

There were six Israeli soldiers surrounding Snobar as a soldier directly behind him placed him in an aggressive chokehold using a baton, according to the eyewitness. Then, the other Israeli soldiers began cursing and beating Snobar with their fists and weapons.

“I walked toward the cars,” the eyewitness told DCIP. “I was about 30 meters away from the scene and I could see and hear Amer screaming and crying of pain, but after about four minutes all the screams stopped. I thought they released him, but then I saw four Israeli soldiers carrying his body. They left it near one of our vehicles and surrounded him until the ambulance arrived.”

Previously, Israeli forces shot and killed Mohammad Damer Hamdan Matar, 16, on August 19 in the occupied West Bank as he and two other Palestinian teenagers approached a road used by Israeli settlers near the occupied West Bank village of Deir Abu Meshal, located northwest of Ramallah, seemingly to throw stones or Molotov cocktails, according to information collected by DCIP. Israeli forces in a nearby concealed position opened-fire with live ammunition, killing Matar and injuring the other boys. 

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 do not appear to be warranted and may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings.

*The eyewitness' name is known to DCIP but is not disclosed here due to privacy concerns.

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