Israeli forces kill 17-year-old Palestinian in Arroub refugee camp

May 17, 2021
Obaida Akram Abdurrahman Jawabra, 17, was shot dead by Israeli forces with live ammunition today around 8 p.m. local time in Al-Arroub refugee camp located near the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron. (Photo: DCIP / Matthew Cassel)

Ramallah, May 17, 2021—Israeli forces shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy today in the southern West Bank. 

Obaida Akram Abdurahman Jawabra, 17, was shot dead by Israeli forces with live ammunition today around 8 p.m. local time in Al-Arroub refugee camp located near the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Obaida sustained a gunshot wound to his chest during a demonstration at the entrance of the camp located near Route 60, the main route in the West Bank connecting Hebron and Jerusalem. An Israeli soldier deployed about 70 meters (230 feet) away fired the fatal shot, according to eyewitnesses interviewed by Defense for Children International - Palestine.

Israeli forces blocked the entrance to Al-Arroub camp, preventing an ambulance from reaching him, so Obaida was transported in a private car to a medical center in the town of Beit Fajjar where he was pronounced dead, according to information collected by DCIP. Later, Obaida’s body was transferred to Al-Ahli hospital in Hebron. 

“It is becoming shockingly clear to the international community that Israeli forces kill children with impunity,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish the accountability program director at DCIP. “Systemic impunity ensures there are no safe spaces for Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation. They can be killed at any moment with no accountability.” 

Cars pass by an Israeli military watchtower located along Route 60 opposite from the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank. (Photo: DCIP / Matthew Cassel)

Obaida is the fourth Palestinian teen shot dead by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank this year. Rashid Mohammad Rashid Abu Arra, 16, was shot dead by Israeli forces with live ammunition early last Wednesday morning in the village of Aqaba, located northwest of Tubas in the occupied West Bank. He was shot from behind and sustained two gunshot wounds to the upper and middle back, DCIP reported. The killing occurred as Israeli forces entered the village during the early morning to conduct search and arrest operations. 

On May 5, Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Said Yousef Mohammad Odeh in Odala, a village located south of Nablus in the northern West Bank. Israeli forces reportedly confronted Palestinian youth at the village entrance prior to the shooting. Said was not involved in the confrontations at the time he was shot, DCIP reported.

Israeli forces shot and killed 17-year-old Attallah Mohammad Harb Rayan on January 26 after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier stationed at Hares Junction, southwest of Nablus and near the illegal Israeli settlements, Revava and Barqan. 

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.

In 2018, as part of a relationship developed through DCIP’s legal aid to Obaida and his family, Obaida agreed to be the subject of a short film produced by DCIP. The film OBAIDA by Matthew Cassel focused on Obaida’s experience as a Palestinian child arrested by Israeli forces and prosecuted in Israeli military courts. 

Obaida was first arrested by Israeli forces when he was just 14 years old. He was detained and imprisoned by Israeli forces a second time the following year. Like the overwhelming majority of Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank, Obaida was accused of stone-throwing.

He was scheduled to graduate next month from a vocational cooking course at the Talitha Kumi Community College located in the West Bank town of Beit Jala, according to information collected by DCIP.

Obaida Jawabra, 17, was shot dead by Israeli forces with live ammunition around 8 p.m. on May 17, 2021. (Photo: DCIP / Matthew Cassel)

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that automatically and systematically detains and prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections. Israel detains and prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts each year. Nearly three out of four Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces experiences some form of physical violence, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

Since 1967, Israel has operated two separate legal systems in the same territory. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli settlers are subject to the civilian and criminal legal system whereas Palestinians live under military law. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military courts.

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