Ramallah, November 6, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy in East Jerusalem after he allegedly stabbed two Israeli policemen.
Mohammad Omar Ghannam Froukh, 16, was shot and killed by Israeli forces around 8:30 a.m. on November 6 after he allegedly stabbed two Israeli police officers near the Sahira gate on Rashid street in East Jerusalem, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Mohammad’s body remained on the ground until an ambulance arrived around 10 a.m. Israeli authorities confiscated Mohammad’s body.
“Palestinian children live in a hyper-militarized context where tensions have only increased recently in Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “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. Instead, all Palestinians, including children, are considered targets.”
DCIP is unable to confirm how many times Mohammad was shot or the locations of his injuries, since Israeli authorities are withholding his body.
After killing Mohammad, Israeli forces closed off part of Rashid street and entered Rashidia school in East Jerusalem and arrested three of his classmates, according to information collected by DCIP.
Later in the day, Israeli forces entered the Froukh family home in Al-Issawiya. They closed off the house, searched each room, damaged the contents of the house, then arrested all of Mohammad’s family members.
One of the Israeli police officers died from injuries sustained during the attack and may have also sustained injuries from other officers firing live ammunition at Mohammad, according to Ha’aretz.
Israeli forces have escalated military operations throughout the occupied West Bank in recent weeks, carrying out increasing numbers of search and arrest operations.
Hamza Zaied Abed Sawafta, 17, was shot by Israeli forces on November 3 and Israeli authorities confiscated his body, according to documentation collected by DCIP. DCIP has since confirmed that Hamza was killed.
46 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 86 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 75 Palestinian children with live ammunition, seven Palestinian children were killed in drone strikes, and four Palestinian children were killed by missiles fired from a U.S.-sourced Apache attack helicopter.
At least 141 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.
Israeli forces have withheld the bodies of at least 21 Palestinian children since June 2016, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Three of the children’s bodies have since been released to their families, while 18 Palestinian children’s bodies remain withheld by Israeli authorities.
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.
In September 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court approved the practice of confiscating human remains after several legal challenges to the policy. On November 27, 2019, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett ordered all bodies of Palestinians alleged to have attacked Israeli citizens or soldiers to be withheld and not returned to their families. Israel is the only country in the world with such a policy of confiscating human remains, according to Adalah.