Ramallah, January 3, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinian boys in the occupied West Bank in the first days of 2023.
Adam Issam Shaker Ayyad, 15, was shot and killed by Israeli forces around 4:30 a.m. on January 3 in Dheisheh refugee camp, just outside the city of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Israeli forces entered Dheisheh refugee camp earlier that morning to arrest a Palestinian man. Palestinians confronted Israeli forces, who fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs, and tear gas canisters at the crowds. Adam sustained at least one gunshot wound to the back of his shoulder. He was transferred to Al-Hussein Hospital in nearby Beit Jala in a private car, where doctors pronounced him dead.
Fuad Mahmoud Ahmad Abed, 17, was shot by an Israeli sniper around 11:30 p.m. on January 1 in the village of Kafr Dan, west of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. An Israeli sniper stationed on the second floor of a Palestinian home about 50 meters (164 feet) away shot Fuad in his abdomen, pelvis, and legs. A Palestinian ambulance transferred Fuad to Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin, where doctors pronounced him dead around 1 a.m. on January 2.
“Palestinian children live in a hyper-militarized context where the Israeli military's nighttime and early morning incursions into Palestinian communities to arrest and intimidate Palestinian civilians is the norm,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “The year has just begun and Israeli forces have already shot and killed two Palestinian children with complete impunity.”
Fuad was killed as Israeli forces entered Kafr Dan around 10:30 p.m. to demolish the homes of two Palestinian men who allegedly carried out a shooting attack and were killed by Israeli forces on September 14, 2022. Palestinians confronted Israeli forces, and Israeli forces withdrew from the area around 11:30 p.m. Some Palestinians chased after the Israeli military vehicles, including Fuad.
Fuad and Adam are the first two Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
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.
53 Palestinian children were killed in 2022, according to documentation collected by DCIP, including 36 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.