Ramallah, February 8, 2024—Israeli forces severely beat a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in Hebron on his way to buy bread.
Three Israeli soldiers approached 15-year-old Amir and began beating him around 2:40 p.m. on January 24 near his home in Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. The soldiers were chasing another child, who fled, before grabbing Amir and beginning to punch, slap, and verbally abuse him. Amir had just left his house to go across the street to buy bread.
“Israeli forces routinely show complete disregard, and often contempt, for Palestinian children’s lives and safety,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “In a hypermilitarized environment where systemic impunity is the norm, children like Amir will increasingly be targets.”
One of the soldiers repeatedly insulted Amir in Arabic and slapped his face for about five minutes. When Amir asked why the soldier was hitting him, the soldier responded with greater force.
“Then, he dragged me about 10 meters (33 feet) along the street towards a nearby wall, pushing me against it. While facing the wall, he continued to deliver slaps and punches to my face, as well as multiple punches to my stomach. I have been suffering from breathing difficulties for a long time, and he targeted painful and forceful slaps to my face, causing me to lose vision in my eyes due to the severity of the beating,” Amir told DCIP.
“I attempted to shield my face with my arms, but he would step back momentarily before returning to hit me again, all while hurling insults without any apparent reason,” Amir said.
After another five minutes, the soldier stepped back, and another soldier approached, insulting Amir and warning him not to be seen on the street again.
“He threatened that they would beat me whenever they spotted me, then instructed me to ‘put on a hoodie and act casual’ before ordering me to leave,” Amir explained.
“I returned home, in pain, bearing visible signs of the assault on my face. My right eye was swollen and red, and I had difficulty breathing and blurry vision. I told my parents what happened,” he continued.
Amir’s parents took him to Alia Government Hospital in a private car, where doctors took scans of his head, revealing bruises and contusions on his face, head, and chest.
“I sometimes fear leaving the house without someone accompanying me, as the Israeli military has become more violent since the recent events, setting up ambushes in the area to apprehend people,” said Amir.
The sustained physical and verbal abuse inflicted by Israeli forces upon Palestinian children has deep and lasting effects, extending beyond the immediate injuries. These traumatic experiences contribute to a pervasive atmosphere of fear and anxiety.
Such abuses not only amount to violations of international law but also impede the normal development and well-being of Palestinian children. The emotional and psychological toll of these actions leave a lasting impact on the mental health of a generation of children already facing the challenges of living under Israeli military occupation with no end in sight.