Israeli forces shoot and kill 15-year-old Palestinian boy

Dec 04, 2020 News | Fatalities and Injuries
Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Ali Ayman Saleh Abu Alia on Friday afternoon in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: Courtesy of Abu Alia family)

Ramallah, December 4, 2020—Israeli forces shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy Friday afternoon in the occupied West Bank.

Ali Ayman Saleh Abu Alia, 15, was shot with live ammunition in the abdomen while observing clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth from the village of Al-Mughayyir, located northeast of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Ali was reportedly not participating in clashes when he was struck with live ammunition, according to information collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. 

Ali was transported in a private car to the entrance of Turmus’ayya, a nearby village, where an ambulance subsequently transferred him to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah. Doctors pronounced him dead shortly after his arrival. 

“Israeli forces routinely violate international law by using lethal force against Palestinian children without justification,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP. “Like nearly every other case involving Israeli forces’ unlawful killing of Palestinian children, systemic impunity as the norm ensures that the perpetrator responsible will never be held accountable by Israeli authorities.”

Clashes began on Friday morning between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces at the entrance to the village. Israeli forces responded to Palestinian demonstrators by firing tear gas canisters, rubber-coated metal bullets, and rubber-tipped sponge rounds, according to information collected by DCIP. As clashes continued into the afternoon, Israeli forces began firing live ammunition, killing Ali. Four Palestinians were also injured by rubber-coated metal bullets and treated at the scene, according to Haaretz.

Residents from Al-Mughayyir hold weekly demonstrations on most Fridays protesting a nearby illegal Israeli outpost, Malachei HaShalom, established on village land in 2015. Clashes are common, but confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth are typically minor, a source told DCIP.

Ali’s killing is the second that DCIP has documented in Al-Mughayyir in recent years. In February 2018, Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Laith Abu Naim, with a rubber-coated metal bullet after he threw a stone at a military jeep. The bullet entered the left side of his forehead and settled in his brain. Doctors at the Palestine Medical Complex were unable to revive him, and he was pronounced dead. 

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.

Ali is the fifth Palestinian child from the West Bank killed by Israeli forces with live ammunition this year. In October, Amer Abdel-Rahim Snobar, 16, was beaten and killed by Israeli soldiers near the occupied West Bank village of Turmus’ayya. An autopsy found that he likely died from asphyxiation as a result of strangulation, according to information collected by DCIP.

*Correction: This article was updated on December 6, 2020, to include the full legal name of the child, Ali Ayman Saleh Abu Alia.

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