Israeli forces shoot and kill 16-year-old Palestinian boy

May 13, 2021
Israeli forces shot and killed Rashid Mohammad Rashid Abu Arra, 16, northwest of Tubas in the northern occupied West Bank on May 12, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Abu Arra family)

Ramallah, May 13, 2021—Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy early yesterday morning in the northern occupied West Bank.

Rashid Mohammad Rashid Abu Arra, 16, was shot dead by Israeli forces with live ammunition early 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, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. The killing occurred as Israeli forces entered the village during the early morning to conduct search and arrest operations. 

Around 6:30 a.m., Rashid, his father, brother, and another individual arrived at Aqaba, returning from Nablus with produce for local vendors to sell in the village, an eyewitness told DCIP. They encountered four Israeli military vehicles deployed on Aqaba’s main road. 

Rashid approached the area where the Israeli military vehicles were parked. He and a few others threw stones at the back of the military vehicles, the eyewitness told DCIP. Almost immediately, Israeli forces in one vehicle began driving in reverse. Israeli forces opened the vehicle’s rear door and fired three live bullets at the group as Rashid and the others turned and attempted to flee. Rashid was struck in the back with two live rounds from a distance of approximately 15 meters (50 feet), according to information collected by DCIP. 

Rashid managed to run about 20 meters (65 feet) and, bleeding from his neck, collapsed in front of his father’s vegetable shop. 

He was transported to Tubas hospital by car with his parents at his side. He lost consciousness while en route. Rashid was taken to the emergency room where doctors attempted to resuscitate him for 20 minutes but failed and later pronounced him dead.

Israeli forces shot and killed Rashid Mohammad Rashid Abu Arra, 16, northwest of Tubas in the northern occupied West Bank on May 12, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Abu Arra family)

“Israeli soldiers and police use excessive force systematically and with almost complete impunity against Palestinian children,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “As long as systemic impunity is the norm and the international community remains complicit, Israeli forces will continue to carry out extrajudicial and unlawful killings against Palestinian children.”

Israeli forces also shot and killed 17-year-old Bashar Ahmad Ibrahim Samour yesterday morning near the Gaza perimeter fence east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Israeli forces deployed on the opposite side of the perimeter fence shot and killed Bashar around 10 a.m. Bashar sustained two gunshot wounds to the right side of his chest, according to documentation collected by DCIP. He worked as a farmer and was connecting irrigation pipes about 500 meters (1640 feet) from the fence when he was shot and killed. 

DCIP has documented the killings of at least 13 Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip this week as violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continues to escalate. DCIP staff continues to monitor and investigate other incidents throughout the Gaza Strip.

Rashid is the third child killed by Israeli forces with live ammunition in the occupied West Bank this year. Last week, 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, according to information collected by DCIP.

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.

Israeli forces are rarely held accountable for grave violations against Palestinian children, including unlawful killings and excessive use of force. According to Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization, around 80 percent of complaints filed with Israeli authorities by Palestinians for alleged violations and harm by Israeli soldiers between 2017 and 2018 were closed with no criminal investigation opened. Of complaints where a criminal investigation was opened, only three incidents (3.2 percent) resulted in indictments. Overall, the chances that a complaint leads to an indictment of an Israeli soldier for violence, including killing, or other harm is 0.7 percent, according to Yesh Din.

News | Fatalities and Injuries
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