Ramallah, October 7, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 12-year-old Palestinian boy this evening in the northwestern occupied West Bank.
Ahmad Abdulnaser Adnan Rabi, 12, was shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces around 7 p.m. on October 7 near the Israeli-controlled Eyal crossing near the occupied Palestinian city of Qalqilya, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Ahmad marched with other Palestinian youth to the crossing and confronted Israeli forces. An Israeli soldier shot Ahmad in the waist from a distance of 50-100 meters (165-330 feet). He was transported by ambulance to the Darwish Nazzal Governmental Hospital located in Qalqilya and was taken directly to the operating room. After an hour, doctors pronounced Ahmad dead.
“Palestinian children live in a hyper-militarized context where Israeli soldiers regularly target Palestinian children at protests with live ammunition,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Israeli forces have increasingly targeted Palestinian children at demonstrations with live ammunition despite the overwhelming majority of Palestinian children posing no threat to Israeli forces when they were killed.”
The demonstration that Ahmad joined was organized in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip after Palestinian armed groups fired rockets toward Israel and breached the Israeli perimeter fence surrounding Gaza early on October 7, launching attacks inside Israel. Israeli forces initiated a large-scale military operation dubbed Operation Iron Swords.
Israeli authorities have imposed a closure policy against the Gaza Strip since 2007 by strictly controlling and limiting the entry and exit of individuals; maintaining harsh restrictions on imports including food, construction materials, fuel, and other essential items; as well as prohibiting exports. Israel continues to maintain complete control over the Gaza Strip’s borders, airspace, and territorial waters.
48 Palestinian children have been killed in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers have shot and killed at least 40 Palestinian children and killed one Palestinian child with a targeted drone strike in the occupied West Bank. Six Palestinian children in Gaza were killed in the May 2023 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, and a 10-year-old Palestinian child in Gaza succumbed to head wounds he sustained during the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip in August 2022.
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.
International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and requires all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between military targets, civilians, and civilian objects.
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.