Ramallah, January 5, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy in the northern occupied West Bank this morning.
Amer Ghazi Mahmoud Zeitoun, 16, was shot and killed by Israeli forces around 2 a.m. on January 5 in Balata refugee camp, south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Israeli forces entered Balata refugee camp in order to arrest Palestinians in the Hashashin neighborhood. Armed Palestinians confronted Israeli forces and Israeli snipers were deployed in the alleys of the camp. Amer, who was unarmed, was near Palestinian gunmen firing upon Israeli forces. When Amer leaned forward to see the soldiers, an Israeli sniper shot him in the head with live ammunition. After Amer fell to the ground, Israeli soldiers continued firing live ammunition at him, striking him in his right wrist and left knee. Amer was transferred to Rafidia hospital in a private car where he was pronounced dead around 3:15 a.m.
“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. “Five days into the new year, Israeli forces have already shot and killed three Palestinian boys during these nighttime raids, and no one has been held accountable for their deaths.”
Amer is the third Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Adam Issam Shaker Ayyad on January 3 in Dheisheh refugee camp. On January 1, an Israeli sniper shot 17-year-old Fuad Mahmoud Ahmad Abed in Kafr Dan, west of Jenin, and he was pronounced dead early in the morning on January 2.
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.