Ramallah, January 15, 2024—Israeli forces shot and killed three Palestinian boys in the occupied West Bank yesterday.
Suleiman Mohammad Suleiman Kanaan, 17, and Khaled Amer Khaled Hmaidat, 16, were both shot in the chest by Israeli forces around 8:30 p.m. on January 14 near the northern entrance to Al-Bireh, near Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, while in a car, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Suleiman was brought to Istishari Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 9 p.m. Israeli forces prevented Palestinian ambulance crews from reaching Khaled, who was bleeding out inside the car. Israeli forces confiscated Khaled’s body.
In a separate incident, Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Luai Majed Salem Al-Soufi around 2:20 p.m. on January 14 in Ain Al-Sultan refugee camp, northwest of Jericho in the central occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Luai was shot in the chest by an Israeli soldier from a distance of 70 to 100 meters (229 to 328 feet) while exiting a barbershop as Israeli forces carried out an incursion into the camp. An ambulance brought Luai to Jericho Governmental Hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 3 p.m.
“Just two weeks into the new year, Israeli forces have already killed eight Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank and hundreds of children in the Gaza Strip,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Israeli forces’ nonstop brutality is facilitated by Western countries, especially the United States, which continue offering the Israeli government unconditional support and sending weapons to the Israeli military which are used to kill Palestinian children without consequence.”
Israeli special forces entered Ain Al-Sultan refugee camp around 2 p.m. yesterday in a civilian vehicle with a Palestinian license plate. They surrounded a home in order to carry out an arrest, and when Palestinians discovered the presence of the Israeli special forces, they confronted the soldiers. Israeli military reinforcements arrived soon after and began intensively firing live ammunition toward Palestinians.
Israeli forces have killed eight Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank in 2024, according to documentation collected by DCIP. On January 12, Israeli forces shot and killed cousins Odai Ismail Yousef Abu Juhaisha, 17, and Mohammad Arafat Yousef Abu Juhaisha, 15, near Hebron. An Israeli drone strike killed 17-year-old Wadea Yaser Hasan Asous in Jenin on January 7 and 17-year-old Usaid Tareq Anis Rimawi was shot and killed by Israeli forces on January 5 in Beit Rima. Ruqaya Ahmad Odeh Jahalin, four, was shot in the back by Israeli forces around 5:30 p.m. on January 7 while sitting in the backseat of a shared taxi van near an Israeli military checkpoint near the Palestinian village of Beit Iksa.
89 Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to documentation collected by DCIP, when the Israeli military began a full-scale military offensive on the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Iron Swords.
In 2023, Israeli forces and settlers killed at least 121 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 102 Palestinian children with live ammunition, 14 Palestinian children were killed in drone strikes, four Palestinian children were killed by missiles fired from a U.S.-sourced Apache attack helicopter, and one child was killed in an Israeli warplane airstrike.
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 have withheld the bodies of at least 27 Palestinian children since June 2016, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Three of the children’s bodies have since been released to their families, while 24 Palestinian children’s bodies remain withheld by Israeli authorities.
Israeli authorities’ practice of confiscating and withholding Palestinian bodies is a violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, which include absolute prohibitions on cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, as well as stipulate that parties of an armed conflict must bury the deceased in an honorable way. For families, the practice amounts to collective punishment in violation of international humanitarian law.
In September 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court approved the practice of confiscating human remains after several legal challenges to the policy. On November 27, 2019, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett ordered all bodies of Palestinians alleged to have attacked Israeli citizens or soldiers to be withheld and not returned to their families. Israel is the only country in the world with such a policy of confiscating human remains, according to Adalah.