Ramallah, December 8, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 14-year-old boy in the occupied West Bank this morning.
Maher Abdullah Ahmad Jawabra, 14, was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper around 7:15 a.m. this morning during an Israeli military incursion into Al-Far’a refugee camp, east of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Maher was standing on his cousin’s roof with his cousin and a friend when Israeli snipers stationed on top of an UNRWA medical center shot them from a distance of 250 to 300 meters (820 to 984 feet) away. Palestinian ambulances attempted to reach Maher and the other two young men, but Israeli forces held them at gunpoint and prevented them from providing aid. When Israeli forces withdrew from Al-Far’a around 8:30 a.m., camp residents transported Maher and the other two young men to the Turkish Tubas Governmental Hospital, where Maher and his cousin were declared dead on arrival.
“Israeli forces are shouting to the world through their actions that Palestinian children are undoubtedly targets,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “The international communities’ complete failure to act in any meaningful way to protect Palestinian children does nothing more than empower Israeli forces to increasingly target Palestinian children across the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Around 6:45 a.m. today, Israeli special forces infiltrated Al-Far’a refugee camp in two civilian vehicles with Palestinian license plates near the market area near the camp’s main entrance. Israeli soldiers from the special unit went to the roof of the Al-Far’a Health Center building, managed by UNRWA, and positioned themselves on its roof for sniping purposes.
The rest of the members of the special forces raided two houses to carry out an arrest operation.
About 15 minutes later, Palestinians discovered the presence of Israeli special forces and confrontations and armed clashes broke out between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers. As a result, military reinforcements arrived, consisting of about 15 military vehicles accompanied by a military bulldozer. A cordon was imposed on all entrances of the camp.
The Israeli military operation in Al-Far’a refugee camp killed six Palestinians, including Maher, and injured at least eight others.
69 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.
So far this year, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 109 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 95 Palestinian children with live ammunition, nine 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.
At least 256 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
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.