Ramallah, April 10, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian boy near Jericho today.
Mohammad Fayez Mohammad Awadat (Bilhan), 17, was shot and killed by Israeli forces around 10:30 a.m. on April 10 in Aqbat Jabr refugee camp, near the city of Jericho in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Israeli forces entered Aqbat Jabr refugee camp around 9:40 a.m. earlier that morning, and while withdrawing from the camp, fired live ammunition indiscriminately, striking Mohammad in his head, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. A Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulance transferred Mohammad to Jericho government hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 11:30 a.m.
“Systemic impunity creates an ultra permissive context where Israeli forces know no bounds and routinely shoot to kill Palestinian children in circumstances where there is no imminent threat to life,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Unlawful killings of Palestinian children have become the norm as Israeli forces become increasingly empowered to use intentional lethal force in situations that are not justified. In short, these are war crimes with no consequence.”
Mohammad is the 18th Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces have shot and killed 17 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, 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.
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.