Ramallah, October 19, 2023—Israeli forces fatally shot four Palestinian children across the occupied West Bank in the last 24 hours.
Four Palestinian boys between the ages of 15 and 17 were killed by Israeli forces between the afternoon of October 18 and early morning hours of October 19, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Khalil Mohammad Khalil Shalash, 15, and Qais Mohammad Hassan Shalash, 17, were killed yesterday afternoon. Ahmad Munir Yousef Sdouq, 17, and Taha Ibrahim Mohammad Mahmeed, 15, were killed in the early morning hours today.
“Israeli forces are increasingly and brazenly killing Palestinian children throughout the West Bank,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “At this moment, there is absolutely no check on Israeli aggression as the international community enables war crimes through the provision of weapons and financial and diplomatic support to ensure Israeli forces and officers enjoy impunity regardless of the gravity of crimes.”
Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Khalil Mohammad Khalil Shalash and 17-year-old Qais Mohammad Hassan Shalash around 3 p.m. on October 18 near the entrance to the Palestinian town of Shuqba, west of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Khalil and Qais were walking toward the main road when Israeli forces shot them from 250 meters (820 feet) away, striking Khalil once under the armpit and once in the neck, while Qais was struck in the lower back. Israeli forces were traveling to the nearby town of Ni’lin. Khalil and Qais bled for about 30 minutes before an ambulance arrived and transported them to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, where they were both pronounced dead around 4:30 p.m.
17-year-old Ahmad Munir Yousef Sdouq was shot and killed by Israeli forces around 2:15 a.m. on October 19 in Dheisheh refugee camp, near Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces entered Dheisheh camp to search Al-Feniq Center, near Ahmad’s house, for Palestinian workers from Gaza, and Palestinian residents confronted them. Ahmad was standing inside his house at a window when a bullet struck Ahmad in the head and exited the back of his skull. He was transferred to Beit Jala Governmental Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 3:30 a.m.
Taha Ibrahim Mohammad Mahmeed, 15, was shot and killed by Israeli forces around 3:40 a.m. on October 19 near Nour Shams refugee camp in the city of Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli special forces entered Nour Shams about 20 minutes earlier and Taha stood in front of his house in Al-Malash neighborhood, which overlooks the camp’s entrance, to watch. Israeli forces fired three shots at Taha, striking him twice, once in the head and once through the eye. When Taha’s father approached him to bring him inside, Israeli forces shot his father in the abdomen. Israeli forces prevented ambulances from approaching the camp, so an ambulance did not reach Taha and his father until one hour later, when Taha was transferred to Thabet Thabet Governmental Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.
Throughout the occupied West Bank, Palestinians have organized marches and demonstrations over the past week in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip bearing the brunt of Israeli land, sea, and air attacks 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.
20 Palestinian children have been shot and killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to documentation collected by DCIP, when the Israeli military began a full-scale bombardment on the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Iron Swords.
So far this year, Israeli forces and settlers have shot and killed at least 59 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces killed one additional Palestinian child with a targeted drone strike in the occupied West Bank.
At least 64 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.