Ramallah, May 1, 2023–Israeli forces have shot and killed two Palestinian boys in the occupied West Bank since Friday.
Jebril Mohammad Said Kamal, 17, was shot in the head with live ammunition by Israeli forces around 6:45 a.m. on May 1 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 special forces entered the refugee camp around 6 a.m. to conduct arrest operations, followed by Israeli soldiers around 6:30 a.m., when Palestinian residents confronted Israeli forces. After shooting him in the head, Jebril was transferred to Jericho Governmental Hospital and doctors pronounced him dead around 7:15 a.m.
Israeli forces shot Mustafa Amer Ali Sabbah, 15, in the chest with live ammunition around 2 p.m. on April 28 in the village of Tuqu, near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Mustafa sustained a gunshot wound to the left side of his chest which exited from the right side of his back. Bullet fragments injured Mustafa’s heart, lungs, liver, and throat. Mustafa was transferred to a health center in Tuqu, where doctors soon after pronounced him dead.
“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.”
Israeli forces have killed 20 Palestinian children in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces have shot and killed 19 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.