Ramallah, December 22, 2020—Israeli paramilitary border police officers shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy on Monday night in occupied East Jerusalem after the teen allegedly opened fire on Israeli forces.
Mahmoud Omar Sadeq Kmail, 17, from Qabatiya in the northern West Bank near Jenin, was shot by Israeli forces in the Bab Huta neighborhood in Jerusalem’s Old City shortly after 8 p.m. Monday evening, according to information collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Israeli forces shot Mahmoud during a short chase after he had allegedly opened fire on Israeli police stationed near the Huta Gate, located on the northern side of the Al-Aqsa compound.
“Israeli forces routinely use intentional lethal force in circumstances not justified by international law, which in some incidents amount to extrajudicial killings,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program Director at DCIP. “If a child is suspected of committing a criminal act, they should be apprehended in accordance with international standards and afforded due process of law. There must be an impartial independent investigation in this case.”
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.
Mahmoud fled after allegedly firing on Israeli paramilitary border police officers with a “Carlo” submachine gun, according to Haaretz. As he ran from the scene, two Israeli border police officers chased him. Mahmoud stopped on a stone staircase around 650 feet (200 meters) from Huta Gate and reportedly fired towards Israeli forces. Paramilitary border police officers shot him as he retreated down the stairs. He was reportedly shot up to 10 times from an approximate distance of around 16 feet (5 meters), according to documentation collected by DCIP.
No medical care was provided after Mahmoud was shot, and his body remained on the ground for two hours, before an ambulance came to collect it, an eyewitness told DCIP. An Israeli paramilitary border police officer was lightly injured after he tripped and fell while pursuing Mahmoud, Haaretz reported.
Mahmoud is the ninth child killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip this year, and the sixth killed with live ammunition, according to documentation collected by DCIP. On December 4, Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Ali Ayman Saleh Abu Alia in Al-Mughayyir, a village northeast of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Ali did not present any mortal threat to Israeli forces at the time he was killed, according to documentation collected by DCIP, and the Israeli military has reportedly opened an investigation into the killing.
Israeli forces are rarely held accountable for grave violations against Palestinian children, including unlawful killings and excessive use of force. According to Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization, around 80 percent of complaints filed with Israeli authorities by Palestinians for alleged violations and harm by Israeli soldiers between 2017 and 2018 were closed with no criminal investigation opened. Of complaints where a criminal investigation was opened, only three incidents (3.2 percent) resulted in indictments. Overall, the chances that a complaint leads to an indictment of an Israeli soldier for violence, including killing, or other harm is 0.7 percent, according to Yesh Din.