Ramallah, August 1, 2022—An Israeli settler and at least one Israeli soldier shot live ammunition at a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, killing him, last week in the central occupied West Bank.
Amjad Nashat Faheem Naser (Abu Alia), 15, was fatally shot with live ammunition in the back around 11:30 a.m. on July 29 in the village of Al-Mughayyir, located northeast of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Amjad sustained a fatal gunshot wound to the right side of his back, but it remains unclear if an Israeli soldier or settler fired the fatal round.
“Palestinian children live in a hypermilitarized context where Israeli civilians illegally settled in occupied territory are armed by the Israeli government as a matter of official policy,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Israeli soldiers, police, and private security staff not only protect Israeli settler populations, but they also aid, abet, and perpetrate violence against Palestinians, including children.”
Amjad joined around 200 other Al-Mughayyir village residents in a march to an eastern area of the village on July 29 to protest Israeli settler violence against village residents and their property. As they reached their destination, around seven Israeli soldiers deployed in two military vehicles met the group with more soldiers arriving soon after firing stun grenades, tear gas canisters, and live ammunition, according to information collected by DCIP. Israeli settlers appeared and confrontations ensued.
Once Israeli settlers began to withdraw from the area, an armed Israeli settler in a blue shirt lingered, taking cover behind a stone barrier, kneeling, and shooting live ammunition at Palestinian demonstrators about 70 meters (220 feet) away, according to information collected by DCIP.
As the Palestinian demonstrators fled around 11:30 a.m., the Israeli settler continued to fire live ammunition as an Israeli soldier appeared around 15 meters (50 feet) from the fleeing demonstrators, firing on them, too. It was at this moment that Amjad sustained a gunshot wound resulting in severe internal bleeding, according to information collected by DCIP. He was transferred in an ambulance to Istishari Arab Hospital in Ramallah, where doctors operated on his injuries before he succumbed to his wounds around 2 p.m.
Residents from Al-Mughayyir hold weekly demonstrations on most Fridays protesting a nearby illegal Israeli outpost, Malachei HaShalom, established on village land in 2015. Clashes are common, but confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth are typically minor, a source told DCIP.
Amjad’s killing is the third child fatality that DCIP has documented in Al-Mughayyir in recent years. Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Ali Ayman Saleh Abu Alia in the abdomen while observing clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth in December 2020. In February 2018, Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Laith Abu Naim, with a rubber-coated metal bullet after he threw a stone at a military jeep. The bullet entered the left side of his forehead and settled in his brain.
Israel has an obligation as the “Occupying Power” under international humanitarian law to protect the Palestinian population living under Israeli military occupation. However, DCIP documentation shows that Israeli forces frequently fail to intervene to stop or prevent Israeli settler attacks.
Settler attacks usually entail groups of Israeli men throwing stones at Palestinians, often including children, or vandalizing property, such as homes, cars, churches, mosques and schools. Beatings and shootings, resulting in injuries and occasionally fatalities, are also regular occurrences, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
While they are civilians, Israeli settlers are issued firearms by the Israeli government and many subscribe to ultra-nationalistic beliefs that manifest in extreme violence towards Palestinians, including children. Israeli settlers who attack Palestinians are motivated by the drive to dispossess Palestinians of their land, according to Israeli human rights group Yesh Din.
Impunity is rampant for Israeli settlers who attack Palestinians. According to Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, 91 percent of investigations into ideological crimes against Palestinians are closed with no indictments filed.
Since Israeli forces occupied the West Bank in 1967, Israeli authorities have established more than 200 Jewish-only settlements that house around 700,000 Israeli citizens, according to the Times of Israel.
Israel’s Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank amount to a war crime as transferring civilians into the Occupied Palestinian Territory violates international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Despite living in the same territory, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are subject to Israeli military law, while Israeli settlers living illegally in permanent, Jewish-only communities built on Palestinian land are subject to the Israeli civilian legal system.
Amjad is the 17th Palestinian child shot and killed by Israeli forces in 2022, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
In June, Mohammad Abdallah Salah Suleiman, 16, was shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces around 7:45 p.m. on June 24 during confrontations with Israeli soldiers near Silwad, a town located northeast of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank.
Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Odeh Mohammad Odeh Sadaqa on June 2 in the occupied West Bank village of Al-Midya, west of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank. Odeh was walking with two friends about 100 meters (330 feet) from his home when Israeli forces deployed in the area opened fire on them. As they attempted to flee, Odeh was struck in the back with a single bullet that struck his heart and exited through his chest, according to information collected by DCIP.
In May, Israeli forces shot and killed 14-year-old Zaid Mohammad Said Ghunaim on May 27 in the occupied West Bank town of Al-Khader, located southwest of Bethlehem. Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Ghaith Mohammad Rafiq Ziad Yamin around 1:30 a.m. on May 25 near Qabr Yusuf (Jacob’s Tomb) east of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. Amjad Walid Hussein Fayed, 16, was shot with live ammunition in the chest by Israeli forces around 2:30 a.m. on May 21 in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. Israeli forces shot and killed Thaer Khalil Mohammad Maslat, 16, with live ammunition on May 11 in the occupied West Bank city of Al-Bireh shortly after he left school. On May 8, Israeli forces shot and killed 17-year-old Motasem Mohammad Taleb Atallah inside the Jewish-only Tekoa settlement located near Bethlehem after he entered the settlement possessing a knife.
Shawkat Kamal Shawkat Abed, 17, succumbed to his injuries on April 15 after Israeli forces shot him in the abdomen near Jenin. Israeli forces shot and killed Qusai Fuad Mohammad Hamamra, 16, in Husan, near Bethlehem on April 13. Mohammad Hussein Mohammad Qassim succumbed to his wounds on April 11, a day after Israeli forces shot him in Jenin. Israeli forces shot and killed Sanad Mohammad Khalil Abu Atiya on March 31 in Jenin as he approached a wounded man in an attempt to render aid. Nader Haitham Fathi Rayyan, 16, was killed by Israeli forces outside the entrance of Balata refugee camp located southeast of Nablus on March 15.
Israeli forces shot and killed Yamen Nafez Mahmoud Khanafseh in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem on March 6. Israeli forces shot and killed 13-year-old Mohammad Rezq Shehadeh Salah on February 22 in Al-Khader, southwest of Bethlehem. An Israeli sniper shot and killed 16-year-old Mohammad Akram Ali Taher Abu Salah with live ammunition on February 13 while Israeli forces deployed in the village of Silat Al-Harithiya near Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
2021 was the deadliest year for Palestinian children since 2014. Israeli forces and armed civilians killed 78 Palestinian children, according to evidence collected by DCIP.