Ramallah, August 7, 2023—Israeli special forces shot and killed a Palestinian boy in the northern occupied West Bank yesterday.
Bara Ahmad Fayez Al-Qerm, 16, was shot and killed by Israeli special forces while he was traveling in a car with two other Palestinians around 5 p.m. on August 6 near the the village of Arraba, south of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Israeli paramilitary border police special forces from the Yamam unit driving two civilian vehicles with Palestinian license plates approached the vehicle that Bara and two other Palestinians were in. Eight Israeli special forces exited their vehicles and opened fire, targeting the car from a distance of 10 meters (33 feet), and killed all three Palestinians inside, including Bara. Israeli authorities confiscated all three bodies.
“Israeli forces routinely unlawfully kill Palestinian children with impunity, using intentional lethal force against Palestinian children when not justified,” 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. Israeli forces seemingly carried out an extrajudicial killing in broad daylight with many Palestinian civilians nearby.”
It is unclear how many bullets struck Bara or their locations, since Israeli authorities confiscated his body.
The daytime raid was conducted by Israel's paramilitary border police unit known as Yamam, a unit that has been involved in targeted and extrajudicial killings of Palestinians, including raids in civilian areas. In March, Israeli special forces from the Yamam paramilitary border police unit killed four Palestinians in Jenin, including 14-year-old Omar Mohammad Omar Awadin, who was riding his bike outside his parents’ shop when Israeli special forces shot him in the back.
Israeli military operations used to happen mostly at night. Now, a number of incursions happen during the day and as of May 15, 108 Palestinians had been killed.— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 26, 2023
At least 19 were children, including Omar Awadin, age 14, who was killed during the raid in Jenin.… pic.twitter.com/Kxz8y0yy5M
Israeli forces have withheld the bodies of at least 18 Palestinian children since June 2016, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Three of the children’s bodies have since been released to their families, while 15 Palestinian children’s bodies remain withheld by Israeli authorities.
39 Palestinian children have been killed in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces have shot and killed at least 31 Palestinian children and killed one Palestinian child with a targeted drone strike in the occupied West Bank. Six Palestinian children in Gaza were killed in the May 2023 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, 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.
Israeli authorities’ practice of confiscating and withholding Palestinian bodies is a violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, which include absolute prohibitions on cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, as well as stipulate that parties of an armed conflict must bury the deceased in an honorable way. For families, the practice amounts to collective punishment in violation of international humanitarian law.
In September 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court approved the practice of confiscating human remains after several legal challenges to the policy. On November 27, 2019, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett ordered all bodies of Palestinians alleged to have attacked Israeli citizens or soldiers to be withheld and not returned to their families. Israel is the only country in the world with such a policy of confiscating human remains, according to Adalah.
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.