Ramallah, March 16, 2023—Israeli special forces shot and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy in Jenin today.
Omar Mohammad Omar Awadin, 14, was shot with live ammunition in the back by undercover Israeli special forces while he was riding his bike outside his parents’ shop around 3 p.m. on March 16 in the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Omar sustained at least one gunshot wound to his back and was pronounced dead on arrival at Jenin Government Hospital.
“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. “Omar was riding his bike when he was shot and killed by Israeli forces—clearly not threatening anyone’s life. 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.”
Two private cars entered Abu Baker street in the center of Jenin around 3 p.m., and without warning, at least four undercover Israeli special forces dressed in plain clothes exited the cars and began firing live ammunition towards two young Palestinians walking across from Nimer Mall on Abu Baker street. Israeli special forces shot one in the head and the other in the back, and continued chasing and firing upon the one shot in the back, which is when Omar was struck with a bullet in his back.
Undercover Israeli special forces, also known as musta’abarin in Arabic, pose as Palestinians to infiltrate and carry out covert operations in Palestinian cities. These undercover Israeli special forces collect intelligence, infiltrate protests, and carry out black operations, targeted killings and assassinations.
Omar is the 17th Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces have shot and killed 16 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.