Ramallah, December 9, 2015—Israeli forces killed four Palestinian teenagers in separate incidents in East Jerusalem and the West Bank over the past two weeks, raising Palestinian child fatalities to 23 since October 2015.
On November 11, Ibrahim Dawoud, 16, sustained a gunshot injury to the chest during clashes with Israeli forces near a military checkpoint at the northern entrance of the West Bank town of Al-Bireh. A Palestinian ambulance transferred the teenager to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah.
According to Ibrahim’s medical report, the bullet penetrated the right part of his heart and wound up in his stomach. He was “totally dependent on ventilator,” and developed “multi-organ death.” Senior neuro and cardiac surgeons eventually declared him brain dead. On November 25, Ibrahim died of his wounds.
On November 29, Israeli forces shot dead Ayman Abassi, 17, from the Palestinian neighborhood of Ras al-Amud in East Jerusalem, near the newly installed military checkpoint, according to witnesses.
“I passed near the checkpoint around 9 p.m., and there were no clashes or throwing stones,” Samir Abassi told Defense for Children International – Palestine. “After 10 minutes, I heard a gunshot. Later on, we were informed that Ayman was killed near that checkpoint.”
Another witness told DCIP that Ayman was transferred to a medical center in the neighborhood, where doctors pronounced him dead due to a single gunshot to the chest.
“After a while, Israeli forces stormed the area to seize Ayman’s body, but Palestinian youth managed to hide the body and bury it in Silwan cemetery just after midnight,” Anwar Abassi told DCIP.
An Israeli spokeswoman said that Israeli forces stationed in the neighborhood opened fire at Palestinians after 10 firebombs had been hurled at them, but could not confirm if they had hit anyone.
On December 1, Israeli forces shot dead Mamoun Khatib, 16, after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli settler at the Gush Etzion settlement junction in the West Bank, south of Jerusalem. DCIP is still investigating the circumstances.
The Israeli settler sustained shrapnel wounds to the hand and chest from the bullets fired by the Israeli soldiers, the Israeli news website Ynetnews reported.
In Hebron, Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers on December 4, after they allegedly stabbed Israeli soldiers, the Palestinian news agency Maan reported. DCIP confirmed their identities as Mustafa Fanoun, 15, and his cousin, Taher Fanoun, 19, both from Tel Rumeida in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.
“The failure to open investigations into the killings of Palestinian children and the refusal to conduct autopsy by Israeli authorities are the main factors behind the ambiguity in most of the fatalities that have taken place over the past two months,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP. “Withholding the bodies of 12 children has made independently verifying the details and circumstances of the incidents near impossible.”
Tensions across East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank escalated into lethal attacks since the start of October. At least 111 Palestinians and 19 Israelis have died over eight weeks of violence. DCIP has confirmed 23 Palestinian child fatalities, all except six while carrying out alleged stabbing attacks.
In response to escalating violence, Israeli forces appear to be implementing a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy, which in some incidents may amount to extrajudicial killings. International law requires that intentional lethal force be used only when absolutely unavoidable. Where individuals allegedly carry out a criminal act, they should be apprehended in accordance with international law and afforded due process of law.
At least 283 Palestinian children have sustained injuries since the start of October, based on DCIP’s initial data. DCIP defines a child as anyone under the age of 18.