Ramallah, October 21, 2015—Defense for Children International – Palestine confirmed that Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinian children in separate incidents across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip over the past three weeks.
On Tuesday night, Israeli soldiers shot and killed Bashar al-Jabari, 15, and Husam al-Jabari, 18, outside the Rajabi House in the H2 area of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. In April 2014, Jewish settlers seized the building, located on a road that links the Jewish-only Kiryat Arba settlement to the Ibrahimi Mosque or Cave of the Patriarchs, after the Israeli Supreme Court upheld their purchase of the property.
An Israeli military spokesperson said, “Two suspects approached a military post in Hebron, one of the assailants stabbed a soldier, with forces shooting both suspects,” the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.
Also in Hebron, Israeli police said a female paramilitary border police officer shot dead a Palestinian girl after she allegedly stabbed her at the Ashmoret Yitzhak border police base on Saturday morning. DCIP confirmed the girl was 16-year-old Bayan Ayman Esseileh. An eyewitness said that he saw Jewish settlers dancing around her corpse before Israeli forces pushed them away.
Later in the evening, Israeli soldiers critically wounded Tareq Ziad Natsheh, 16, at a checkpoint in Shuhada Street in Hebron’s H2 area, after he allegedly attacked them. Israeli media reported that he died of his wounds in a Jerusalem hospital. DCIP is still confirming the details.
Hebron’s city center, including the historic Old City, the old market and the Ibrahimi Mosque, lies within the H2 area, which falls under full Israeli military and civil control as part of a 1997 agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
In East Jerusalem, Israeli paramilitary border police shot dead Muataz Ahmad Oweisat, 16, near the East Talpiot settlement, also known as Armon HaNetziv, on Saturday, after he allegedly attempted to stab one of the officers. The teenager was from the bordering Arab neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber.
Muataz is the second child from Jabel Mukaber killed by Israeli forces this month. On October 12, Israeli police gunned down Mustafa Adel al-Khatib, 17, near the Old City in Jerusalem, in disputed circumstances. Israeli police alleged he attempted to stab one of their officers. Palestinian sources, including an eyewitness who spoke with DCIP, said the teenager was unarmed. DCIP is still investigating the circumstances.
On Sunday, Israeli police erected a barrier separating Jabel Mukaber from Jerusalem. The move comes as Israeli authorities recently began to implement closure policies in Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, including the use of checkpoints and concrete roadblocks.
Tensions over access to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City escalated into lethal attacks across East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank. The mosque lies in a compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount. Both faiths consider the site sacred.
DCIP has confirmed 10 child fatalities so far this month, six of them while carrying out alleged knife attacks. At least 106 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.
Israeli authorities have not handed over the bodies of the children killed while carrying out alleged knife attacks to their families. Beyond the punitive nature of the action, it has made verifying the details and circumstances of the incidents more difficult.
The Israeli Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan, issued a statement last week, declaring that Israel’s security cabinet had accepted his proposal to no longer return bodies of individuals killed while carrying out alleged attacks and to allow remains to be buried in distant cemeteries.
An Israeli Embassy spokesperson in the United Kingdom told The Independent that the proposal, while apparently approved, had not become “official Israeli policy.”
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.
In recent weeks, Israeli officials amended open-fire rules to allow Israeli forces to fire live ammunition during protests in Jerusalem when there is a “threat to life.” Previously, the regulations permitted live ammunition only when there is a direct, mortal threat to the life of a police officer or soldier.
The move comes as Israeli ministers approved harsher sentencing guidelines and fines for stone-throwers.