Ramallah, January 18, 2017—Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian teenager in clashes with stone-throwing youth in the occupied southern West Bank town of Tuqu, near Bethlehem, on Monday.
Qusai Hassan Mohammad al-Amour, 17, died of multiple gunshot wounds, including two bullets to his upper body, the Palestine Red Crescent Society reported. The clashes took place at the western entrance of the town around 3:30 p.m., witnesses said. Israeli forces used Ruger rifles, which fire 0.22 caliber bullets, to disperse stone throwers.
“Hundreds of rioters hurled rocks at the security forces in the area,” an Israeli military spokesperson told Reuters. “Due to the extent of the violence, border police fired 0.22 caliber rounds towards a main violent instigator, resulting in his death.”
A video, captured by a Palestinian journalist, showed the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Several paramilitary border police officers rushed toward the teenager, who lay motionless in an olive grove, and dragged him to the military jeeps some distance away.
A Palestinian journalist, identified by Maan News Agency as Hisham Abu Shaqra, filmed the immediate aftermath following the shooting of 17-year-old Qusai al-Amour.
The Palestinian journalist told the Israeli daily Haaretz that the teenager was “a few dozen meters away” from Israeli forces. Eyewitnesses who spoke with Defense for Children International – Palestine also reported that Qusai was approximately 80 meters from Israeli forces and did not pose an immediate danger to their lives.
International law permits the use of lethal force only when an imminent deadly threat exists.
“The failure of Israeli authorities to hold perpetrators accountable for the unjustified use of intentional lethal force provides tacit approval for the routine targeting of Palestinian children,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP. “In short, systemic impunity means Israeli forces are free to carry out grave violations with confidence they will never be held culpable.”
According to an Israeli military statement, reported by Haaretz, Palestinian protesters had thrown firebombs at Israeli forces. However, the video showed no evidence of firebombs in the immediate area where the teenager was killed.
Israeli forces declared the 17-year-old dead after administering medical treatment, the Israeli military said. “The incident will be investigated,” according to the statement.
At least four other Palestinians sustained injuries during the clashes, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said.
Qusai al-Amour is the first Palestinian child killed this year. According to DCIP research, 2016 was the deadliest year for children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with 32 fatalities at the hands of Israeli forces and security guards recorded.
A further 103 Palestinian children sustained live ammunition injuries last year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
DCIP considers all persons below the age of 18 to be children in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.