Israeli forces are “killing Palestinian children” in the West Bank, where “at least 34” minors have already been killed by army or border police fire in 2023, which is “on track to equal or exceed 2022.” The deadliest year for Palestinian children in the West Bank in 15 years,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized on Monday.
“Israeli forces are increasingly shooting Palestinian children living under occupation,” the NGO said in a statement, according to the EFE agency.
In addition, he highlighted Israel’s “increased use of lethal force” with “systematic impunity” and “almost no accountability” as part of an escalation that has already taken place this year. 186 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank.
In its investigation, HRW documented four incidents in which children were killed by Israeli fire between November 2022 and March 2023, including 17-year-old Mahmoud al-Saadi, who was shot near the Jenin refugee camp, one of the hotbeds of the violence. on the west coast.
According to the non-governmental organization, the minor was killed in November 2022 while arriving at the secondary school and was stopped after hearing gunshots. Images and testimony analyzed by HRW show he was not carrying a weapon and was more than 300 meters away from where the firefight was taking place between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants. The Israeli army has not investigated the death of the minor, insisting that its soldiers were carrying out raids on the Jenin camp, where fire had been exchanged with Palestinian militants.
In the case of Mahmoud al-Saadi and three other minors who died, HRW claims that “Israeli forces opened fire on the upper body, according to witnesses, without warning or using forceful and less lethal measures such as tear gas, stun grenades or rubber-coated bullets.”
In addition, they shot minors so that they did not pose a direct threat to the lives of soldiers, according to the investigation. For example, young Mohamed Al Salem, also 17, was “shot in the back while running away from Israeli soldiers after a group of friends threw stones and possibly Molotov cocktails at them” in the West Bank town of Azun.
Another similar case was that of 15-year-old Adam Ayad, who was shot in the back when stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli forces in a refugee camp in the city of Bethlehem.
HRW emphasized that these types of incidents typically do not lead to legal proceedings against the forces involved, and that between 2017 and 2021 there were “less than 1%” of complaints that led to charges, even though during that period Israeli forces ” At least 614 Palestinians, considered civilians, were killed.
For this reason, the NGO asks “Israel’s allies, especially the US”, to put pressure on the country, because if not, “more children will die”.
It also calls on the UN Secretary-General to “include the Israeli armed forces in its annual report on grave violations of children in armed conflict by 2023”, suggesting they were “responsible for killing and maiming children”. “.
For its part, the non-governmental organization Amnesty International (AI) condemned the Israeli Supreme Court’s approval of the “punitive demolition” of the family home of a 13-year-old Palestinian who is being held in preventive detention “due to unjustified charges”. Regarding the death of an Israeli border police agent.
A minor, Mohammed Zalabani, stabbed a police officer on a bus in East Jerusalem (part of Israel-occupied Palestine), but an autopsy determined the man’s death was a shot by a bodyguard. A 13-year-old boy has been charged with her murder and is in custody awaiting trial.
After the incident, the Israeli army ordered the demolition of Zalabani’s family apartment, where his three brothers, one of whom is a child, live, according to AI’s statement. An Israeli NGO filed an appeal against the military order, but the country’s Supreme Court rejected it.
“Israel’s punitive destruction is an illegal form of collective punishment that constitutes a war crime,” AI said in a statement, recalling “the Supreme Court’s role in the use of apartheid against the Palestinians.”
“Mohammed Zalabani’s parents and siblings were not involved in the attack, but now face the loss of their home and displacement because of this act of revenge that is completely divorced from justice and the rule of law,” he said. Added AI.
Similarly, the NGO worries that punitive demolitions are often accompanied by violent incursions by Israeli forces, which “can cause serious damage to neighbors’ homes” and “sow terror among Palestinian communities.”
Israeli authorities often use this “collective punishment” against suspected Palestinian attackers, and the Supreme Court has upheld the demolition orders because it believes they deter other attackers, even though Israel’s military committee said in 2005 that they do not deter attackers. The suspension of this event for almost ten years, until 2014.
Source: El Diario