Four Palestinian children killed in five days

Israeli forces evacuate the body of a Palestinian slain near the Ibrahimi mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron on 19 September.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

Two more Palestinian teenagers have been shot following a five-day period in which Israeli forces killed four children.

Israeli soldiers shot and injured a teenage boy near a settlement in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Friday.

Usama Murad Jamil Marie Zeidat, whose age was given by the Palestinian Authority health ministry as 15, was shot after attempting to stab soldiers, a military spokesperson told media.

No Israelis were injured during the alleged attack attempt, the spokesperson said.

Video from the scene was circulated on social media:

Another child, Baraa Oweisi, was shot and injured by a soldier at Eliyahu checkpoint near the West Bank town of Qalqilya one day earlier after she reportedly continued walking when ordered to stop.

The girl, whose age has been reported by media as 12 or 13, was released from detention on Friday after a military court determined she had not attempted any attack when she was shot and had no knife in her possession.

Aunt killed at same checkpoint

The Israeli government claimed that Oweisi told investigators that “I came here to die,” but she told a television reporter that she did not understand the orders given to her in Hebrew.

The girl told Israel’s Channel 2 that she was at the checkpoint because she wanted to see where her aunt, 24-year-old Rasha Muhammad Oweisi, was killed months earlier.

Oweisi was shot dead at the same checkpoint in November after allegedly drawing a knife on Israeli soldiers. No Israelis were injured during that incident.

Prior to Thursday and Friday’s shootings, four Palestinian children were killed in the span of five days, all in the Hebron area.

On Tuesday, Issam Salem Mahmoud Tarayra, 15, was slain by soldiers who claimed that the boy was carrying a knife and intended to stab them at a checkpoint near the town of Bani Naim.

Bani Naim was on lockdown earlier this summer after a teenager from the village stabbed and killed an Israeli girl in a nearby settlement.

On Monday, Amir Jamal al-Rajabi, 16, was killed near the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, the site of several deadly incidents over the past year.

Two more boys were killed on 16 September. Faris Muhammad Khadour, 17, was fatally wounded near the Kiryat Arba settlement; Israel claimed that he had attempted an attack with his car. Two hours later, Muhammad al-Rajabi, 15, was slain after allegedly stabbing a soldier at the Gilbert checkpoint in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron’s Old City.

Three adults, including a Jordanian national, were also killed since 15 September.

Bloody year

More than 50 Palestinian children have been killed since October 2015, when a new phase of deadly confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli occupation forces began, according to Defense for Children International - Palestine. The vast majority of children slain were accused by Israel of attempting an attack.

In several cases, according to the group, “children did not pose a direct, mortal threat at the time they were killed, suggesting that Israeli forces are implementing a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy.”

“Israel routinely defends or denies using lethal force against children and accountability is extremely rare,” Defense for Children said.

The Palestinian rights group Al-Haq stated that more than 250 Palestinians have been killed in the last year, many of them during attacks and alleged attacks which have killed more than 30 Israelis.

Al-Haq noted that “Since 1987, no Israeli soldier or commander has been convicted of willfully causing the death of a Palestinian in the [occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip].”


Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.