Israel kills children in West Bank while eyes on Gaza

Sixteen boys have been killed in the occupied West Bank since 7 October.

Defense for Children International-Palestine

Sixteen Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied West Bank since Israel’s genocidal campaign in the Gaza Strip started on 7 October.

Defense for Children International - Palestine has been conducting field investigations of each case.

Palestinians in the West Bank have been holding demonstrations all week to protest Israel’s war against Gaza and show solidarity with the population of 2.3 million there.

Israeli fire killed more than 50 Palestinians there during the same period, according to the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry.

It is within the context of these demonstrations that Israel is targeting Palestinians.

Israeli occupation soldiers shot and killed Karam Ayman Dweikat, a 17-year-old boy in Beita village, south of Nablus city, on Sunday.

An Israeli soldier shot Karam from a distance of 30 to 50 meters as Israeli forces protected and accompanied settlers invading the Jabal al-Arma area, where settlers have also repeatedly attempted to establish an outpost.

Karam was with other Palestinian youth who arrived to confront settlers and soldiers invading their land and attempting to intimidate Palestinians there.

Footage depicting the moment Israeli forces shot Karam suggests that he “did not present any threat to life or serious injury when he was targeted by Israeli forces,” DCIP said.

Israeli forces fired “intensively and indiscriminately” at Palestinians demonstrating in solidarity with Gaza in Beit Furik, east of Nablus, on 13 October.

An Israeli bullet struck 13-year-old Amir Rafat Mlaitat in the head, killing him. He was 150 meters away.

Israeli forces shot a 17-year-old boy in the head and chest in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya on 13 October, killing him, DCIP reported.

Muhammad Taher Ali Mustafa was standing less than 100 meters from members of the Israeli Border Police – a paramilitary force – during confrontations when they shot him.

In the same neighborhood, another 17-year-old boy was found with a gunshot wound in his chest.

Laith Osama Abu Mara had spoken to his father on the phone and indicated he was with friends near the entrance of Issawiya. The boy was found wounded half an hour later and transferred to hospital.

An Israeli sniper likely shot Laith from a distance of 50 to 100 meters, doctors told DCIP.

“Muhammad Taher Ali Mustafa’s funeral had just finished when Laith’s death was announced,” DCIP said.

Another boy was found dead in the same evening with a gunshot wound to the back of his head in Beit Liqya village near Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Hussein Mutaz Mousa, 16, participated in a march protesting Israel’s war on Gaza with youth in the village following Friday prayers.

Palestinian youth “allegedly threw stones toward the soldiers,” DCIP said. Hussein did not come home after the demonstration and his family was told that he had left alone.

His parents discovered his body after hours of searching.

“War crimes on a whim”

Israeli occupation forces shot a 17-year-old boy in the head in al-Ram, a town just east of Jerusalem, on the same evening. Ayham Iyad Jabarin was 150 meters away from Israeli forces when they shot him.

There had been a demonstration at al-Ram, where Palestinian residents set fires near the entrance of the town in a confrontation with Israeli occupation forces.

The next day, Israeli forces fired live ammunition throughout the afternoon and evening at Palestinians in the city of Tulkarm demonstrating in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. Palestinians were confronting Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near Israel’s apartheid wall in the West Bank.

Rafat Thaer Abu Mhana was sitting in the passenger seat in a car near the checkpoint, when Israeli forces opened fire at the car from 150 meters away.

According to DCIP, an Israeli bullet struck the 17-year-old boy in the head, “expelling brain matter.” Israeli soldiers shot him in the back as well.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in the city. Three others in the car were injured and transferred to hospital as well.

On the afternoon of 13 October, Israeli forces shot 14-year-old Omar Ahmad Asmar in Zeita near Tulkarm in the northern West Bank.

Omar was participating in a march heading towards the Israeli apartheid wall. Israeli forces opened fire from a distance of 100 meters, striking him in the thigh.

He was hospitalized and pronounced dead the next day.

A 16-year-old boy that Israeli occupation forces shot on 10 October succumbed to his wounds on 14 October.

Muhammad Rafat Edwan had been at a demonstration in Faroun, near Tulkarem in the northern West Bank, where youth were approaching Israel’s apartheid wall and throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers there.

Israeli forces opened fire at Muhammad from a distance of 150-200 meters, shooting him in the right shoulder. The bullet had caused severe bleeding in his lung, where it settled, and “bullet fragments had penetrated his spinal cord in his neck, causing him to become paralyzed from the neck down.”

Doctors were unable to stop the bleeding and he was pronounced dead on 14 October.

“Israeli forces know no bounds and are empowered to shoot to kill Palestinians, including children, and now, as a matter of routine, unlawfully shoot and kill Palestinian children,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, DCIP’s accountability program director.

“Israeli forces and settlers are emboldened by systemic impunity and international support to commit war crimes on a whim.”

In the Gaza Strip, more than 700 Palestinian children have been killed in Israeli strikes since 7 October.

That is an average of 100 Palestinian children per day.


Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.