Israeli gunfire takes lives of two more Palestinian teens

Men carry the body of a boy wrapped in a flag on a stretcher
Palestinians carry the body of Muhammad Munir Tamimi during his funeral in Deir Nizam, west of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, on 24 July. Ibrahim Attaia APA images

Israeli occupation forces fatally shot a 17-year-old Palestinian boy in the back on Friday.

Israeli troops invaded the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh that afternoon and were confronted by Palestinians defending their land from Israeli colonization.

The Israeli army used tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition to attack Palestinian youths who were responding to the military invasion with stones, according to Defense for Children International Palestine.

Muhammad Munir Tamimi was standing a maximum of 10 feet away when an Israeli soldier sitting in a military vehicle shot the teenager in the back with live ammunition, leaving a large exit wound in his abdomen and exposing his intestines.

Israeli soldiers then watched and rendered no assistance as Tamimi attempted to move into a nearby house, but he collapsed on the stairs, according to DCIP.

Palestinians responding to the attack on the boy threw stones at the military vehicle until it left the area and they were able to reach Tamimi.

A military checkpoint blocked the way to Ramallah, so the injured youth had to be taken to a hospital in nearby Salfit by private vehicle.

Tamimi died from his wounds later that night.

Killing children with impunity

The Israeli army said “a Palestinian suspect threw stones in a manner that fatally threatened one of the soldiers,” according to The Times of Israel.

It’s not clear how a soldier would be “fatally threatened” by alleged stone-throwing while sitting in a military vehicle.

As Defense for Children International Palestine notes, “under international law, intentional lethal force is only justified in circumstances where a direct threat to life or of serious injury is present.”

Thus the Israeli army statement appears to be an attempt to retroactively justify the wanton killing of a child, likely posing no plausible threat to heavily armed soldiers, who typically wear helmets and body armor.

In an indirect admission that there was no threat from the boy, the Israeli army also claimed that “the soldier initiated an arrest procedure that included gunfire towards the suspect.”

If the soldier intended to arrest Tamimi, it is unclear how he could have simultaneously felt such imminent life-threatening danger as to need to shoot the teen.

Shooting an unarmed boy in the back with live ammunition at relatively close range is also not part of any remotely lawful or appropriate “arrest procedure.”

An army spokesperson quoted in The Times of Israel claimed that Israeli troops were using “Ruger bullets” against Palestinians.

Israel claims that 22-caliber rounds, fired from US-made Ruger rifles, are less lethal than other kinds of live ammunition.

That assertion is demonstrably false considering Israel has seriously injured and even killed Palestinians using the same kind of bullet, including children.

“Excessive use of force is the norm,” Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director with Defense for Children International Palestine, stated.

Under an occupation characterized by systemic impunity, Palestinian children “can be killed at any moment with no recourse or accountability.”

As of Friday, Tamimi was the 10th Palestinian child killed by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank this year.

Israel has killed more than 60 children in Gaza during the same period.

A village of resistance

For more than a decade, Palestinians in Nabi Saleh have held weekly protests against the Israeli occupation and settler-colonization of their land.

Muhammad Munir Tamimi is a member of the village’s extended Tamimi family, which has been subject to Israeli harassment, imprisonment, injuries and killings for years.

One of its members, Ahed Tamimi, became an iconic figure in 2018 when her arrest and eight-month detention made international headlines.

Then still a child, she was accused of shoving and slapping a heavily armed occupation soldier after Israeli forces had shot and severely injured her 15-year-old cousin Muhammad Fadel Tamimi.

Succumbed to wounds

Meanwhile, another Palestinian teen died on Monday from wounds he sustained on 14 May when he was shot by Israeli occupation forces in the village of Sinjil.

Yousef Nawaf Muhareb died at the Palestine Medical Complex in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

He was 17, according to The Associated Press.

On the same day Muhareb was wounded, occupation forces killed at least 11 Palestinians in the West Bank amid protests and uprisings across historic Palestine as Israel bombarded Gaza.

Muhareb was shot in the neck, damaging his spinal cord and leaving him in critical condition.

Ali Abunimah contributed reporting.


Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.