In one hour, on Thursday afternoon, 11 January 2018, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and wounded 3 other civilians, including 2 children, in the Gaza Strip. Two of the wounded sustain serious wounds. These two new crimes come in light of the Israeli government’s escalation following the U.S. Decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. These crimes and recent killings committed by the Israeli forces further prove that the latter deliberately claim as many victims as possible among the Palestinian protestors. The follow-up by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR’s) staff show that the Israeli forces intensified the use of live ammunition to confront the unarmed civilians deliberately and by directly sniping civilians in peaceful demonstrations, noting that the protestors did not pose any threat or danger to the life of Israeli soldiers.
According to PCHR’s investigations into the first crime, at approximately 15:30 on Thursday, 11 January 2018, around 20 Palestinian children and young men gathered in the area of Um Hasaniyeh Hill near the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij in the central Gaza Strip. The children and young men threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers along the border fence in protest against the U.S. President’s Declaration to recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. At approximately 16:30, a number of them approached 50 to 70 meters to the fence, and immediately the soldiers opened fired at them. As a result, four of them, including 3 children, were hit with live bullets and then taken by an ambulance of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah to receive medical treatment. Doctors at the hospital declared the death of one of the children identified as Amir ‘Abdel Hamid Mosa’ed Abu Mosa’ed (15) from al-Musader village after being shot with a bullet to the chest. The 3 other civilians who are all from al-Bureij were a 16-year-old child wounded to the abdomen with a bullet and a 20-year-old young man wounded with a bullet to the abdomen as well. The doctors described their wounds as serious while a 17-year-old child was moderately wounded with a bullet to the left thigh.
According to PCHR’s investigations into the second crime, at approximately 16:40 on the same day, two military jeeps carrying more than 10 soldiers were stationed in al-Fawar area between ‘Iraq Burin village and Tal Wahi village in New Nablus, south of Nablus. The two jeeps were stationed near cement cubes established by the Israeli forces since the morning on the main street in the area to close it. A number of children gathered on al-Fawar Hill around 150 meters away from the southwestern side of the cubes and threw stones at the two jeeps. The Israeli soldiers fortified in the jeeps immediately and in response opened fire at the children, who fled to the ‘Iraq Burin village. They then noticed that their friend; ‘Ali ‘Omer Nemer Qadous (17), was missed and returned to the area to search for him. They then saw him lying on the ground covered in blood and breathing his last. The children screamed, and then Jihad Yousif ‘Ali ‘Eid (28), who was driving his car out of their village to Nablus, heard them and headed to them. The children carried the killed child and put him on the back car seat to take him to Nablus Specialist Hospital in the city. After checking him, doctors in the hospital declared that Qadous was hit with a bullet that entered his head and left from the left side, causing him skull fracture and brain herniation.
PCHR follows up with deep concern the deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and is concerned over the use of lethal force against unarmed civilians participating in peaceful protests. PCHR hereby condemns the Israeli forces’ use of excessive, disproportionate and lethal force against the protestors and believes that this is due to the green light given by the Israeli government to the soldiers following the American Decision to declare Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. Therefore, this constitutes a direct complicity in a crime of offensive and indirectly threatens the international peace and security.
PCHR calls upon the international community and UN bodies to stop the Israeli escalating crimes and violations and work on providing international protection for Palestinians in the oPt. PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the oPt.