In new crime of excessive use of lethal forces, on Tuesday, 39 January 2018, Israeli forces killed a 17-year-old Palestinian child when they moved into al-Mughayer village, northeast of Ramallah. Thus, the number of those civilians killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the U.S. President’s declaration on 06 December 2017 to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the Embassy to it amounted to 17, including 4 children. Ten civilians, including a child, were killed in the Gaza Strip while the other 7, including 3 children, were killed in the West Bank.
The latest measures taken by the Israeli soldiers to target the Palestinian protestors reflect a systematic policy approved by the Israeli military and political leaders to claim as many victims as possible among the protestors. The follow-up by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR’s) staffs shows that the Israeli forces have intensified the use of live ammunition to confront the unarmed civilians in dozens of incidents 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 and eyewitnesses’ accounts on the last crime, at approximately 16:30 on the above-mentioned day, Israeli forces backed by 3 military vehicles moved into al-Mughayer village, northeast of Ramallah, and stationed in the center of the village. A number of Palestinian children and youngsters gathered to throw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli vehicles. A soldier from one of the vehicles immediately fired one bullet that hit Laith Haitham Fathi Abu Na’im (17), entering his right eye and exiting his head. Around five minutes later, the Israeli forces withdrew from the village. The wounded child was taken by an ambulance to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive medical treatment and admitted to the Emergency Department; however, he drew his last breath only minutes after. Eyewitnesses said that the bullet was shot at Abu Na’im at very close range, and he did not pose any threat to the life of the Israeli soldiers. It should be mentioned that Abu Na’im is a student at al-Mughayer High School for Boys.
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, violating the intenrtional humanitarian law standards. 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.