In a bloody incident earlier this month, the Israeli army killed two Palestinian children and injured two others, according to children’s rights NGO Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP).
On 17 February, Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition and artillery shells at a group of four Palestinian children as they approached the perimeter fence of the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.
According to DCIP, Abdullah Ermilat, 14, and Salem Sabah, 16, were both killed, while Ahmad H., 15, and Salim S., 17, were injured by artillery shell shrapnel.
“We did not have anything with us,” Salim told DCIP.
They could have come over the fence to arrest us but they shot at us with bullets and shells without mercy. They wanted to kill us
Salim told DCIP that the four children intended to cross from the Gaza Strip in search of work in of Israel and came under fire about 30-50 metres from the fence.
DCIP notes how human rights group Al-Mezan reported that “no medical teams were permitted by the Israeli authorities to retrieve the bodies until the morning of the next day”.
Earlier that same day, four Israeli soldiers were injured when an explosive device detonated alongside the Gaza perimeter fence.
While this incident generated headlines around the world, the killing of Abdullah and Salem received minimal coverage, and in particular the fact that these were unarmed children looking for work.
According to DCIP, “since the start of the year, Israeli forces have killed six Palestinian children, including Abdullah and Salem”.
“DCIP has also documented a total of 12 cases of Palestinian children injured by live ammunition or crowd control weapons at the hands of Israeli forces along the Gaza Strip border with Israel between January 1 and February 17.”
“In most cases, children reported that Israeli forces opened fire from behind a barrier or fence, or from inside of a watchtower, according to DCIP documentation.”