Some 39 Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2018 to date, according to a new statement by NGO Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP).
The death toll rose this past week, after Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinian boys, aged 16 and 17, during protests near the Gaza perimeter fence.
According to DCIP, Israeli forces have killed 38 children, while one child was killed by Israeli settlers.
“The parents of one further child who was shot by Israeli forces on April 29, Yousef Abu Jazar, are still waiting for official confirmation of their child’s death,” the statement noted.
Of the 39 child fatalities, said DCIP, 27 children were killed in the context of “Great March of Return” protests near the Gaza Strip perimeter fence that have taken place since 30 March.
Last Friday, Israeli forces killed 16-year-old Ahmad Misbah Abu Tyour and 17-year-old Bilal Mustafa Mohammad Khafajeh, both shot with live ammunition.
Ahmad was shot in the foot, “causing serious damage”. At the hospital “ruled that the injury was so severe, it would require amputation”, but “at approximately 8:00 a.m. the next morning, on September 8, Ahmad succumbed to his injury and was pronounced dead”.
Bilal was also shot on Friday evening, and hit with a live bullet to the chest. He was pronounced deal upon arrival at hospital.
“Palestinian children are being routinely shot and killed in the Gaza Strip with impunity including during circumstances that suggest unlawful and wilful killings,” said DCIP’s Ayed Abu Eqtaish.
“International bodies must take steps to end this and uphold protections for Palestinian children.”
Since 2014, DCIP has documented how “Israeli forces have increasingly targeted Palestinian children with intentional lethal force to quash protests”.
“Under international law, lethal force such as live ammunition, may only be used as a last resort and when a direct threat to life or of serious injury exists,” the NGO noted.