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NGO: Israel soldiers ‘wantonly’ shot at Palestinian children, injuring two

December 18, 2019 at 1:02 pm

Palestinian children play outside their home in Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza Strip, 9 November 2013 [Eyad Al Baba/Apaimages]

Israeli forces “wantonly” shot at Palestinian children in Al-Jalazun refugee camp, injuring two, according to an investigation by human rights group B’Tselem.

The incident occurred on the afternoon of 17 November, when Israeli occupation forces entered Al-Jalazun to chase Palestinian children who had been throwing stones at them at the camp entrance.

After reinforcements arrived in an Israeli military jeep, uniformed soldiers and “at least one armed person in civilian clothing” began “firing live rounds toward the fleeing children and teens”, as well as rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters.

Thirteen-year-old Rami Abu Nasrah and 11-year-old Amir Zbeideh were both hit with live ammunition; Rami suffered “an open fracture in the arm and underwent surgery to stabilize the bone”, while Amir “had surgery to reattach his right index finger and remove shrapnel from his chest”.

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As B’Tselem noted, at the time, the Israeli military spokesperson claimed that soldiers had “used crowd-dispersal methods including the firing of rubber bullets and shooting into the air.”

The spokesperson added that in a report received by army officials, “it was claimed that two youths were wounded by rubber bullets”.

Despite officials’ denial that live fire was used, “once again”, B’Tselem stated, the findings of their investigation “contradict these claims”.

“Using live fire in such circumstances – against young children who clearly posed no threat to the lives or bodily integrity of the soldiers, from a distance – is illegal and immoral,” the NGO added.

“It is yet another example of the military’s trigger-happy policy, backed and bolstered by the military law enforcement system, which is making sure, again, that no one gets prosecuted for the illegal act.”