Jerusalem24 –Israeli forces and armed Israeli civilians have killed 78 Palestinian minors in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza, making 2021 the deadliest year on record for Palestinian children since 2014.
In Gaza, 61 Palestinian children were killed, while 15 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, were killed according to the figures released by Defense for Children International – Palestine.
Armed Israeli civilians also killed two Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank.
The documentation gathered by a local Palestinian child rights organization showed that Israeli forces shot and killed 17 Palestinian children with live ammunition, 15 of those in the occupied West Bank and two in Gaza.
At least nine Palestinian children were shot and killed in the context of demonstrations or confrontations with Israeli forces and did not present a direct threat to life or of serious injury when they were shot, it said.
“However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings,” the group said.
The investigation also showed that armed Israeli civilians killed two Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, including the occupied East Jerusalem.
Most recently, 15-year-old Mohammad Nidal Younis Mousa lost his life on December 6, hours after a private Israeli security guard shot him after he had allegedly committed a car-ramming attack at an Israeli military checkpoint near Tulkarem.
Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinian children during Israel’s military aggression on Gaza in May 2021, dubbed Operation Guardian of the Walls, the organization said.
An Israeli air strike killed six children on May 10, the first day of the assault, in Beit Hanoon in northern Gaza.
Those killed in the Israeli air strike included Rahaf Mohammad Attalla al Masri, 10, her cousin Yazan Sultan Mohammad al Masri, 2; brothers Marwan Yousef Attalla al Masri, 6, and Ibrahim Yousef Attalla al Masri, 11; as well as Hussein Muneer Hussein Hamad, 11, and 16-year-old Ibrahim Abdullah Mohammad Hassanain, the organisation said.
Another ten children were also injured in the same air strike.
One Palestinian child was killed by an unexploded ordnance, the origins of which could not be determined, according to the documentation.
International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. “Israel as the occupying force in Palestine is required to protect the Palestinian civilian population from violence,” the organisation said.
The rights group stated that 2,198 Palestinian children have been killed as a result of Israeli military and settler presence in the Palestinian territories since 2000.
However, almost no Israeli officer or civilian has been held accountable for the deaths of these Palestinian children in these two decades. The odds that a Palestinian would see his or her complaint lead to the prosecution of a soldier who harmed them is 0.7 percent, according to a report by Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization.
Instead of holding its forces accountable for the killing of Palestinian children, Israel designated several prominent Palestinian human rights groups that protect Palestinian children’s rights as outlawed “terrorist organizations,” including the Defense for Children International – Palestine, the organisation which conducted this investigation.
“The international community’s lack of political will to hold Israeli officials accountable guarantees that Israeli soldiers will continue to unlawfully kill Palestinian children with impunity,” Eqtaish added.