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Ten funerals in ten days: Rising death toll in West Bank includes 14-year-old boy

Jerusalem24 – A total of ten Palestinians including a child have been shot and killed by the Israeli military in the West Bank including occupied East Jerusalem in ten days.

In the early hours of Friday 28 October, 47-year-old Imad Abu Rasheed and 35-year-old Ramzi Sami Zabara (both first responders with the Palestinian Civil Defense) were shot and killed by the Israeli military in unclear circumstances at the Huwara military checkpoint south of Nablus. Jerusalem24 is still working to determine the exact circumstances surrounding their death.

On Saturday 29 October, 34-year-old Mohammad Al-Jabari was run over, shot, and killed by Israeli guards at the site of a shooting attack he carried out which killed one Israeli settler and injured another four, including a Palestinian paramedic.

On Sunday 30 October, 49-year-old Barakat Musa Odeh was shot and killed by Israeli soldier and an armed settler at the Almog Junction in the occupied West Bank after carrying out a car-ramming attack which left five Israeli soldiers with light to moderate injuries. In a similar car-ramming incident, 54-year-old Habbas Abdel Hafeez Rayan was shot dead by Israeli forces on Wednesday 2 November morning after allegedly trying to run over a soldier at the Beit Our checkpoint west of Ramallah.

On Thursday 3 November, 42-year-old Daoud Rayan was shot and killed with live ammunition during confrontations that erupted between the Israeli military and local youth in Beit Duqqo in occupied East Jerusalem shortly before dawn. Later that morning, 20-year-old Amer Al-Halabiya from Beit Hanina, a second-year student at Birzeit University, was shot and killed during an alleged stabbing attack in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem which injured one Israeli soldier.

Daytime military raid in Jenin

Later on Thursday, in the early afternoon, the Israeli military and a contingent of Israeli special forces launched a wide-scale invasion of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank. Sirens could be heard ringing throughout the city, and eyewitnesses reported smoke and heavy gunfire rising from the city.

28-year-old Farouk Jameel Salameh, a Palestinian fighter from the Jenin Battalion armed group whom Israeli accuse of being involved in the killing of an Israeli special forces officer during another large-scale daytime invasion of Jenin in May, was shot and killed during the raid. He was due to be married two days later on Saturday.

14-year-old Mohammad Samer Mohammad Khalouf was shot and killed by the Israeli military near the entrance to Jenin refugee camp around 2 PM on Thursday, at the beginning of the raid. According to Defense for Children International–Palestine, Mohammad allegedly fired a homemade gun at Israeli military vehicles near the camp entrance and Israeli forces shot him in the chest.

The Ministry of Health confirmed his death and another at 2:32 PM, although there was initial confusion over the identity of the child.

The Israeli military and settlers have now shot and killed a total of 31 Palestinian children in the West Bank in 2022, the highest number since 2016.

14-year-old Mohammad Samer Mohammad Khalouf (R) and 28-year-old Farouk Jameel Salameh (L).

Shot multiple times

On Saturday 5 November, 18-year-old Musaab Nafal was shot and killed by the Israeli military in Wadi Al-Haramiyeh north of Ramallah. His cousin, 18-year-old Nishan Nafal, was also shot and injured.

It is presumed both teenagers went out to throw stones at passing cars.

Musaab was shot with a total of six bullets (three in the chest, one in the abdomen, one in the hand and one in the thigh) and died at the scene. Nishan was shot with four bullets (two in the chest and two in the legs), severely injured, and taken into Israeli custody.

Rules of engagement

A total of 129 Palestinians, including 31 children, have been shot and killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem so far in 2022.

According to documentation collected by Jerusalem24, the overwhelming majority of these (at least 75) were not involved in direct, armed confrontations with the Israeli military or in attacks against the army or civilians at the time of their death.

International law (and Israeli law, with exceptions made for so-called “targeted assassinations”) also prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of life which includes extrajudicial killings. In the context of an armed conflict and under certain circumstances, extrajudicial executions can even be considered a war crime.

In December 2021, the Israeli military officially changed its rules of engagement in the occupied West Bank to allow soldiers to shoot-to-kill Palestinians for stone-throwing, even if they are fleeing and presenting no danger.

Alex Kane wrote in Jewish Currents in September that the “new, looser rules of engagement seemed to move closer to soldiers’ conduct in practice” as documented by Palestinians and NGOs over the past several years.

Kane notes that despite the existence of open-fire protocols prohibiting the shooting of children and women, Israeli commanders will sometimes tell their soldiers, “You can fire on children if they’re over 14”, as recounted by Ron Zaidel, chief research officer for Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO which records the testimonies of former Israeli soldiers.

As revealed in 2016 in response to a court petition filed by civil rights group Adalah, Israeli police officers operating within Israel’s borders and in occupied East Jerusalem have also been authorized for years to use live fire against stone throwers and those directing fire-crackers toward officers.

According to current procedures, any Israeli police officer may respond by shooting to kill when they feel they are in a life-threatening situation. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Minister of Public Security Omar Bar-Lev reaffirmed state support of the shoot-to-kill policy.

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