The Defense for Children International (DCI) – Palestine Branch said that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) killed 35 Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem in 2016.
Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program Director at the Palestine section of the DCI, told the Quds Press news agency that 2016 recorded the highest number of murders committed by the IOF against Palestinian children in the West Bank and Jerusalem in 12 years, pointing out that the number of children killed in 2015 in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem had reached 26.
Abu Eqtaish said that 2016 witnessed continuous Israeli violations of the Palestinian children’s rights, especially their right to live, which caused the murder of 35 children, 32 of whom are from the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, and 3 from the Gaza Strip. He added that Israel grants immunity to the soldiers who commit these crimes in absolute disregard for the basic rights of children.
He affirmed that the Israeli judiciary system is also involved in this by announcing the acquittal of the Israeli police officers and soldiers who commit such crimes although there is evidence that the children were directly killed without posing any kind of danger to the Israeli soldiers. More crimes are thus encouraged, he added.
Abu Eqtaish said that in some cases the soldiers are charged with “unintentional murder” or “failure to follow the required conditions” in an attempt to ease the gravity of the crimes. He pointed to the execution of the child Nadeem Nawwara whose killer was charged with an accidental murder despite the presence of evidence about the deliberate crime.
The DCI said in a statement that the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) are still holding the bodies of three children.
The last murder case reported in 2016 was against Ahmad al-Rimawi, 17, who was killed by the IOF with live bullets on 18th December during confrontations in Beit Rima village to the northwest of Ramallah province.
According to the international law, the lethal force can be used only when there is an imminent threat or a serious injury, or to prevent a crime that poses a great threat to many lives. This is only when the less violent means are inadequate to achieve these goals. Besides, the commentary on the Article III of the United Nations Code of Conduct stipulates that every possible effort must be made to avoid the use of firearms, especially against children.