Israeli forces violate international law by using ‘disproportionate violence’ against Palestinian children, according to rights groups. They have so far killed at least ten children just this month alone, during the violence that remains to continue in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Palestinian children have been subject to ‘’disproportionate violence’’, in an environment where violence is escalating and becoming increasingly militarised, Brad Parker, attorney and international advocacy officer at Defence for Children International (DCI)- Palestine, told Al Jazeera.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, at least 201 Palestinian children were wounded by Israeli soldiers or settlers in the West Bank and Gaza, between October 6 and 12.
Violence has been on the rise in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip due to protests that are held against Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestinian territories and frequent Israeli invasions of Al Aqsa Mosque compound last month.
Israeli soldiers have used tear gas, stun grenades, rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition against demonstrators, including children.
From the start of October, there have been at least 52 Palestinians who were killed by Israeli forces. Some of them had allegedly attacked Israelis, some were unarmed protesters and bystanders. There have also been eight Israeli deaths as a result of Palestinian attacks.
Critics have said that the children could have easily been taken control of without the need for firearms. Parker said that international law forbids "the use of firearms except when strictly unavoidable to protect life. We regularly find that children killed [by Israel] during demonstrations often pose no direct, mortal threat to the life of any police officer or soldier at the time they were killed".
"This raises concerns that Israeli forces have apparently adopted a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy, which in some incidents may amount to extrajudicial killings," Parker has said.
There have been many killings of Palestinian youngsters by Israeli forces in October alone. On October 5, 13-year-old Abdel Rahman Abdullah was shot dead by Israeli forces during a protest in Bethlehem. Afterwards, the Israeli military published a statement claiming that the killing was "unintentional" and that soldiers were in fact intending on shooting an adult in the area.
As recently as Tuesday night, a group of Israelis attacked and wounded Saqir Herzallah, 14, in Yabad, a village in the northern West Bank. According to local media, many Israelis from the nearby Mevo Dotan settlement attacked the boy as he was picking olives in his family’s orchard.
Since October 1, Al Haq, a Ramallah-based human rights organisation, has said there have been 48 cases of Israeli violence against Palestinians. These include many incidents in where children were attacked.