Israeli regime kills another Palestinian child

February 23, 2022 - 21:7

TEHRAN- Israeli regime troops have shot dead yet another Palestinian boy in the occupied territories. The victim has been identified as Mohammed Shehade, 14 years old.

A statement by the Palestinian Health Ministry said, “Shehade, 14, was killed by Israeli forces' gunfire in the [occupied town of] al-Khader near the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The Israeli regime confirmed its forces had killed a Palestinian.

Local eyewitnesses told Palestinian media the boy was shot when Israeli troops attacked Palestinian protesters after the regime raided the occupied Palestinian town of al-Khader.

Reports suggest Shehade was dragged a few hundred meters by his friends as Israeli troops chased them until they left his body.

Ahmad Salah, an activist, says that Israeli regime forces opened live fire at the Palestinians, leaving Shehade in a critical condition, and the troops prevented Palestinian ambulances from reaching him.

The latest killing has sparked reactions from Palestinian resistance groups. 

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement has stressed that it “strongly condemns the heinous crime committed by the Zionist enemy forces against the 14-year-old son of Mohammad Razzaq Shehade in the town of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, and his cold-blooded execution. This crime is a clear embodiment of terrorism and aggression against our defenseless people”.

In a statement, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas said, “the cold-blooded murder of Mohammad Shehade by a war bullet and the obstruction of an ambulance from reaching him and then his abduction, once again confirms the brutality and terrorist acts of the Zionist regime against the children and defenseless and innocent people of our nation.”

The statement added, “the blood of the martyr will remain the curse pursued by the occupying regime and its criminal leaders, and it is a flame that will be kindled in the form of revolution and uprising against the enemy.” 

Rights groups have regularly condemned the Israeli regime forces for showing "appalling disregard for human life" by using "reckless and unlawful lethal force" against Palestinian protesters.

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged an end to the "worrying rise in unlawful killings by Israeli forces, fostered by a culture of impunity."

The latest murder comes one week after Israeli snipers killed another Palestinian teenager in the occupied Palestinian territories. Residents in the community of Nabi Saleh, northwest of occupied Ramallah, identified the victim as Nehad Bargouthi. 

The latest killings come as an NGO sheds more light on the Israeli regime’s practice of withholding the bodies of Palestinian children it kills.

According to Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCIP), "Withholding bodies is a violation of both international law and human rights laws, which includes an absolute prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and stipulates that parties to armed conflict must bury the dead in an honorable manner.”

DCIP has documented the cases of at least nine Palestinian children where the occupying regime has held on to children's bodies instead of handing them over to their parents for burial. 

The group highlights the emotional harm this policy inflicts on the families of the children noting, "It falls under the policy of collective punishment practised by the [Israeli] occupation against the Palestinian people, and the harm caused to the families of the martyrs as a result amounts to collective punishment that violates international humanitarian law.” 

In December, DCIP said that 2021 was the deadliest year for Palestinian children since 2014, as Israeli regime forces killed 76 Palestinians under 18, 15 of them in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem (al-Quds) and 61 in the besieged Gaza Strip.

According to Addameer (an NGO that advocates for Palestinian detainees) 
in Israeli jails, there are currently 180 Palestinian children imprisoned.

Rights groups say the only place in the world where children are automatically prosecuted in military courts that lack fundamental fair rights and guarantees is by the Israeli regime in the occupied Palestinian Territories. 

Over the years, the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children have been widely documented; with Amnesty International finding that Israeli forces had “tortured and otherwise ill-treated Palestinian detainees, including children, particularly during arrest and interrogation”, with methods including “beating with batons, slapping, throttling, prolonged shackling, stress positions, sleep deprivation and threats.”

In another blatant violation of international law, the Israeli regime has renewed the administrative detention of a Palestinian teenager for an additional four-month period adding to more than 300 days of imprisonment without charge or trial. 

DCIP says an Israeli military court approved a four-month administrative detention order against Mohammad Mansour. This latest order is set to expire on June 6, 2022, and is the third consecutive administrative detention order issued by the regime against Mansour. 

He is currently detained in Israel’s Megiddo prison located in the northern occupied Palestinian Territories.

Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP says “Israeli authorities must file charges against Palestinian children or release them”

Abu Eqtaish noted that “administrative detention must never be used to detain children and amounts to a clear violation of fundamental due process rights. Israeli authorities must immediately end the arbitrary detention of Palestinian administrative detainees.”

Israeli forces detained Mansour, then 17, during a night raid on his home in Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank in April 2021. 

He was detained for 15 days at Israel’s Huwwara prison center in the northern occupied West Bank in conditions that Mansour and other children have described as inhumane, based on documentation collected by DCIP. 

Israel’s Ofer military court approved a six-month administrative detention order against Mansour in April 2021. A second administrative detention order was approved in October 2021, for an additional four-month period. That second order expired on February 7, 2022, according to DCIP. 

Administrative detention is a form of imprisonment without charge or trial regularly used by Israeli authorities to jail Palestinians, including children. 

The Palestinian children that are held under administrative detention orders are not presented with charges, and their detention is based on secret (alleged) evidence that is not disclosed to the children or their families. 

This prevents the children from any form of preparation of a legal challenge to their imprisonment and its alleged basis.

DCIP has also documented the cases of other Palestinian children the regime is currently holding pursuant to administrative detention orders, which amounts to arbitrary detention. 

At least one of the children under consecutive Israeli administrative detention orders, Amal Nakhleh, suffers from myasthenia gravis, a rare chronic autoimmune, neuromuscular disease.

On January 25, 2022, Nakhleh tested positive for COVID-19.

In November 2021, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said since the beginning of the year 2021, Israeli regime forces had detained some 1,150 Palestinian children. 

At least two-thirds of the arrested children have suffered from physical torture by Israeli forces, while all of the children have suffered from psychological torture during their time in Israeli detention.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Society, since 2000 the Israeli regime has arrested at least 19,000 Palestinian minors aged between 10 to 18 years old. 

The majority of these arrests occur when Israeli troops attack Palestinian protesters or during nighttime or early morning raids on family homes by heavily armed Israeli troops. 

Despite the statements of condemnation against Israeli crimes, the regime enjoys the support of the United States and Britain among others, in particular at the UN Security Council, which emboldens Israeli forces to increase their violations of Palestinian rights.