Over the fall of 2012, Israeli security forces committed acts of violence against a number of Palestinian children in the West Bank. This post reviews some of the best-documented of these incidents.
On 12 December 2012, a 19 year-old Israeli border policewoman shot dead a 17 year old Palestinian boy named Muhammad during an altercation at a checkpoint in Hebron. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, the shooter claimed that Muhammad had threateningly held a fake gun to the head of a second policeman. She had shot the boy, she continued, because “they [apparently military educators] taught us… to fire at the terrorist in order to neutralize them, fake gun or not.” The shooter’s testimony was undermined by Israeli security forces’ surveillance video of the incident, which did not show Muhammad threatening a policeman with a weapon. Excellent analyses of the shooter’s statements and the surveillance video, in English, are available here, here, and here.
On 15 January 2013, Israeli soldiers shot dead a 16 or 17 year-old Palestinian boy named Samir outside of the village of Budrus. The shooting was widely reported including in the Guardian and in the New York Times. According to eyewitnesses, Samir was shot in the back while fleeing a confrontation with Israeli soldiers around the fence that separates much of the West Bank from Israeli territory and settlements. A detailed account of the incident, co-written by Haaretz reporter Gideon Levy, is available here.
During September and October 2012, the Palestine Section of Defense for Children International documented five new cases of solitary confinement of Palestinian children in Israeli military custody. Five boys aged 16 or 17, all from in or around Nablus, report being held in solitary confinement at Al-Jamale prison for between 4 and 29 days.
The East Jerusalem YMCA’s Psychosocial Emergency Teams, which provide on-site counseling to survivors and witnesses of violence in the West Bank, documented 65 potentially traumatizing incidents across the territory in September and October. The incidents include arrests, home demolitions, army incursions of homes and schools, and deaths. Altogether, the incidents affected 460 Palestinian children.
Finally, January 2013 marks six years since Israeli soldiers shot dead a ten year-old Palestinian girl named Abir outside of her elementary school near Jerusalem. To date, no individual has been convicted for the shooting. A summary of the incident and a moving letter from Abir’s father is available here.