Investigations conducted by B’Tselem ‒ The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories ‒ have found that, in the month of January, six Palestinians were shot in the upper body during clashes and demonstrations that involved stone throwing, even though they were not endangering the lives of Israeli soldiers or anyone else. According to the Israeli military’s open-fire regulations, shooting to kill is permitted only when the lives of security forces or other persons are in danger. Even then, it is permitted only when there are no other means of averting danger. The investigations by B’Tselem revealed that none of the six incidents met this key criterion for the use of lethal force.
These incidents of blatantly unrestrained and illegal conduct make a mockery of the Israeli military’s own open-fire regulations, which are intended to limit the use of lethal firepower, and render such restrictions void of meaning in addition to sending a clear message about Israel’s profound disregard for the lives of Palestinians. As a rule, Israel’s defense apparatus, including its military law-enforcement system, invariably chooses either to support the actions of the shooters involved or attempts to cover up such incidents. The fact that the enforcement agencies effectively allow soldiers to blatantly disregard the open-fire regulations with no accountability allows the continued use of lethal force – a crucial facet in Israel’s ability to maintain its violent control over millions of Palestinians.
The names of the young Palestinians killed as a result of unwarranted Israeli force during the month of January are as follows:
- Mus’ab a-Sufi (16) who was shot in the neck and killed by an Israeli soldier on January 3 in the village of Deir Nidham, northwest of Ramallah. The following day, January 4, Muhammad ‘Awad (19) from the village of ‘Abud, was shot in the head and severely wounded by Israeli forces during a-Sufi’s funeral.
- ‘Ali Qinu (17) was shot in the head and killed by an Israeli soldier on January 11 near the village of ‘Iraq Burin, south of Nablus.
- Amir Abu Masa’ed (15) was shot in the armpit on January 11 and died from his wound inflicted by an Israeli soldier during a demonstration near the perimeter fence in the area of Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip.
- Ahmad Salim (28) was shot in the head and killed by a soldier on January 15 near the village of Jayus, east of Qalqilya.
- Layth Abu Na’im (16) was shot in the head and killed by Israeli forces on January 30 in the village of al-Mughayir, northeast of Ramallah.