Israeli forces shoot, kill 16-year-old Palestinian boy near Ramallah

Israeli forces shot and killed Thaer Khalil Mohammad Maslat, 16, in the Jabal Al-Tawil neighborhood of Al-Bireh, near Ramallah, on May 11.

Ramallah, May 16, 2022—Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy in the central occupied West Bank last week. 

Thaer Khalil Mohammad Maslat, 16, was shot with live ammunition in the chest by Israeli forces around 10 a.m. on May 11 in the occupied West Bank city of Al-Bireh, just west of Ramallah, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine. Israeli forces shot Thaer as he watched confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth nearby, according to an eyewitness. Thaer was transferred to Ramallah Hospital in a private car and pronounced dead around 10:45 a.m, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

“Israeli forces routinely unlawfully kill Palestinian children with impunity, using excessive force and unjustified intentional lethal force,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Palestinian children should be able to safely attend school without fear of violence at the hands of Israeli forces. Instead, Israeli forces regularly deploy in or near schools, attacking Palestinian children and putting education under attack.”

Thaer left Al-Hashimiya Boys Secondary School located in the Jabal Al-Tawil neighborhood of Al-Bireh after his second class due to a teachers’ strike. He and a friend approached an area about 200 meters (656 feet) away from the school where the confrontations were taking place. A group of at least 12 Israeli soldiers were deployed nearby. Thaer arrived and stood next to a building watching the confrontations when an Israeli soldier shot him in the chest with live ammunition, according to an eyewitness. Thaer did not pose any threat to Israeli forces when he was shot, according to information collected by DCIP. 

Under international law, intentional lethal force is only justified in circumstances where a direct threat to life or of serious injury is present. However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings. 

A second Palestinian child was killed last week—Motasem Mohammad Taleb Attallah, 17. Motasem was shot and killed inside the Jewish-only Tekoa settlement located near Bethlehem. Motsasem left home in the evening after an argument with his parents, and an hour later his family was informed that he was shot and killed after entering the settlement with a knife. DCIP has been unable to confirm the specific circumstances of Motasem’s killing, including whether he was shot by an Israeli soldier, private security contractor, or an Israeli settler