Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) critically injured at least four children with live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets in separate incidents across the West Bank in the past two weeks. All injuries resulted from the use of potentially lethal force by the IOF in circumstances where available information suggests the children did not pose a threat to life or serious injury of the soldiers or to anyone else. It thus appears the force used was not in accordance with international law.
On 29 November, IOF fired live ammunition to the chest of a 16-year old boy in Al Bireh. Reportedly, IOF was responding to stone-throwing and used live ammunition without warning. The boy is in intensive care. On 28 November, IOF shot live ammunition to the chest of another 16-year old boy in Silwad. The boy was attempting to cross the street, where IOF had been responding to stone-throwing. Despite trying to signal his intention to the soldiers, he was shot. He is in intensive care. On 27 November, during protests in Kafr Qaddum, IOF shot a 16-year old boy in the head with a rubber-coated metal bullet. The boy fell from the impact and is hospitalized with a fractured skull.
On 17 November, a 15-year old boy on his way back from school lost his right eye after being hit by ricochet ammunition in Qalandia refugee camp. Although there were clashes taking place between the IOF and residents of the camp, none of the available information suggests the boy would have posed a threat to anyone at the time he was shot.
UN Human Rights Office called on Israel to promptly, transparently and independently investigate all instances of Israeli use of force that have led to killing or injury and to hold those responsible accountable. In accordance with international law, use of lethal force is only allowed as a measure of last resort, in response to a threat to life or of serious injury. Stone-throwing does not appear to constitute such threat. In addition, force must always be used in a manner which causes the least possible harm. Shooting in the head or upper body does not appear to conform with this requirement. Children enjoy special protection under international law and must be protected from violence at all times. They should not be put at risk of nor or encouraged to participate in violence.