BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot and injured at least 30 children across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year, according to Defense for Children International-Palestine.
DCIP reported that while Israeli military regulation permits the use of live ammunition when a direct mortal threat exists, the organization found no evidence that any of the children injured in 2015 posed such a threat to Israeli forces or settlers.
“The pace at which we are documenting injuries from live ammunition in 2015 shows no sign of slowing down,” DCIP advocacy officer Olivia Watson told Ma’an.
“Last year, 11 Palestinian children died as a result of live fire used by Israeli forces.”
Only one of these cases resulted in both an investigation and an indictment.
All but one of the injuries documented by DCIP in 2015 occurred at the hands of Israeli forces. The exception took place in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan on Feb. 2, when an unprovoked Israeli settler shot Mohammad Burqan, 17, in the right leg.
The report marks an ongoing trend of what critics believe to be disproportionate use of force against Palestinians participating in demonstrations or responding to raids by Israeli forces throughout the West Bank.
Israeli military courts rarely prosecute members of Israeli forces in such cases. From 2000-2012, only 117 of 2,207 investigations opened by the Military Police Criminal Investigations Division were indicted, about 5% of the total files opened, according to Israeli human rights group Yesh-Din.
Watson told Ma’an the recent DCIP report did not reveal any on-the-ground improvement in Israeli policy towards children.
“The injuries sustained so far this year show that Israeli forces continue to shoot at children with impunity.”
Palestinian leadership is expected to bring Israeli figures to the International Criminal Court in April, partially in response to what they see to be a military court system that promotes impunity rather than effectively enforcing the law.
Since 2000, Israeli security forces have killed over 8,896 Palestinians. At least 1,900 of those have been children, according to DCIP documentation.