Skip to main content

100 Palestinian children killed in West Bank since 7 October

100 Palestinian children killed in West Bank since 7 October
3 min read
16 February, 2024
Since the start of Israel's war on Gaza in October, 100 children have been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian children have been particularly affected by Israel's war on Gaza, with over 12,000 killed since October and many more orphaned [Getty]

One hundred Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied West Bank over the past four months, according to figures from a child rights NGO released on Thursday.

It comes after Israel intensified military raids on towns and villages across the occupied West Bank since the outbreak of Israel's war on Gaza in October of last year. 

Sixteen-year-old Neehel Ziad Mohammad Bregheith from Beit Ummar tragically became the 100th child to be killed in West Bank violence since the start of the war on 7 October, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP).

Neehel was shot as he and other students were leaving school on Wednesday during a raid by Israeli forces on the town. Ten Palestinians were reportedly injured during the attacks.

In February alone, Israeli forces shot dead five boys aged between 14 and 17. In two of these cases, they confiscated the bodies and are indefinitely withholding them from the families.

Palestinian-American Mohamed Ahmed Khadour, 16, was fatally shot by Israeli forces on February 10 while in a car with a relative by a wooded park in the town of Qattana.

Mohammad, who was born in Washington, was shot in the head and rushed to hospital but could not be saved, according to DCIP.

A family member told The Washington Post newspaper they were devastated.

The US government confirmed that an American citizen had died in the West Bank in a statement on Tuesday and said that it was seeking further information from the Israeli government on the incident.

For years, human rights groups have called out Israel for what they say is excessive use of force against children, including attacks by settlers.

On 9 February, 16-year-old Moath Ashraf Faleh Bani Shamsa was fatally shot in the back by Israeli forces near his home in Beita in the occupied West Bank.

He allegedly threw stones at Israeli army vehicles withdrawing from the village, when one stopped and backed up towards him. As Moath ran away, a soldier shot him in the upper right side of his back, DCIP said.

Last year, Israeli forces and settlers killed at least 121 Palestinian children making it the deadliest year for Palestinian children on record. Many were shot with live rounds, while others were killed in drone strikes. According to DCIP, four children were killed by missiles from an Apache attack helicopter.

International law states that "intentional lethal force" is only justified when there is a direct threat to life or serious injury.

Human Rights Watch has said that there is "virtually no recourse or accountability" in cases of Israeli military forces killing Palestinian children.

DCIP’s investigations have noted that Israeli forces have used lethal force against Palestinian children on occasions which may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings.

Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability programe director at DCIP, said that "decades of systemic impunity" have created conditions in which "Israeli forces shoot to kill without limit".

"As Palestinian children are increasingly targets in the West Bank, Israeli forces' rules of engagement seemingly allow direct targeting of Palestinian children where no threat exists to justify the use of intentional lethal force," he said.

Children in Gaza have not been spared from Israel's unprecedented months-long offensive which has turned swathes of the enclave into rubble and uprooted the majority of the 2.3 million people living there.

In December, the World Health Organisation said that on average a child was killed every ten minutes in Gaza.

Over 12,300 children have been killed during the war, according to the latest figures from Gaza’s health ministry, with thousands more orphaned.