Ramallah, July 27, 2014—Israeli forces shot dead a 17-year-old boy on Thursday and a 14-year-old boy on Friday, as thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank marched in solidarity with Gaza.
Clashes took place at Qalandia checkpoint when thousands of Palestinians marching from Ramallah toward Jerusalem were halted by the Israeli separation barrier. Mohammad Ziad al-Araj and other Palestinians were met with lethal force by the Israeli military, which used teargas canisters, rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition to disperse the crowd. Mohammad was shot in the head with a live bullet, which entered near his left eye, killing him instantly, DCI-Palestine sources said. It was his 17th birthday.
Over 200 others were injured at the march, which has been called the ‘largest West Bank demonstration in decades.’ Ten of those were in a critical condition at the time of writing.
Late on Friday, Israeli forces shot Nasri Mahmoud Taqatqa, 14, with a live round at the outset of a demonstration in the West Bank town of Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem, a witness told DCI-Palestine. He died shortly after from his wounds. DCI-Palestine is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCI-Palestine, said: “The Israeli military’s own regulations dictate that live ammunition must only be used in circumstances of real mortal danger, but the regulations are not enforced, so soldiers are able to fire at civilians without fear of repercussions.”
Additional fatalities and injuries have occurred since Thursday, as people across the West Bank marched to show their solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, where at least 676 civilians have died in the past three weeks. DCI-Palestine has confirmed 136 child deaths in Gaza, with an additional 64 cases under investigation, since Israel launched its military offensive.
Large protests occurred in Huwwara, Beit Ummar, Hebron, Halhul, Bilin, Ramallah, Tuqu, and al-Aroub. In East Jerusalem, Palestinians under the age of 50 were forbidden from entering the Al-Aqsa compound, resulting in clashes that led to at least 40 Palestinians sustaining injuries.
DCI-Palestine mourned the loss of a staff member on Friday after Israeli forces killed Hashem Khader Abu Maria while he marched with demonstrators in Beit Ummar.
Palestinian children and civilians across the Occupied Palestinian Territory are frequently injured by the Israeli military's use of excessive force including both crowd control weapons and live ammunition. At least six Palestinian children in the West Bank died from live rounds fired by Israeli forces this year. None of the soldiers involved has been held to account.