Soldier abducts child (archive image)

A statement released this week by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called on Israel to investigate every incident in which its soldiers used force against children.

Just a day after the statement was released, Israeli forces shot and killed an unarmed child while he was marching in a peaceful protest in his village.

According to the statement from OHCHR, the “use of lethal force is only allowed as a measure of last resort, in response to a threat to life or serious injury”. The Office noted that children who throw stones at Israeli soldiers do not constitute such a threat.

The statement continued, “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.”

The statement warned that shooting in the head or upper body does not conform with this requirement. The statement came after Israeli forces critically injured at least four children with live ammunition and rubber bullets in separate incidents across the West Bank over the past two weeks.

The statement mentioned the four cases, including an incident on November 29 when a 16-year-old boy was shot in the chest and critically injured in al-Bireh.

According to reports, the Israeli forces used live ammunition against protesters, including children, who were throwing stones at them.

On November 28, Israeli forces shot live ammunition at the chest of another 16-year-old boy in Silwad, near Ramallah, as he was trying to cross the road.

A day earlier, Israeli soldiers shot a 16-year-old boy in the head with a rubber bullet during the protests in Kufur Qaddum, north of the West Bank. The boy was hospitalized with a fractured skull.

Also in November, a 15-year-old boy lost his right eye as he was returning home from school in Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem.

Although there were clashes between Israeli soldiers and residents of the camp, there’s no evidence that the boy would have posed a threat to anyone at the time he was shot.

And following this report, a 13-year old child was shot and killed by Israeli forces at a protest near Ramallah.