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Children targeted, denied rights, murdered in occupied West Bank

Children targeted, denied rights, murdered in occupied West Bank

Occupied West Bank: Children are being targeted, tortured and mercilessly shot dead with indifference by the Israeli military in occupied West Bank, reports Al Jazeera.

Though there are no clashes in these villages, Israeli soldiers had been entering on a daily basis, provoking the locals, shooting tear gas canisters into homes and swearing at villagers, says the report. Among many incidents of gunfire, a child of eleven died of multiple gunshots after Israeli soldiers fired 13 rounds on a car in which the child and his father were travelling. The soldiers reasoned that the vehicle was ordered to stop, but it didn't, making them fire.

An activist from Nabi Saleh in West Bank told Al Jazeera that children in the village were mostly targeted to punish their parents for their political activism. The activist's family was attacked multiple times, including her son being carted off to custody and detained. He was released later.

Her son, who was 11 years old while the military took him into custody, told Al Jazeera that he was blindfolded and handcuffed and was made to sit on the floor for hours. He was given no food or water and was not freed from blindfold or handcuffs. The officials later showed him a video of his mother, protesting at a checkpoint, to frighten him. He was released only after the intervention of Palestinian officials. The activist said that now her son has a file and is not allowed to cross Israeli checkpoints even though he is just 15.

She added that about 85 children were arrested from her village of Nabi Saleh. Of this, 10 of them were under 15. In addition to the beatings and arrests, soldiers are adding checkpoints in villages, barring children from crossing it, and stopping them from going to school, she said.

According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 12 children were killed in the Israeli-occupied West Bank this year. Sixty-seven were killed in Gaza during the attack in May. The Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) said that intentional lethal force was only justified under international law in circumstances where a direct threat to life or serious injury was present, while OHCHR said that all civilians under-occupied territories are protected under international law, particularly the rights of children.

But evidence collected by DCIP shows that Israeli forces regularly used lethal force against Palestinian children, ultimately ending in extrajudicial or willful killings. The works done by DCIP were hampered by Israeli security forces. They raided DCIP offices in Al Bireh, which led the OHCHR to ask the Israeli government to return confidential documents and office equipment the military seized from DCIP offices.

OHCHR commented that the organisation is deeply concerned about the Israeli military's interference with the human rights work of DCIP.

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