After shooting and killing 17-year-old Wadea Abdulaziz Meri Abu Ramouz, Israeli forces are withholding his body. (Photo: Courtesy of the Abu Ramouz family)
Ramallah, January 30, 2023—Israeli forces shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy in East Jerusalem last week.
Wadea Abdulaziz Meri Abu Ramouz, 17, was shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces around 10 p.m. on January 25 during a confrontation between Palestinian youth and Israeli police in the Ein-Al-Louzeh area of the Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine. Wadea was transferred to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem and Israeli forces placed him under arrest and guarded him while he was treated in the intensive care unit. Wadea succumbed to his injuries at the hospital around 11 p.m. on January 27. Israeli forces are currently withholding his body.
“Israeli forces shot 17-year-old Wadea with lethal force, detained him with armed guards in the ICU, and are withholding his body after he succumbed to his injuries,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Israeli forces routinely resort to intentional lethal force in situations not justified under international law and make no effort to impartially investigate or ensure that Israeli soldiers act in accordance with international standards.”
Wadea sustained at least one gunshot wound near his heart, critically injuring his spleen and liver, according to information collected by DCIP. After Israeli forces shot him, Wadea laid on the ground for about 45 minutes before receiving medical attention.
Israeli forces have killed eight Palestinian children so far this year, including seven killed in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
Abdullah Marwan Juma’a Mousa, 17, and Wasim Amjad Aref Abu Jaes, 16, were killed by Israeli forces in the morning of January 26 in Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank. Amr Khaled Lutfi Al-Khmour, 14, was shot and killed by Israeli forces on January 16 near the entrance to Dheisheh refugee camp. Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Amer Ghazi Mahmoud Zeitoun in Balata refugee camp in the early morning of January 5. Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Adam Issam Shaker Ayyad on January 3 in Dheisheh refugee camp. On January 1, an Israeli sniper shot 17-year-old Fuad Mahmoud Ahmad Abed in Kafr Dan, west of Jenin, and he was pronounced dead early in the morning on January 2.
10-year-old Nayef Khaled Nayef Al-Odat died on January 26 from head injuries sustained in an Israeli airstrike last August in the southern Gaza Strip.
Under international law, intentional lethal force is only justified in circumstances where a direct threat to life or of serious injury is present. However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings.
Israeli authorities’ practice of confiscating and withholding Palestinian bodies is a violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, which include absolute prohibitions on cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, as well as stipulate that parties of an armed conflict must bury the deceased in an honorable way. For families, the practice amounts to collective punishment in violation of international humanitarian law.
In September 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court approved the practice of confiscating human remains after several legal challenges to the policy. On November 27, 2019, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett ordered all bodies of Palestinians alleged to have attacked Israeli citizens or soldiers to be withheld and not returned to their families. Israel is the only country in the world with such a policy of confiscating human remains, according to Adalah.
53 Palestinian children were killed in 2022, according to documentation collected by DCIP, including 36 Palestinian children shot and killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the occupied West Bank. DCIP documented the killing of 17 Palestinian children between August 5–7 after Israeli forces launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip.