Israeli regime forces have killed 41 Palestinian children in the occupied territories in the past five months, says the Defense for Children International’s Palestine branch (DCIP).
DCIP’s Friday statement did not include a 2-year-old toddler who was killed along with her pregnant mother when their home was targeted by an Israeli airstrike in the besieged Gaza Strip, Ma’an News Agency reported Saturday.
The figure includes 31 Palestinians below the age of 18 who were accused by Israeli forces of carrying out knife or gun attacks, as well as other youths shot dead during clashes.
Bodies of two of the children are still being held by Tel Aviv authorities, according to DCIP’s statement, which further insisted that Israeli officials have not opened “full and transparent investigations” into any of the killings, and reportedly rejected several autopsy requests by families of the victims.
DCIP also censured the Israeli regime’s indiscriminate “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinian children saying, “International law requires that intentional lethal force be used only when absolutely unavoidable.”
DCIP has launched probes into death of those killed by Israeli forces, including 14-year-old Haitham Ismail al-Baw, who was shot dead on February 5 after army officers alleged that he was throwing Molotov cocktails at passing vehicles on route 60.
Haitham’s cousin, Wajdi, who was with him at the time he was killed, told DCIP that they were not throwing stones or any other objects at the time he was shot.
Palestinian physicians who examined Haitham’s body later that day stated that one of the bullets struck his back, pierced through his lungs and chest, and exited from his mouth, killing him instantly.
Wajdi further told DCIP that Israeli forces arrested him after killing Haitham and took him to an interrogation center where he faced physical abuse.
“The interrogator asked me through an interpreter what I was doing there in that area and I told him, ‘Nothing,’” he said. “So, he got up, grabbed my head, banged it against the wall, slapped me hard on my face, and pushed me out of the room.”
The youth was then forced to sign a statement in Hebrew, which interrogators refused to translate, before being taken to Ofer prison where he remains incarcerated.
According to DCIP, Wajdi is one of at least 406 Palestinian children held in Israeli prisons, marking the highest number of Palestinian jailed by the Tel Aviv regime in seven years.