Dear John —
Last week—the same day Israeli forces shot and killed journalist Shireen Abu Aqla—an Israeli soldier shot 16-year-old Thaer Khalil Mohammad Maslat with live ammunition in the chest in the occupied West Bank city of Al-Bireh. Thaer was watching confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth just after leaving school for the day a few hundred meters away.
Thaer left school after his second class due to a teachers’ strike. He and a friend approached an area about 200 meters (656 feet) away from the school where the confrontations were taking place. At least 12 Israeli soldiers were deployed nearby. Thaer arrived and stood next to a building watching the confrontations when an Israeli soldier shot him in the chest with live ammunition. Thaer did not pose any threat to Israeli forces when he was shot, according to information collected by DCIP.
Palestinian children should be able to safely attend school without fear of violence at the hands of Israeli forces. Instead, Israeli forces regularly deploy in or near schools, attacking Palestinian children and putting education under attack.
A second Palestinian child was killed last week—Motasem Mohammad Taleb Attallah, 17. Motasem was shot and killed inside the Jewish-only Tekoa settlement located near Bethlehem. Motsasem left home in the evening after an argument with his parents, and an hour later his family was informed that he was shot and killed after entering the settlement with a knife. DCIP has been unable to confirm the specific circumstances of Motasem’s killing, including whether he was shot by an Israeli soldier, private security contractor, or an Israeli settler.
Thank you for continuing to call for accountability for Palestinian children.
Ayed Abu Eqtaish
Accountability Program Director
Defense for Children International – Palestine