Israel kills children, damages infrastructure in West Bank

Mourners carry the body of Saqr Abed, an Islamic Jihad militant killed in a raid by Israeli forces in the village of Kafr Dan, near the West Bank city of Jenin, Wednesday, June 12, 2024.  (Mohammed Nasser APA images)

A warning on 4 June from the UN human rights commissioner that “unprecedented bloodshed” in the occupied West Bank must come to an end has gone unheeded.

The Israeli military, at times in collaboration with Israel’s Border Police and Israel’s domestic secret police Shin Bet, has continued to conduct deadly raids into the occupied West Bank, wreaking havoc to private Palestinian property and civilian infrastructure in the process.

An Israeli military raid into Kafr Dan village west of Jenin in the northern West Bank killed six Palestinians earlier this week.

The invading Israeli forces used Energa anti-tank rifle grenades against a home belonging to the Abed family, killing three, Saqr Aref Abed, Mustafa Allam Mirie and Ahmad Muhammad Abu Obeid.

Others killed during the Israeli attack and confrontations in the village include Ayman Abu Fadalah, Muhammad Hazza Mirie and Ahmad Muhammad Samoudi, 17.

On 11 June, Ahmad was with another child, allegedly carrying homemade explosive devices as they waited for Israeli armored vehicles to pass by on a road in the center of Kafr Dan.

An Israeli sniper shot at the two children from a distance of 100 to 150 meters with six bullets, according to Defense for Children International – Palestine.

One bullet hit Ahmad in his leg, and he collapsed and started pleading for help. The other child was able to flee though he was injured in the thigh.

The Israeli sniper shot towards Ahmad again, striking him in his chest and head.

An Israeli military vehicle then approached Ahmad, and the Israeli driver stepped out and shot the child three more times.

The driver of the military vehicle remained near him for a few minutes as Israeli forces blocked a Palestinian ambulance from reaching Ahmad as he lay wounded on the ground.

“Israeli forces shot Ahmad, waited until he fell to the ground, then shot him several more times, then blocked paramedics from reaching him until they were confident he bled out,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP.

“The United States must stop sending weapons to the Israeli military that are used to kill Palestinian children without restraint, whether in Gaza or the West Bank.”

Ahmad is the older brother of a 12-year-old boy who was shot, and later succumbed to his wounds, during an Israeli raid in Jenin in September 2022.

Mahmoud Muhammad Samoudi had allegedly thrown stones at Israeli vehicles when Israeli forces opened fire at the group of youths he was a part of.

Elsewhere on 10 June, Israeli occupation forces raided the village of Kafr Nimeh, west of Ramallah, and shot and killed four Palestinian men and injured others.

Israeli armored vehicles invaded the Kafr Nimeh village, raided homes and commercial stores, confiscated surveillance cameras and set up a checkpoint at the village’s entrance.

Israeli authorities had been pursuing two Palestinians suspected of setting fire to a vehicle and its trailer in the Sde Ephraim settlement “outpost” in the occupied West Bank overnight on 9 June.

Sde Ephraim was established on a hilltop belonging to the nearby Palestinian village of Ras Karkar.

While all Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal under international law and building them is a war crime, what Israel refers to as “outposts” are often built without even Israel’s permission and are considered illegal under Israeli law.

The men killed were identified as Muhammad Raslan Abdo, Muhammad Jaber Abdo and Rashdi Samih Ataya, according to the Palestinian Authority civil affairs department, which did not name the fourth Palestinian who was killed.

Local news sources named him as Wasim Bisam Zidan.

Israeli forces had previously detained Muhammad Jaber Abdo for two decades, and he was released in 2022. He was a member of Hamas’ armed wing operating in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli forces claimed to have found a makeshift sub-machine gun and other weapons in the vehicle.

Israeli forces then barred Palestine Red Crescent Society medics from reaching and evacuating the injured for at least two hours.

When one ambulance tried to reach, Israeli forces fired at it with live ammunition, puncturing its tires.

Israeli forces also opened fire on Palestinians gathered in the area, injuring eight with live ammunition, including a child.

Israel is now withholding the bodies of all four Palestinians its forces killed in Kafr Nimeh, UN monitoring group OCHA said. Israel withholds the remains of Palestinians killed during what it claims were attacks, intending to use them as bargaining chips in negotiations.

A governorate-wide strike on Ramallah and al-Bireh was reportedly declared the next day, on 11 June, in mourning.

Wreaking havoc on a refugee camp

Israeli forces invaded the al-Faraa refugee camp in the foothills of the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank accompanied with military bulldozers in the late hours of 9 June. Israeli forces briefly withdrew from the camp at dawn the next day but stormed it later with large reinforcements.

Israeli forces also invaded several other neighborhoods in nearby Tubas, before withdrawing completely on the afternoon of 10 June after a 16-hour operation, which saw armed Palestinians defend the camp from the Israeli invaders.

Soldiers raided homes in the refugee camp and used them as sniper and observation points. Bulldozers partially damaged some homes.

A 16-year-old Palestinian child, Mahmoud Ibrahim Nabrisi, was walking out of an alley that led to the refugee camp’s main square when he saw Israeli soldiers stationed in a community center for disabled people in the camp, according to a field investigation by DCIP.

Mahmoud tried to warn people in the area of the presence of the Israeli forces. That’s when an Israeli sniper hiding behind a small hole in the building’s wall that the military created to observe and shoot from, fired at Mahmoud from a distance of 120 to 150 meters. Three bullets hit Mahmoud, one near his eye, one behind his ear and another in his leg.

Palestinian youth transferred Mahmoud to an ambulance, which took him to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

As has often been the case with Israeli military raids in the occupied West Bank, which include highly destructive attacks on infrastructure, Israeli bulldozers damaged sewage, electricity and water networks during their invasion of al-Faraa refugee camp. Israeli forces also destroyed and bulldozed the refugee camp’s main square and road.

Israeli forces also surrounded the camp, preventing Palestinian residents from going in or leaving.

Soldiers burned three houses, partially destroyed two and burned four vehicles and destroyed another during their invasion of the camp.

Local media circulated pictures of a home in the camp after it was bombed by the Israeli army, as well as damaged and destroyed vehicles:

The Israeli military’s widespread destruction of civilian and public infrastructures leads residents to believe that the Israeli army is taking revenge on the camp by destroying it, Wafa news agency reported.

The Israeli military has conducted four major raids into the al-Faraa refugee camp since 7 October, killing 17 Palestinians, the news agency reported.

“Unprecedented bloodshed”

Earlier this month, the UN high commissioner for human rights Volker Türk said Palestinians in the occupied West Bank were “being subjected to day after day of unprecedented bloodshed.”

More than 520 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank since 7 October, including at least 504 by Israeli forces, according to OCHA.

Israeli settlers have killed at least 10 Palestinians, and another seven were killed by either Israeli army or settler fire.

Of those killed in the occupied West Bank since 7 October, 132 were children.

Israeli forces and settlers have injured over 5,200 Palestinians in the West Bank since 7 October, at least 800 of them children. One third of all injuries were by live ammunition.

Israeli forces and settlers have killed 51 Palestinian children since the beginning of the year, including two US citizens, according to documentation by DCIP.

• This article was first published in The Electronic Intifada

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada. Read other articles by Tamara, or visit Tamara's website.