Israel kills three children as 2023 dawns

Members of the undercover unit 'mistaravim'

Tamara Nassar

The Electronic Intifada  /  January 5, 2023

In just the first few days of the new year, Israel killed four Palestinians, including three children.

Israeli troops killed a 16-year-old boy in the Balata refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus overnight on Thursday.

Defense for Children International – Palestine identified the boy as Amer Ghazi Zeitoun. He was shot with a bullet to the head.

On Tuesday, Israeli occupation forces – accompanied by undercover mistaravim agents – invaded Dheisheh refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, to capture a camp resident.

Mistaravim present themselves as Palestinians in order to captureinjure or infiltrate groups of civilians.

Camp residents confronted the troops, according to DCIP, and were shot at with live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters.

During the raid, soldiers positioned themselves on rooftops in order to place snipers there, according to a field investigation by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

Five children gathered and threw stones at soldiers on one rooftop, an eyewitness told PCHR.

Soldiers opened fire on the children and another group of men, injuring two children, who were taken to a nearby hospital.

One of the injured was 15-year-old boy Adam Issam Ayyad. He was shot with at least one bullet in the back of his shoulder, DCIP reported. He later died of his wounds.

Punitive demolition

Israeli soldiers invaded Kafr Dan in the northern West Bank on 2 January to demolish the homes of two Palestinians accused of killing an Israeli soldier in September.

Ahmad Ayman Abed and Abdulrahman Hani Abed reportedly opened fire on Israeli soldiers near Jenin that month using improvised Carlo rifles, killing Bar Falah, the deputy commander of a special reconnaissance unit in the Nahal Brigade.

Both men were killed by the Israeli army.

Israeli forces arrived in Kafr Dan to destroy the men’s family homes as punishment for their relatives.

Collective punishment of this kind is a war crime that Israel only commits against the families of Palestinians accused of harming Israelis, never against the families of Israelis who harm Palestinians.

Israeli troops forced the occupants of the two houses as well as 10 other families to vacate in preparation for the punitive demolition, according to PCHR.

Israeli forces completely destroyed one home, leaving three families, a total of 17 people, homeless. They destroyed two floors of the other house.

Villagers gathered to confront the soldiers, throwing stones at them. Troops responded with live fire, tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets. Six people were injured, including Fuad Mahmoud Abed, 17, who later died in hospital.

According to a field investigation by DCIP, an Israeli sniper stationed on the second floor of a house shot the boy in the abdomen, pelvis and legs.

Muhammad Samer Hoshiyeh, 22, from al-Yamun village was also killed in the incursion. He was shot in the chest, according to PCHR.

Provocations in Jerusalem

Israel appears bent on keeping up the same rate of killings in the first week of this year as a particularly violent 2022.

Last year saw the highest number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the second intifada nearly two decades ago.

Violence and provocations against Palestinians have certainly not abated since Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition government was sworn in last month.

In a highly provocative act, Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir of the supremacist Jewish Power party stormed the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Tuesday.

The move drew rebukes from Israel’s closest allies, including the United States and Arab countries, because it threatens a status quo that otherwise serves only Israel’s interests.

Such incursions are associated with the so-called Temple movement that promotes Jewish visits to Al-Aqsa in occupied East Jerusalem as part of a gradual takeover process by settlers.

The ultimate aim of the movement – openly declared by many of its adherents – is the destruction of Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock and their replacement with a Jewish temple.

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada