Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) strongly condemns the
ongoing attacks against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories,
indicating the serious systematic violations of Israeli occupation forces.
Throughout decades, the occupation has been adopting oppressive policies resulting
in the establishment
of a culture that disregards human rights. This has been manifested through
various forms of violations against Palestinian human rights, particularly the
right to life, as no one has been spared from its violent assaults.
On November 29, 2023, Adam Samer Al-Ghoul, 8, and
Basel Suleiman Abu Al-Wafa, 15, were deliberately shot and killed in Jenin and
were left bleeding to death as the Israeli occupation forces prevented citizens
and paramedics from reaching them. The incident occurred during the military
operation that was carried out on Tuesday evening in Jenin and its camp.
(Witness) points out that the Israeli occupation
consistently violates the rights of Palestinian civilians, especially children,
without facing accountability while following a systematic policy of killings
and detentions in full view of the world for many years. According to United Nations
office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian
territories, the number of martyrs in the West Bank since the beginning of 2023
has reached 402, including 200 killed since October 7 of the same year.
In this context, as part of the exchange deal between
Palestinian factions in Gaza and Israel, 210 Palestinian women and children
have been released to date. It is noteworthy that not only do they face brutal
treatment, but they are also subjected to unlawful confinement and
imprisonment. Palestinian children endure a legal system that lacks fair trial
standards allowing the detention of those as young as 12 years old, along with
arbitrary home confinement and various forms of abuse in prisons as testified
by many who have been released.
The Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness)
affirms that the international humanitarian law prohibits the targeting of
civilians and children in armed conflicts. Targeting unarmed individuals or
causing them undue harm is considered a crime against humanity. This in accordance
with Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Convention on the Rights of
the Child of 1989, and the four Geneva Conventions, in particular Fourth Geneva
Convention of 1949 concerning the protection of civilians at times of wars.
(Witness) indicates that targeting children can amount
to a war crime. Media reports that the two children were shot with a gunfire
although they were unarmed and didn’t pose a real threat. In fact, actions of
the Israeli occupation forces clearly violate crucial principles of the
international law, including the principle of necessity which stipulates that
the use of force must be necessary to achieve a legitimate objective, and the
means employed should be incapable of achieving this objective with less cost.
Additionally, the principle of proportionality urges the avoidance of excessive
or unjustified use of force.
Article 85(5) of the Additional Protocol I to the
Geneva Conventions of 1977 states that serious violations of the conventions
and this protocol are considered war crimes. Furthermore, Article 7 of the Rome
Statute of the International Criminal Court stipulates that intentional
killing, when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack – a
careful examination of the occupation's behavior confirms its systematic and
widespread targeting of children over many years – is considered a war crime.
It is noteworthy that the International Criminal Court is the judicial body
responsible for pursuing and prosecuting perpetrators of such crimes.
The international community should take action to exert pressure on the Israeli
occupation authorities to cease these violations and ensure the rights of
Palestinian children to lead a dignified and secure life. Human rights
organizations, media outlets, and all concerned parties should monitor and
document these violations to achieve justice and accountability.
legal and ethical responsibility necessitates a thorough and transparent
investigation into the tragic incident of Jenin ensuring accountability for
those responsible for this heinous act based on legal and ethical standards.
The parties involved should bear full responsibility for protecting the rights
of children and take decisive measures to prevent the recurrence of such
tragedy. Therefore, the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) recommends
1.Special Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child
at the United Nations, Ms. Mama Fatima Singhateh, to issue a clear condemnation
of the violations that the Palestinian children face.
2.Child-focused organizations, including UNICEF,
to provide immediate protection and care for Palestinian children.
3.United Nations, the international community,
all human rights organizations, and media to condemn this criminal act and call
for holding the Israeli occupation accountable for its ongoing crimes.
4.Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr.
António Guterres, to include the Israeli occupation in the "List of
Shame" issued by the United Nations for states and entities violating the
rights of children in conflict zones.
The Palestinian Association for
Human rights (Witness)
Beirut November 30, 2023