Defence for Children International condemns the unlawful killing of Children in Gaza and calls for urgent action

PRESS RELEASE – 17 May 2018

Geneva, Switzerland


Defence for Children International (DCI) condemns Israel’s unlawful killing of Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip, near the perimeter fence during “March of Return” protests. It also disapproves of the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem. DCI calls upon the international community to take urgent action to hold accountable all perpetrators responsible for killing and maiming Palestinian children in direct contravention of international law, including relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Defense for Children International – Palestine Section (DCIP) has documented a total of 14 Palestinian child fatalities at the hands of Israeli forces during “March of Return” protests since March 30, 2018. An additional child died after attempting to cross the perimeter fence in the same period.

Three days ago, on May 14, Israeli forces killed seven children with live ammunition during large scale protests near Israel’s perimeter fence. DCIP confirmed the following child fatalities: Ibrahim al-Zarqa, 17, Said Abu al-Kheir, 15, Saadi Abu Salah, 16, Ahmad al-Sha’ar, 15, Wassal Khalil,14, and Izz al-Samak, 13, Talal Matar, 16.

Four boys and one girl killed by Israeli forces on May 14 were shot in the head or neck and the other two boys were shot in the abdomen, according to initial reports.

Israeli actions, as documented by DCIP, constitute lethal, disproportionate and excessive use of force. Live fire, which constitutes a lethal amount of force, may only be used when a direct threat to life or of serious injury exists, under international law.

DCIP has also documented at least 20 injuries among Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip between March 30 and May 11, near the perimeter fence. Seven of these sustained severe injuries to the lower body, including three children who had a leg amputated.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has condemned the violence in Gaza, and the Human Rights Council has convened a special session on the deteriorating human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including East Jerusalem, on Friday 18 May 2018.

DCI stresses that Israeli forces must abide by international law and not use lethal force against Palestinian children who pose no direct, immediate threat. DCI calls for the end of all forms of collective punishment caused by the ongoing blockade on Gaza since 2007.

DCI also calls for an independent and transparent investigations into all incidents of excessive use of force, including lethal force, against Palestinians in the OPT, notably those resulting in killings of children. To this end, DCI calls on the UN Human Rights Council to ensure accountability and call for an investigation when it meets on Friday.


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