UNRWA condemns the killing of a refugee child during military raid in the occupied Palestinian territory

Chris Gunness, UNRWA Spokesperson


Jerusalem, 25 July 2018: During a large scale incursion by the Israeli security forces (ISF) into Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem on 23 July, a fourteen year old Palestine refugee student at UNRWA’s Basic Boys School in the camp was shot and killed, reportedly with live ammunition. Preliminary reports suggest he was not armed. UNRWA condemns the killing of children and calls for an independent and transparent investigation to establish the cause and circumstances of this death.

Across all 19 refugee camps in the West Bank since the beginning of 2017 until now, 10 refugees have been killed and 129 (27 minors) injured by live ammunition. All of these fatalities occurred in the context of ISF operations in and around the camps. In Deheisheh alone since the beginning of 2017, three Palestine refugees have been killed and 55 (including 13 children) injured by live ammunition.

The percentage of people injured by live ammunition in Palestine refugee camps in the West Bank has risen from 10 percent in 2013 to 40 percent of recorded injuries so far in 2018. This increasing trend since 2013 and scale of live ammunition use raises serious concerns of the potentially excessive and disproportionate use of force by the ISF.

Under international law, as the occupying power, Israel has the responsibility to adhere to international standards for the use of force in law enforcement activities, prohibiting the use of lethal force except as a last resort, in self-defence and in response to an imminent threat of serious physical harm.