Killing of 15-year-old by Israel is a “grave violation of international law”, says UN human rights office

On December 4, Israeli occupation forces killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, Ali Abu Alia, during a protest in the occupied West Bank against the building of an illegal Israeli settlement

December 18, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
UN condemns killing of Palestinian boy
Funeral procession of Ali Abu Aliya. (Photo: WAFA)

In a statement released on Thursday, December 17, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the killing of a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, Ali Abu Alia, by Israeli forces during a protest in the occupied West Bank on December 4, calling it a “gross violation of international law.”

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shot the teenager when he was standing and watching the demonstration organized in opposition to the construction of an illegal settlement outpost near his village al-Mughayir, near Samiya in the occupied West Bank. He was hit with live ammunition. The IDF has denied the use of live ammunition and claimed that the boy was part of the protests which were blocking a road. However, as per eyewitnesses, Israeli soldiers entered the village and fired on the protesters with tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition, which led to Ali’s death.

The United Nations’ Human Rights office observed in the statement that Israeli forces had used “intentional lethal force” illegally as there was no threat to their life from the protesters or the minor who was killed. The UN experts demanded an independent and impartial civilian inquiry into the incident to hold the guilty accountable.

UN experts Agnes Callamard and Michael Lynk also noted that Israel has been guilty of mistreatment of Palestinian children. In 2020 alone, at least six Palestinian boys have been killed and over 1,000 injured by Israeli forces in different incidents. They expressed “deep concern” over such atrocities and stated that “low level of legal accountability for the killings of so many children by Israeli security forces is unworthy of a country which proclaims that it lives by the rule of law.”

The recent killing of the Palestinian teenager created massive global outrage, with the European Union, UNICEF, and several other organizations condemning it. The killing once again underlines that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and the construction of settlements inside the occupied territories is in complete violation of all existing international laws.