Israeli soldiers kill 12-year-old Palestinian during clashes in central West Bank

18:00 Jul 19 2016 Ar Ram

Israeli soldiers kill 12-year-old Palestinian during clashes in central West Bank Israeli soldiers kill 12-year-old Palestinian during clashes in central West Bank Israeli soldiers kill 12-year-old Palestinian during clashes in central West Bank Israeli soldiers kill 12-year-old Palestinian during clashes in central West Bank Israeli soldiers kill 12-year-old Palestinian during clashes in central West Bank
Muhyee Muhammad Sidqi al-Tabbakhi, age 12. Published by Maan News July 19, 2016

Muhyee Muhammad Sidqi al-Tabbakhi. Published by Defense for Children International: Palestine. July 21, 2016

Funeral procession. Published by Maan News July 20, 2016

The area in a-Ram where Muhyi a-Din a-Tabakhi was shot. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem

A black sponge round found near where Muyhi a-Din a-Tabakhi was shot. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem

Israeli Border Police fire black sponge round at chest of 10-year-old boy in a-Ram, killing him

Published: 3 Aug 2016 by btselem

On Tuesday, 19 July 2016, at around 6:00 P.M., Muhyi a-Din a-Tabakhi. Photo courtesy of the family. 10-year-old Muhyi a-Din a-Tabakhi was critically injured by a black sponge round fired by Israeli Border Police officers in the town of a-Ram, al-Quds District. The Palestinian boy died shortly afterwards in hospital. B’Tselem’s field research found that at the time of the incident, a small group of Palestinian youths were throwing stones at Border Police jeeps patrolling the area. The police officers fired tear gas and black sponge rounds at them, both considered crowd control measures. One of the rounds hit a-Tabakhi in the chest. He was rushed to a medical clinic in a-Ram and from there in an ambulance to hospital in Ramallah, where he died of his wounds. The official response given to Israeli media was that “a disturbance of the peace had developed at the site of the incident and Border Police combatants fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters. The Border Police has made it clear that no live fire was used.”

The frequent clashes between Palestinian youths in the a-Ram area and Border Police are the result of construction work underway to replace the wire fence of the Separation Barrier near the town of a-Ram with a concrete wall, which began in July 2016. Border Police officers patrol the area frequently in jeeps to secure the construction work. A steep hill that overlooks one of the construction sites also serves as a playground for local Palestinian children. On the day of the incident, the youths threw stones at a Border Police jeep from there. The officers got out of the jeep and began chasing them. One of the officers fired a black sponge round that hit a-Tabakhi in the chest. According to Y. M., a 30-year-old resident of a-Ram who witnessed the incident, the officer was about 30 meters from the child. Y.M., who was close by, went over to assist the child and the officers fired a black sponge round at him, hitting him in the hand. Despite his injury, he managed, along with several other people who arrived on the scene, to take the boy to the a-Ram medical clinic.

Y. M. spoke with B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad and told him what happened:

At about 4:00 P.M. I got back from work. Next to our house, I saw three or four boys or youths throwing stones at an Israeli Border Police patrol. The force was securing construction work on part of the [Separation] Barrier, which is about 30-40 meters down the hill from our house.

There were three Border Police jeeps there, and they were trying to get the kids to stop by firing tear gas at them. At about 6:00 P.M., I saw two officers go through a gap in the fence to chase the kids, who were then standing near a different house and throwing stones from there too. As soon as the officers got through the fence, one of them fired a black sponge round. I don’t know which one of them it was. Then I saw a boy who was about thirty meters away from them fall down. I assumed he had been hit and ran down to help him. Other neighbors came too.

We got to him very quickly and I waved to the police not to shoot at us. I yelled towards them in Arabic: “Waqet, waqet” (time, time), but an officer who was about twenty meters away fired a sponge round at me and hit my right hand. I wasn’t badly injured and didn’t pay it much attention. Then the officers fired several live bullets in the air.

The Israel Police started using black sponge rounds two years ago. These are bullets made of heavy, hard sponge that can be dangerous. They are used in addition to blue sponge rounds, which the police has been using as a crowd control measure in Israel and in East Jerusalem since 2006, after the Or Commission stated that rubber-coated metal bullets should not be used in these areas other than in very exceptional circumstances. Blue sponge rounds are a relatively precise measure that can be aimed at less vulnerable body parts. If used according to regulation, they are less likely to cause severe injury than rubber-coated metal bullets. However, they can be dangerous to sensitive areas such as the head or the eyes.

In recent years, B’Tselem and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) have documented a great many instances in which police officers breached regulations for the use of blue and black sponge rounds.

Despite the clear prohibition on firing these bullets from short range, at children and passersby, or at vulnerable body parts such as the head or the chest, in recent years ACRI has documented 32 instances in which police officers fired sponge rounds unlawfully, in blatant breach of regulations, injuring Palestinians and an Israeli journalist in East Jerusalem. One of the victims was 10-year-old Yihya al-‘Amudi, who lost an eye. On 31 August 2014, an Israeli police officer fired a black sponge round at Muhammad Sunuqrut, 15, in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian teenager was injured and died of his wounds on 4 September 2014.

The police switched from using blue sponge rounds to using black ones, which are more dangerous, despite the fact that even before that, police officers were documented firing sponge rounds unlawfully, with no effective enforcement of regulations. Therefore, the lethal consequences of the switch to black sponge rounds were predictable – in fact, they are part of a policy.

As there is no apparent intention to restrict police use of black sponge rounds, this measure must be prohibited from use except in situations of mortal risk and must certainly not be considered a non-lethal weapon.

RAMALLAH (Ma'an), July 19, 2016--Updated July 20, 2916– A 12-year-old Palestinian was killed Tuesday evening during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the town of al-Ram north of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank after he was hit in the heart by a rubber-coated steel bullet, according to medical sources.

The Palestinian child, who was pronounced dead on arrival at the Palestine Medical Center, was identified by the Palestinian Ministry of Health as 12-year-old Muhyee Muhammad Sidqi al-Tabbakhi.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she did not have any information on the case. Israeli police were not available for comment.

Clashes erupted after Israeli forces raided the town of al-Ram, as Palestinian youths threw rocks and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers who then responded by shooting live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas bombs into the community. However, Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri told Al Jazeera no live fire was used in the clashes.

Israeli forces have come under repeated criticism for excessive use of force, as well as lethal methods of crowd control that often result in death or injury of protesters.

In March, Defense for Children International’s Palestine branch (DCIP) estimated that at least 41 Palestinian children had been killed by Israelis since October, when a wave of unrest began spreading across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel.

DCIP's report added that Israeli authorities had yet to open “full and transparent investigations” into any of the deaths, and reportedly refused a number of autopsy requests from children's families, criticizing what it called Israel’s “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinian children.

Although a number of those killed have been under the age of 14, Muhye is one of the youngest Palestinians to have been shot dead by Israeli forces.

Military looking into claims Muhye Muhammad Sidqi al-Tabbakhi, who was killed during clashes with Israeli security forces in the East Jerusalem town of al-Ram, died of Israeli fire.

by Elior Levy, Yoav Zitun, Published: 19.07.16 , 22:35 for YNET News

A 12-year-old Palestinian boy was reportedly killed in clashes with Israeli security forces in the East Jerusalem town of al-Ram on Tuesday evening, according to to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Ramallah hospital director Ahmad Bitawi claimed the boy, identified by the Palestinian news agency Ma'an as Muhye Muhammad Sidqi al-Tabbakhi, was killed by a bullet to the chest.

The Israel Police denied that live fire was used against protesters while the IDF said only stun and gas grenades were used.

Meanwhile, Ma'an reported al-Tabbakhi was killed by a rubber bullet.

The IDF said it was looking into the claims.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

July 20, 2016

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- A funeral procession was held on Wednesday for 12-year-old Palestinian Muhyee Sidqi al-Tibakhi, who was shot dead a day earlier in the village of al-Ram in the occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, as Palestinian officials accused Israeli forces of being behind the boy’s death.

On Tuesday, locals reported that clashes erupted after Israeli forces raided the town of al-Ram, during which Muhyee was killed.

Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesman Osama Najah told Ma’an on Wednesday that Muhye’s family had declined to conduct an autopsy, but that the young boy had been shot in the chest and head.

Wrapped in a Palestinian flag, Muhyee’s body was taken in an ambulance from the Palestine Medical Complex in the city of Ramallah to al-Ram on Wednesday, where a funeral procession was held.

Hundreds of young men carried Muhyee’s body to his family home, where family members and friends were able to pay their respects for the last time. Muhyee was then carried to one of al-Ram’s mosques for funeral prayers.

Mourners then marched to the neighborhood’s cemetery, where the young boy was laid to rest.

Speeches delivered during the funeral denounced Muhyee’s killing as an act done “in cold blood.”

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israeli police and border police denied using live fire during the clashes in which Muhyee was killed, claiming that his death may have been the result of a “local dispute.”
However, Najah, the Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesperson fully attributed Muhyee’s killing to Israeli forces.

“They cannot deny that they killed him,” Najah said. “It’s their responsibility.”

Najah added that at least 63 Palestinians under the age of 18 had been killed by Israelis since October, when a wave of unrest began across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. More than 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis and some 32 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during that time period.

Israeli forces have come under repeated criticism for excessive use of force, as well as lethal methods of crowd control that often result in death or injury of protesters.

Earlier on Wednesday, Palestinians buried 22-year-old Anwar Falah al-Salaymeh, who was also killed in al-Ram a week earlier when he and two friends driving in the area stumbled upon an ongoing Israeli army raid in the area.

At the time, the army said that forces shot at a “speeding vehicle heading towards them,” killing al-Salaymeh, although the other passengers in the car vehemently denied that they had been aware of presence of Israeli forces in the area and that they were heading to a bakery at the time of the shooting.

by Defense for Children International: Palestine

Ramallah, July 21, 2016—A 10-year-old Palestinian boy died from a sponge-tipped bullet to the chest fired by Israeli forces during a clash with youth in the central West Bank town of Al-Ram on Tuesday evening.

An eyewitness told Defense for Children International – Palestine that a paramilitary border police officer fired a sponge-tipped bullet directly at Muhyee al-Din Tabakhi, which struck him in the chest. According to Reuters, an Israeli police spokesperson said paramilitary border police officers used only tear gas and stun grenades after youth threw a petrol bomb.

Dr. Samir Saliba, director of the emergency department at the Ramallah Medical Complex, said a preliminary examination revealed that a projectile hit the left side of Tabakhi’s chest, causing internal bleeding, and ultimately heart failure.

“Israeli forces have repeatedly disregarded their regulations on the use of sponge-tipped bullets, and other crowd control weapons, without consequence,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP. “Investigations into these incidents remain rare and when carried out almost always end in findings of no wrongdoing.”

Tabakhi was the second child killed by sponge-tipped bullet. Mohammad Sunukrut, a 16-year-old from East Jerusalem died on September 7, 2014, one week after an Israeli border policeman shot the right side of his head with a black sponge-tipped bullet. The bullet caused a skull fracture and brain hemorrhage.

Although Israeli officials initially asserted that Sunukrut was shot on the leg, hitting his head afterward, an autopsy revealed that the sponge-tipped bullet struck his head and was the cause of death.

In May, Israeli internal investigators closed the case without charging the border police officer responsible.

Sponge-tipped bullets are one of several crowd control weapons Israeli police and soldiers use to disperse Palestinian protests. Composed of an aluminum base, plastic body and foam tip, sponge-tipped bullets are “significantly less dangerous than rubber-coated bullets,” but still pose danger when aimed at the upper body, according to a 2013 report by human rights group B’Tselem.

The report also states that an Israeli police procedure restricts their use to the lower body, a distance of 2-50 meters, and circumstances where “less harsh means” of dispersal have first been attempted.

Since October 2015, DCIP has documented 18 upper-body injuries among Palestinian children, including Tabakhi, across the Occupied Palestinian Territory due to Israeli forces’ improper use of crowd control weapons.

Tabakhi’s death raised the number of killed Palestinian children from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip to 26 in 2016, all except one at the hands of Israeli forces. Nineteen of them allegedly carried out knife, gun, or car ramming attacks.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported more than 598 Palestinian children across the Occupied Palestinian Territory have sustained injuries so far this year.
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