US guns are being aimed at Palestinian kids. Washington can take them away

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A Palestinian boy walks near Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron, on the first Friday of the Muslim month of Ramadan. July 04, 2014. (photo Nati Shohat / Flash90)
The impunity enjoyed by Israeli soldiers has fostered an increasingly trigger-prone policy against Palestinian children. Americans have ways to prevent it.

By Brad Parker  |  +972 Magazine  |  Dec 28, 2020

In analyzing these incidents, we discovered an alarming trend that began in 2014, in which Israeli forces have increasingly targeted Palestinian children with live ammunition to quash protests.

Earlier this month, an Israeli soldier shot and killed Ali Abu Aliya in the village of al-Mughayyer in the occupied West Bank, during a protest against an Israeli settlement outpost that was recently established on the village’s land. According to an investigation by Defense for Children International – Palestine, Ali was about 50 meters away from Israeli forces and did not present any threat when he was shot. He was struck in the abdomen with live ammunition and died shortly after in a Ramallah hospital. It was his 15th birthday.

Ali’s killing is disturbing, but not exceptional. Since I began working with DCI-Palestine in January 2013, we have documented 155 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces with live ammunition or crowd-control weapons. Another 570 Palestinian children have been killed in Israeli military offensives and other attacks, according to our documentation. Growing up in a hyper-militarized context, including going about daily life near Israeli settlements and barriers, Palestinian children like Ali easily become targets.

In analyzing these incidents, we discovered an alarming trend that began in 2014, in which Israeli forces have increasingly targeted Palestinian children with live ammunition to quash protests. Over the two years prior, according to UNICEF, Israeli forces injured at least 106 Palestinian children with live ammunition; in 2014, that figure spiked to at least 260 injuries.

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