2016 was ‘deadliest year’ for West Bank children in a decade, NGO says

Israeli forces killed 32 civilians under the age of 18 mostly during raids or protests

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The Independent Online

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) killed 32 children in the past year as a result of violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem, human rights group Defence for Children International (DCI) has said.

A new report from the organisation found 2016 was the deadliest year on record in the last decade, with 32 Palestinian minors killed during raids and confrontations with the army. 

An upswing in violence in Jerusalem in particular since October 2015 - including stabbings and shootings - has killed 36 Israelis.

More than 150 Palestinians have been fatally shot in cases where non-lethal force was not necessary in the same time period, Human Rights Watch (HRW) noted.

Of the Palestinian dead, 19 people were aged 16 - 17, and 13 more were 13 - 15, DCI said. 

“Israeli soldiers employ a shoot-to-kill policy... the fact they can do so with impunity and no consequences builds the foundation for such shootings to take place,” Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Programme Director at DCI Palestine, told Al Jazeera.

The IDF did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

According to DCI, 28 Palestinian civilians under 18 were killed in 2015, 13 in 2014, and four in 2013. 

Only one manslaughter investigation into the death of an unarmed 17-year-old boy at a protest has been opened in the last three years. The trial is still in progress. 

2016’s high death toll has been due to the increased tensions in Jerusalem, the organisation said.