The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied
Ali Muhammad Jawarish, eight years old, from the Aida Refugee Camp,
died on November 15, 1997, of a rubber bullet wound to the head
suffered on November 11, 1997. [His parents donated his organs for
transplant. - ed.]
B'Tselem's investigation of this incident once again exposes the
Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) policy of indifference towards
• About 30 children, between 8-12 years old, threw stones at
soldiers in the area of Rachel's Tomb. Another five to six soldiers
arrived at the scene. They detained three children, while the rest
• One of these soldiers knelt down and aimed in the direction
of the fleeing children. At this point, no stones were being thrown
at the soldiers. The soldier fired one shot, apparently a rubber
bullet, from a range of 15-20 meters. The
bullet struck Ali Jawarish in the forehead.
• Following the shooting, the soldiers left the scene without
assisting Ali Jawarish. He was taken to hospital in a private car.
He died four days later [in Hadassah Hospital, which had originally
refused to accept him].
The open-fire regulations concerning rubber bullets prohibit their
use at a range closer than 40 meters. These regulations also
explicitly prohibit shooting rubber bullets at children.
This is not the first time that Israeli security forces have shot
and killed Palestinian children, with no justification:
• In the past 10 years, 275 Palestinian children under 16
have been killed; of these, 69 were children under the age of
• Since the signing of the Declaration of Principles between
Israel and the Palestinian Authority in September 1993, 38 children
under the age of 16 have been killed; of these, 5 were under 12
• Since the beginning of the Intifada in December 1987, at
least 50 Palestinians have been killed by rubber bullets; of these,
25 were children under the age of 16.
B'Tselem determines that the problem is not in the disregard of
orders; rather, the orders themselves are problematic.
B'Tselem has warned in the past, and again warns today, that the
open-fire regulations according to which the security forces
operate in the occupied territories, endanger the lives of innocent
people in general, and children in particular.
B'Tselem has called in the past, and calls again, to prohibit the
use of lethal means, including rubber and plastic bullets, to
B'Tselem calls on the IDF to end the excessive tolerance it
displays towards soldiers who derogate from orders and injure
Palestinians. In this case, the IDF must bring charges against the
soldier and, if found guilty, punish him to the full extent of the