The European Union (EU) and Britain have called for a swift investigation into the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old Palestinian girl at the hands of the Israeli military in the town of Beitunia near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
“Israel, as a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), must safeguard the rights of children, and ensure their protection, care and dignity, and right to life. This incident should be swiftly investigated and accountability ensured,” it said in a statement released on Tuesday.
The statement went on to note that at least 32 children have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the beginning of the current year, and in many instances excessive use of lethal force has apparently been used by Israeli troops.
The EU expressed its deepest condolences to the family of the Palestinian teenager.
The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the victim as 15-year-old Fulla Rasmi Abdelazeez Masalmeh.
“She was due to turn 16 on her birthday tomorrow. She was killed when occupation soldiers fired at her during a raid on Beitunia,” it said in a statement on Monday.
Palestinian officials initially wrongly identified the victim as 19-year-old teenager Sanaa al-Tal.
According to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, another Palestinian, 26-year-old Anas Hassouneh, was injured and arrested in the shooting.
Moreover, Britain asked Israeli authorities to launch a thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Masalmeh’s death.
It stressed that London continues to urge for self-restraint in the use of live ammunition by Israeli forces.
Israeli forces have recently been conducting overnight raids and killings in the northern occupied West Bank, mainly in the cities of Jenin and Nablus, where new groups of Palestinian resistance fighters have been formed.
Israel has killed 197 Palestinians since the start of 2022 in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, including 43 children.
According to the United Nations, the number of Palestinians killed by Israel in the occupied West Bank this year is the highest it has been in 16 years.
Local and international rights groups have condemned Israel’s excessive use of force and “shoot-to-kill policy” against Palestinians.