Baraa Ahmad Al-Qerem

BaraaAugust 6, 2023: Baraa Ahmad Al-Qerem, 16, was killed in an extrajudicial execution (assassination) in which Israeli forces killed three Palestinians dead, including a child, when their vehicle was targeted in Jenin, north of the West Bank.

According to information collected by a fieldworker from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, at around 17:15 on Sunday, 06 August 2023, an Israeli Special Military Force sneaked via a Volkswagen Caddy car and a Hyundai Santa Fe SUV with Palestinian registration plates into a road connecting Bir al-Basha village with Arraba village near ‘Arraba Intersection in Jenin.

Suddenly, the two vehicles intercepted a grey Peugeot vehicle with a yellow Israeli registration plate and many Israeli soldiers stepped out of their vehicles and heavily opened fire at the targeted vehicle from behind, forcing it to stop completely. Minutes later, backup Israeli forces arrived at the scene and completely closed the road from both directions, blocking the traffic. Afterwards, the Israeli soldiers fired teargas canisters in the area, and after 15 minutes, Israeli forces started withdrawing from the area and towed the targeted vehicle that was hit by many bullets with the targeted persons still inside.

After Israeli forces withdrew, many Palestinians gathered at the scene and saw blood and brain tissue scattered on the ground. Later, the Israeli military released the names of the three Palestinians they had executed: Nayef Jihad Nayef Abu Sweiss (27), Khaleel Nizar Nemer Abu Na’asah (21), both from Jenin refugee camp and members of Jenin Brigade, and Baraa Ahmad Al-Qerem (16), from Jalkamous village, south of Jenin. The Israeli military held on to the bodies and refused to release them to their families.

Later, Israeli forces announced, in a joint statement by the Israeli forces, the Shin Bet, and the Israel Border Police, that a joint operation was carried out after spotting a “terrorist cell” in a car in Jenin refugee camp, claiming (without providing evidence) that they were on their way to carry out a shooting attack. The statement added that the head of the cell, Nayef Abu Sweiss was killed as well as two persons accompanying him.

It is noteworthy that extrajudicial killings are carried out pursuant to Israeli forces’s intelligence, and those on the Israeli militarys ‘wanted’ list are killed instantly rather than being arrested. By this, Israeli forces act as both judge and executioner of a death sentence at the same time. Palestinian civilians often pay the price of such crimes, which are committed by Israeli forces without regard for nontarget civilians’ lives.

According to PCHR’s documentation, at least 1000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli forces’s assassination crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the last two decades, 80% of them have been nontarget civilians and 15% were children.

PCHR indicates that that Israeli forces has perpetuated this pattern of crimes in the recent years against the Palestinians in light of international community’s silence and inaction, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to stop these crimes and take effective measures against the Israeli occupation, thereby encouraging the latter to commit further war crimes against the Palestinians.

PCHR reiterates its call on the international community to take an immediate action to stop the Israeli crimes and double standard when applying the international law and particularly urges the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take serious action in the situation of Palestine.

PCHR demands the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention fulfil their obligations as per Common Article 1 of the Convention, “undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances,” and their obligations under Article 146 of the same Conventions, i.e., to hold accountable persons accused of committing grave breaches of the Convention.

Baraa was from Jalkamous village, south of Jenin, in the northern West Bank. Source: PCHR, IMEMC