Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager as he allegedly attempted to stab a border police officer at a checkpoint near Bethlehem, on the eve of US President Donald Trump’s visit to the city on Tuesday.
The child was identified by the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency as 15-year-old Raed Ahmad Rdaydeh from the town of al-Ubeidiya, located six kilometres east of the city.
According to Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), the boy is one of at least eight Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces or settlers so far this year.
Israeli news sites did not mention the child by name, but reported that the teenager was shot and killed at a checkpoint northeast of Bethlehem late on Monday.
Speaking to Al Jazeera by telephone, Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld confirmed the incident saying that the teen, whose name he did not confirm, was “neutralised”.
On Tuesday morning, Trump arrived in Bethlehem to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas amid soaring tensions over a 37-day mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners jailed by Israel.
Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability programme director at DCIP, said that Trump’s visit to Bethlehem will not yield anything positive for Palestinians unless the US president urges Israel “to abide by international law”.
“Every day, there are violations against the Palestinian rights,” said Abu Eqtaish. “What’s important here is that the Americans and the UN could pressure [Israel] to change its behaviour.”
رائد احمد ردايدة "١٥ عاما " من بلدة العبيدية، شمال بيت لحم، والذي استشهد عند حاجز "الكنتينر" امس ،بعد زعم الاحتلال محاولته تنفيذ عملية طعن . pic.twitter.com/2CbmAEbT88
— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) May 23, 2017
(Translation of @PalinforAr tweet: “Raed Ahmad Rdaydeh,15 years old, from the town of al-Ubeidiya – north of Bethlehem, was martyred by the occupation at the ‘container’ checkpoint yesterday after the occupation claimed he tried to carry out a stabbing operation”)
On Monday, more than 20 Palestinians were injured in the West Bank during clashes with Israeli forces as they protested in solidarity with the hunger-striking prisoners, while Israeli soldiers reportedly shot and injured a Palestinian in the blockaded Gaza Strip amid protests on the border.
As Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials on Monday, Palestinian businesses were closed as part of a general strike in solidarity with the prisoners throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Palestinian media outlets estimate that 1,300 inmates are fasting in protest of poor prison conditions, while Israeli outlets place the number in the high hundreds.
Palestinian activists have called for a “Day of Rage” to coincide with Trump’s visit.
Alaa Tartir, programme director at Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, said Israeli authorities had hoped to break to the hunger strike before the US president’s visit.
“One of Israel’s priorities now … is to end this hunger strike and squash solidarity with the hunger strikers in the streets of the occupied West Bank,” he told Al Jazeera.
The most recent round of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority collapsed in 2014, and Israeli officials have continued to greenlight the expansion of Jewish-only settlements throughout the West Bank, chipping away at the territory that could potentially make up a Palestinian state.
More than 500,000 Israelis live in settlements, which are considered illegal under international law, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Follow Patrick Strickland on Twitter: @P_Strickland_