Know their names

Hundreds of Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2023.

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Basil Suleiman Abu al-Wafa wanted to go out and play with his friends. The 15-year-old from the occupied West Bank city of Jenin was described by his uncle as a simple child who was dedicated to his schoolwork and friends.

Also playing in the streets of Jenin was eight-year-old Adam Samer al-Ghoul.

On November 29, during a seven-day pause in fighting in Gaza, both of them were shot and killed by Israeli forces. Basil was shot in the chest and died in hospital, while Adam was shot in the head. Their killings were captured on video.

Basil and Adam are among at least 275 Palestinians, including 63 children, killed by Israeli forces or armed settlers in the occupied West Bank since the surprise Hamas attack on October 7.

In Gaza, Israeli air raids and artillery fire have also killed 18,000 people during this period, including at least 7,700 children.

Since the start of 2023, at least 483 Palestinians have been killed and more than 12,769 injured by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank.

Here are their names and some of their stories:

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Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarem deadliest for Palestinians

Israeli military vehicles move through a street in Jenin
Israeli military vehicles move through a street after a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on November 17, 2023 [Raneen Sawafta/Reuters]
Israeli military vehicles move through a street after a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on November 17, 2023 [Raneen Sawafta/Reuters]

The occupied West Bank is a kidney-shaped area on the west bank of the Jordan River. At its closest point, it is only about 34km (21 miles) from Gaza. However, Israel’s strict restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement mean that most of them are unable to travel between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Between 1993 and 1995, the first direct Palestinian-Israeli peace agreements were signed between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This led to the formation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) – an administrative body that would govern Palestinian internal security, administration and civilian affairs in areas of self-rule, for a five-year interim period.

On the ground, the occupied West Bank was divided into three areas – A, B and C.

INTERACTIVE Occupied West Bank Palestine Areas A B C-1694588444

Area A (18 percent) – Under Palestinian control: It initially comprised 3 percent of the West Bank, which grew to 18 percent by 1999. In Area A, the PA controls most affairs.

Area B (22 percent) – Under joint Israeli-Palestinian control: It represents about 22 percent of the West Bank. In both areas, while the PA is in charge of education, healthcare and the economy, the Israelis have full control of external security, meaning they retain the right to enter at any time.

Area C (60 percent) – Under Israeli control: It represents 60 percent of the West Bank. Under the Oslo Accords, control of this area, which includes most of Palestine's farmlands, was supposed to be handed over to the PA. Instead, Israel retains total control over all matters, including security, planning and construction. The transfer of control to the PA has never happened.

Despite all being in Area A, Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarem are all regularly subject to Israeli raids.

Since its 1967 occupation, the Israeli army has conducted more than 170,000 “search or arrest” incursions into Palestinian towns in the occupied West Bank and arrested some 800,000 Palestinians.

This year, Israeli forces have killed at least 137 people in Jenin, 88 in Nablus and 55 in Tulkarem so far.

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2023 already the deadliest year prior to October 7

A mother kisses her shrouded toddler, who is about to be buried
Muhammad al-Tamimi's mother, Marwa, bids him farewell at his funeral on June 6, 2023 [Ahmed Arouri/Al Jazeera]
Muhammad al-Tamimi's mother, Marwa, bids him farewell at his funeral on June 6, 2023 [Ahmed Arouri/Al Jazeera]

From January 1 to October 6, at least 208 people, including 42 children, were killed in the occupied West Bank, making 2023 the deadliest year on record.

Since October 7, as jets bombarded Gaza, the Israeli military ramped up its raids in the occupied West Bank.

This year alone accounts for a quarter of all Palestinian deaths over the past 20 years.

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More than 100 children killed in 2023

As of December 10, at least 106 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers in the occupied West Bank this year, reaching three times the number recorded in 2022.

The youngest of them was three-year-old Mohammed Haitham al-Tamimi who was shot in the head while he was in a car with his father outside their home in Ramallah.

Ayed Abu Eqtaish, the accountability programme director at Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), said in a statement: “Firing live ammunition indiscriminately in a residential neighbourhood where there is no threat to an Israeli soldier’s life is a clear violation of the Israeli military’s own policies.”

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[Al Jazeera]

What is it like living under Israeli occupation?

Israel’s military controls every aspect of Palestinian people's lives.

According to Human Rights Watch, Israel is “committing crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution” against the Palestinians.

Among these acts of violence are settler attacks, home demolitions and forced displacement.

Israeli settler attacks on the rise

According to the UN, Israeli settler violence in the occupied West Bank has increased in 2023 - from an average of three incidents a day to seven - since the Israel-Gaza war started on October 7. It added that in nearly half the cases, Israeli security forces “accompanied or actively supported” the attackers.


Israeli settlements are Jewish communities built on Palestinian land. Between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers live in at least 250 settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which bans an occupying power from transferring its population to the area it occupies.

Despite being outside the territory of Israel, these settlers are granted Israeli citizenship and receive government subsidies that significantly lower their cost of living. In contrast, Palestinians living in the West Bank are subject to Israeli military law.

Since 2009, the United Nations has documented at least 6,022 settler attacks, an average of one attack every day for the past 15 years.

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Home demolitions

Since its occupation of the West Bank began in 1967, Israel has forcibly evicted and displaced entire communities and demolished more than 50,000 Palestinian homes and structures, according to Amnesty International.

Over the past 10 years, 98 percent of all homes demolished by Israel were located in Area C (78 percent) and East Jerusalem (20 percent). The remaining 2 percent of demolished homes were in Palestinian-controlled areas A and B.

In stark contrast, the Israeli government has continued to approve the construction of new Israeli settlements.

In the early hours of July 22, 2023, hundreds of Israeli forces began destroying about 100 apartments, including the home of Ismael Obeida, who lived with his wife, six children and his parents.

They didn't just destroy my house, they destroyed my dreams, they destroyed a family and a life.

by Ismael Obeida told Al Jazeera

Watch Obeida's story:

Between 2009 and 2023, Israel destroyed more than 10,000 Palestinian structures, displacing at least 15,000 people, according to data compiled by OCHA. Demolished structures may be residential, livelihood-related, service-related or part of infrastructure.

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Source: Al Jazeera