Forty-one Palestinian children from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have been killed by Israeli fire since the latest period of violence started in October, Defense for Children International - Palestine said on Thursday.
All but one of those children were killed at the hands of Israeli forces who seem to be implementing a "shoot-to-kill" policy, which in some cases may amount to extrajudicial killings, the rights group said.
One such incident took place on February 26, when Israeli soldiers shot dead Mahmoud Mohammad Shaalan, a 16-year-old who held US citizenship, as he allegedly attempted to stab them at a military checkpoint near Beit El settlement, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah.
An eyewitness told the rights group that he saw the teenager approach the soldiers and he did not appear to be carrying a weapon in his hands.
He then heard three gunshots and decided to turn his car around, at which point he saw a soldier fire two shots at Mahmoud while he was already on the ground.
A doctor at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah confirmed that Mahmoud sustained three gunshot wounds to the chest and two to the hand.
International law requires that intentional lethal force be used only when absolutely unavoidable.
In January, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom called for an investigation to determine if Israeli forces are guilty of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians.
"It is vital that there are thorough, credible investigations into these deaths in order to clarify and bring about possible accountability," Wallstrom told Swedish MPs during a parliamentary debate.
Israel responded by announcing that the minister was not welcome in the country.
At least 184 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since October, while Palestinian attacked have killed 28 Israelis during the same period.
Israel blames Palestinians for fanning violence and incitement.Palestinians say the current conflict is rooted in frustrations stemming from nearly five decades of Israeli occupation and the complete lack of progress in peace efforts.