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Palestinians in West Bank Name Street After U.S. Airman Who Self-Immolated Outside Israel Embassy D.C.

Aaron Bushnell. Reuters
Aaron Bushnell. Reuters

Palestinian officials in the city of Jericho in Judea and Samaria announced on Facebook Tuesday that they named a street after Aaron Bushnell, the United States Air Force serviceman who set himself on fire while yelling out for Palestine. The municipality posted on Facebook in Arabic that an American pilot named Aaron Bushnell had a street named after him in Jericho. This action, according to the Palestinian officials, was taken as an act of "solidarity" with Palestine and as a rejection of the support provided by his country to Israel.

According to the U.K. Guardian, Mayor Abdul Karim Sidr said the following to a crowd of Palestinians at the opening: "We didn't know him, and he didn't know us. There were no social, economic, or political ties between us. What we share is a love for freedom and a desire to stand against these attacks [on Gaza] … [Bushnell] wanted to light a strong spark, to reignite our cause."

Aaron Bushnell Street is in the southern section of Jericho City. It intersects with Mahmoud Darwish Street.

"It is disturbing that Palestinian officials continue to honor and praise those who kill themselves in their cause - from suicide bombers to self-styled martyrs," said Gabriel Noronha, former special advisor for the Iran Action Group at the U.S. State Department under the Trump administration. "There is a culture that celebrates death instead of a life that is incompatible with peaceful co-existence," he told The Foreign Desk.

Amani Rayan, a city council member originally from Gaza, expressed to the Guardian that regardless of personal beliefs, Bushnell sacrificed immensely by giving up his privileges for the children of Gaza, which she regarded as the most precious thing. Last month, Bushnell, 25, deliberately ignited himself outside the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C.

Following the October 7 massacre by terrorist group Hamas against the Jewish state of Israel, U.S. officials and academics in Washington, D.C., have proposed the idea of having the Palestinian Authority (P.A.), under the leadership of P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, take over the Gaza Strip once Israel finishes Hamas and its leadership. Since the conflict began, officials from the P.A. have condemned Israel for its military operations against Hamas, blaming the Jewish state for October 7.

According to reports, P.A. officials have met with Hamas officials to possibly create a unity government that would govern both Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

"American officials should take a lesson from the P.A.'s veneration of Aaron Bushnell and its shabby appropriation of his death," explained Shoshana Bryen, senior director of The Jewish Policy Center and Editor of inFOCUS Quarterly. "Mayor Sidr was likely correct about one thing - Bushnell did NOT know Palestine. The American government, however, does know that Palestinian aspirations are not for a state neighboring Israel, which they could have had long ago, but for a state in place of Israel," she added.

Before lighting himself on fire, Bushnell said that he could "no longer be complicit in genocide."

"I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest but compared to what people in Palestine have been experiencing at the hands of their colonizers, it's not extreme at all," he added. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Bushnell had posted numerous radical messages concerning Israel.

Bushnell stated on Reddit on Feb. 3 that Israel functions as a white supremacist, ethno-nationalist, settler-colonial apartheid state and lacks legitimacy in its existence.

Following the self-immolation of an American airman, it has been reported that Hamas attributed responsibility for the death to the Biden administration. They claimed that the administration's support for Israel contributed to what they referred to as a "genocide war" against Palestinians. Hamas praised Bushnell, calling him a hero and symbol of global solidarity with their cause.

On X, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, voiced his support for the deceased serviceman. He wrote on his X account, "The West's disgraceful antihuman policies with regard to the genocide in Gaza have reached such a point that a U.S. military officer sets himself on fire." Khamenei used the hashtag #AaronBushnell in his post.

"A more fitting memorial to Bushnell would have the U.S. government end its support of the P.A. and its terror-worshipping, terror-sponsoring, and terror-financing operations and pave the way for Palestinian-Israeli co-existence and cooperation," Bryen told The Foreign Desk.

Related Story: Hamas, Iran’s Regime, and U.S. Leftists Praise Airman’s Self-Immolation at Israeli Embassy

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