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11 Mar, 2024 09:49

Palestinian city honors US airman who set himself on fire

Jericho has named a street after Aaron Bushnell, who local officials said had “sacrificed everything” for their cause    
Palestinian city honors US airman who set himself on fire

The Palestinian city of Jericho has named a street after Aaron Bushnell, the US Air Force member who died after setting himself on fire to protest Israel’s “genocide” in Gaza, The Guardian has reported.  

Bushnell set himself alight outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington on February 25, declaring he would “no longer be complicit to genocide.” The 25-year-old airman livestreamed the incident, and was heard screaming “free Palestine” as he burned. Law enforcement officials put out the flames, but Bushnell died in hospital several hours later.  

At a ceremony unveiling the street sign in Jericho, Mayor Abdul Karim Sidr stated that the former airman had “sacrificed everything” for Palestinians, The Guardian reported.   

“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],” the official reportedly told a group of people gathered on Aaron Bushnell Road.  

Jericho, a historic site in the West Bank, is often seen as the gate to Palestine and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on Earth.  

The city has also named a square in honor of South Africa, after its government’s legal action accusing Israel of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), according to the article.   

Pretoria has accused Israel of committing “systematic” acts of genocide in Gaza. The ICJ, which has yet to issue a final ruling, said in January that the Jewish state must take steps to prevent genocide and improve humanitarian conditions for Gaza’s civilians.  

“These names will focus attention of both the locals and visitors,” the mayor of Jericho was quoted as saying, adding that they were following a precedent set after the death of activist Rachel Corrie. A street in Ramallah was named after the American activist, who was killed by the Israeli army in 2003 after being run over by a bulldozer while trying to prevent the military from destroying homes in Gaza.   

Anti-Israel demonstrations have been held in major cities around the world after the Jewish state began its strikes on Gaza, in response to the surprise Hamas attack on October 7 which killed around 1,200 people and saw more than 200 taken hostage.   

Israel has declared war on the Palestinian militant group, insisting on its goal to completely “eliminate” Hamas in Gaza. More than 31,000 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

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