Second US self-immolation protest against Israel’s Gaza carnage

Americas Mid-East

A serving US Air Force soldier has become the second person in the US in recent weeks to set himself on fire in protest against Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of Gaza.

Aaron Bushnell, a cyber-defence operations specialist with the 531st Intelligence Support Squadron, filmed himself as he walked to the Israeli embassy in Washington DC telling viewers on Twitch he would “no longer be complicit in genocide”.

As he prepared to douse himself in gasoline, he explained he was “about to engage in an extreme act of protest,” but “compared to what people in Gaza are experiencing at the moment, it’s not extreme at all”. He then shouted “Free Palestine” after igniting himself.

The 25-year-old Texan airman later died in hospital from his injuries.

In December, an unidentified protester carrying a Palestinian flag self-immolated at the Israeli consulate in the US state of Georgia, injuring a security guard who attempted to intervene.

Israel has ignored the world’s calls to stop massacring women and children in Gaza, where it has been dropping 2,000lb US-made bombs from US planes into refugee camps and areas it previously deemed ‘safe zones’, for the past five months.

At least 30,000 Gazans have died as a consequence and 70,000 more people have been injured. It is feared many more thousands could now die after Israel prohibited international food aid from reaching Gaza, creating a catastrophic man-made famine.

There are daily reports of Israeli soldiers firing on starving Gazans as they attempt to board aid trucks, and of medical workers being shot by the IDF as they arrive to take critically injured people away.

Israel’s latest aggression began against Palestinians when the armed wing of Hamas mounted a military operation on October 7 to abduct Israeli soldiers to swap for prisoners Israel was holding.

Several other armed groups and Palestinian civilians then took advantage of the breach in Israel’s illegal security fence to create havoc in Israel, before being pushed back into Gaza later that day by the IDF.

Mainstream news channels said 1,400 then 1,200 Israelis were killed by Hamas that day, but Israel has confirmed 1,139 of its citizens were killed.

The IDF will not say how many died after it fired barrages of Hellfire missiles from Apache helicopters and shells from tanks into crowds and residential neighborhoods inside Israel on the day.

The state’s far-right government placed a land, sea, and air siege on Gaza over 15 years ago and controls all of its borders, maintaining an iron grip on what can come in and go out.

As of today, Israel is holding around 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, of which several hundred are being held in administrative detention, without the right to a trial.

Hamas continues to hold around 100 Israeli hostages in Gaza and has suggested a prisoner swap for them, which Israeli leaders have rejected.