U.S. calls on Israel to investigate 7-year-old Palestinian boy's death
The Biden administration called on Israel to open an investigation into the death of a 7-year-old Palestinian boy in the occupied West Bank on Thursday after the Israeli military arrived at his house searching for his brothers.
The big picture: The death of the Rian Suleiman could further escalate tensions in the West Bank amid a deteriorating security situation in the Palestinian cities of Nablus and Jenin.
Driving the news: The incident took place Thursday when Israeli soldiers arrived at the boy’s house in the West Bank village of Teqoa near Bethlehem. They were looking for his 8- and 10-year-old brothers who allegedly threw stones at them.
- According to the boy’s family, Rian was frightened by the soldiers and the commotion that was created, and suffered a heart attack, collapsed and died.
- An IDF official told Axios that a preliminary investigation showed that the commander on the ground spoke to the boy’s father "on the doorstep."
- The IDF official claimed that “it was a calm conversation and no violence was used." He added that shortly after the conversation, the soldiers left and only afterward the boy collapsed.
What they're saying: “We are heartbroken by the reports of the death of an innocent child. We support an immediate and thorough investigation around the circumstances of his death," State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a briefing with reporters.
State of play: Four Palestinian gunmen were killed during an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday. It was one of the most serious incidents in the West Bank in recent months.
- State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday that the Biden administration is “deeply concerned by the deteriorating security situation in the West Bank."
- He said that since the beginning of 2022, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and more than 30 in Gaza, while more than 20 Israelis and other civilians have been killed in terrorist attacks.
- “We call on the parties themselves to contain the violence. The United States and other international partners stand ready to help but we cannot substitute for vital actions by the parties to mitigate conflict and to restore calm," Price said.
- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met this week with the heads of the security forces and the governors of Nablus and Jenin regions and stressed the need to make efforts to uphold the rule of law.