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Fact Check: Was Aaron Bushnell’s Self-Immolation Celebrated by Mossad?

Credits: Newsweek

The self-immolation of Aaron Bushnell, an active duty U.S. Air Force member, outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., has drawn significant global attention, largely due to the politically charged nature of his act and the message he conveyed by declaring “Free Palestine” as he set himself on fire.

The incident, captured on video, shows Bushnell, 25, approaching the embassy driveway, placing his phone on the ground, and then pouring an unknown liquid over himself before igniting it.

Throughout the act, he repeatedly shouted “Free Palestine,” a slogan commonly associated with the Palestinian struggle for statehood and against Israeli occupation.

In the aftermath of the incident, social media users pointed to posts from an account purporting to belong to the Israeli security service Mossad, which seemed to mock Bushnell’s actions.

Aaron Bushnell (Credits: Newsweek)

One post, shared by rapper Lowkey on X (formerly Twitter) on February 26, 2024, featured a screenshot from an account named “Mossad Commentary” with the message “Our enemies kill themselves.” Lowkey’s post criticized the account for its apparent insensitivity toward Bushnell’s death.

The incident has sparked discussions about the circumstances that led Bushnell, an active duty member of the U.S. military, to take such drastic action and the underlying issues he sought to highlight.

The use of self-immolation as a form of protest has a long and tragic history, often employed by individuals seeking to draw attention to political grievances or injustices.

Bushnell’s choice of location, outside the Israeli Embassy, adds another layer of complexity to the incident. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a deeply contentious and longstanding issue, marked by decades of violence, political stalemate, and competing claims to land and sovereignty.

The declaration of “Free Palestine” while setting himself on fire can be seen as a symbolic act of solidarity with the Palestinian cause, a plea for justice, or a desperate cry for attention to the plight of Palestinians living under occupation.

The response to Bushnell’s actions has been mixed. While some have praised his courage and commitment to a cause he believed in, others have questioned the effectiveness and wisdom of such a drastic form of protest.

The alleged mocking response from the Mossad-affiliated account has added fuel to the debate, with many condemning the perceived lack of empathy and respect for human life.

As investigations into the incident continue, questions remain about the broader implications of Bushnell’s act and its impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Whether his message will spark meaningful dialogue or further deepen divisions remains to be seen. In the meantime, his tragic death serves as a stark reminder of the complexities and challenges inherent in the pursuit of peace and justice in the region.

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