Man Who Died After Self-Immolation At Israeli Embassy Put Palestinian Fund In Will: Reports

The U.S. airman who died after setting himself on fire Sunday in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C., wrote a will allocating money to go to a Palestinian aid fund, according to news reports.

Aaron Bushnell, a 25-year-old member of the Air Force, specified in his will that he wanted his savings donated to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, a nonprofit that has been delivering lifesaving medical relief and humanitarian aid to Gaza, The New Yorker and NPR reported.

Bushnell set himself on fire while wearing his military uniform as a protest against U.S. support for Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza, which has so far killed more than 29,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials.

He live-streamed his self-immolation and could be heard in the video screaming “Free Palestine!” as the flames engulfed him.

“I am an active-duty member of the United States Air Force, and I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” Bushnell said in the video, moments before igniting the fire.

He continued: “I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest. But compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it’s not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal.”

Bushnell was the second person known to self-immolate as an act of protest against the military offensive in Gaza, which began on Oct. 7, after the Gaza-based militant group Hamas launched an attack on Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking hundreds hostage. Israel fired back, launching strikes that have continued for more than four months.

South Africa has accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza in a case it brought before the International Court of Justice in The Netherlands. More than 80% of Gaza’s population has been displaced, thousands have been killed and lifesaving humanitarian aid has been blocked.

The U.S. has also faced backlash from American citizens and human rights groups over the financial, military and diplomatic support it has provided for Israel’s offensive. Several nations have voted for a United Nations resolution calling for a cease-fire, which the U.S. has repeatedly blocked.

President Joe Biden said this week that he hopes a cease-fire will happen by next week. The U.S. was the only country to veto a call for a cease-fire in December.