Rayan Suleiman, a seven-year-old Palestinian, died yesterday after his heart stopped. He literally died from fear while being chased by armed Israeli occupation forces. He was a second-grader from the Tuqu village near Bethlehem in the West Bank.
Today’s funeral was attended by hundreds, including many of Rayan’s classmates. Following the funeral, attendees blocked a road frequented by illegal Zionist settlers, confronted the military, and destroyed one of the surveillance cameras installed by the Israeli occupation. These acts of righteous anger towards the occupation express the rage and sorrow Palestinians feel about the constant attacks on their children by the Israeli army.
Occupation forces raid Palestinian houses on an almost daily basis. At checkpoints they harass and arrest children on their way to school. They tear gas schools and neighborhoods, and kill and arrest Palestinians with impunity. Children growing up in Occupied Palestine are scarred by these traumas.
According to the Defense for Children International, at least 2,200 children have been killed by the Israeli occupation forces and Israeli settlers across the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 2000. Just last August, according to the Palestinian health ministry, 15 children were killed during the thee-day Israeli attacks on Gaza.
The offensive from the occupation forces continues to escalate. On Wednesday, four Palestinians were killed and forty-four wounded during a military raid in Jenin. It was the deadliest attack since Israel launched its crackdown earlier this year in Gaza.
The occupation must end immediately.