The United States called on Israel to open an investigation into the death of a seven-year-old Palestinian child in the West Bank on Thursday.
“We are heartbroken by the death of an innocent child. We support an immediate and thorough investigation,” US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a press briefing.
According to the child’s uncle, Rian Suleiman died during Israeli army activity in a West Bank town. He was frightened and “suffered a heart attack” when soldiers came to arrest his brothers in his family’s home in the Palestinian town of Teqoa, near Bethlehem.
Israel’s army said it was investigating the case, and that “the claims about the minor’s death are known. An initial investigation found no connection between his death and the activity of soldiers in the area.”
A day prior on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden’s administration expressed its concern over the increasingly lethal security situation in the West Bank.
Ned Price, the US State Department spokesman, said Washington was “deeply concerned” by the over 100 Palestinians killed in the West Bank since the beginning of the year.
“We call on all parties to do everything in their power to de-escalate the situation and return to a period of calm. This is in the interest of all Israelis and Palestinians. As we have said for some time, we call on the parties themselves to contain the violence.”
At the United Nations Security Council’s monthly session on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield denounced actions by both Israel and the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority in the region.
“We are troubled by the overall trend of growing violence,” she said.
Also on Wednesday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stressed to his Israeli counterpart Eyal Hulata “the need to take steps to de-escalate tensions… and improve the lives of Palestinians.”