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Did the IDF Cause a seven-year-old Palestinian Boy to Die of Fright?



The media worldwide have been carrying a story about a seven-year-old Palestinian boy who supposedly “died of fright” after having been chased by IDF soldiers. The American State Department has called for a “thorough and immediate investigation.” The Biden Administration declared itself “heartbroken” to hear of the “death of an innocent child.” A report on this libel, and on the real cause of his death, is reported on here: “Media Print Viral Libel That Palestinian Boy ‘Died of Fear’ After Being ‘Chased’ by IDF,” by Akiva Van Koningsveld, Honest Reporting, October 2, 2022:

The September 29 death of Rayan Suleiman, a 7-year-old Palestinian child who died under unknown circumstances following Israeli military activity in the West Bank town of Teqoa, has dominated international headlines in recent days. Responding to unsubstantiated Palestinian accusations that IDF soldiers “chased the boy to death,” US State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel has called for a “thorough and immediate investigation,” adding that the Biden Administration was “heartbroken to learn of the death of an innocent Palestinian child.”

After Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Mahmoud Abbas expressed the wish, “may Allah damn them [Israel], may Allah take them…and may Allah help us get rid of them very soon,” the European Union on Friday [Sept. 30] demanded that Israeli authorities “bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The European Union assumed that the story concocted by the Palestinians was true; that the IDF had effectively “murdered” little Rayan Suleiman by chasing after him. There is every reason to believe that this story is false. The original testimony of the boy’s father was that his son had “fallen” from the balcony of his house. But the world’s media have paid no attention to the earlier claim by the father.

Meanwhile, the story went viral on social media, with Rayan’s name mentioned in more than 65,000 tweets posted over the weekend, including thousands of messages that falsely charged the IDF with “murder.”

The Israel Defense Forces goes to great lengths to avoid harming civilians during its counterterrorism operations, and every innocent casualty is a tragedy. Yet the media, in their apparent quest to promote a “blame Israel first” narrative, have failed to uphold their professional obligation to scrutinize the facts.

Indeed, the Palestinian account of the events in Teqoa contains notable discrepancies which cast serious doubt on the accusations against the Jewish state.

According to Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, a “senior officer” visited the Suleiman home after boys from Teqoa were seen throwing stones toward cars driving on a highway near a neighboring Jewish community. Video footage posted to TikTok by pro-Palestinian accounts shows a young boy alleged to be Rayan Suleiman hurling objects with a slingshot in what is described as a “confrontation with the enemy.”

One of the stone-throwers was spotted on the house’s balcony, and the IDF officer reportedly arrived to urge Yaser Suleiman to make his children stop throwing rocks. Hecht said the official spoke in a “very calm manner” before going on his way.

There was no violence, no entry into the house,” he told local media while stating that Jerusalem ordered an ongoing probe into the matter. A security source cited by TPS added that there is “no connection” between the military operation in Tekoa and Rayan’s death, crucially noting that the boy passed away after the army had already left.

There was no scary “entry” into the Suleiman house by IDF soldiers, as the Palestinians have now been claiming; in fact, there was no entry at all. An IDF officer spoke to the father outside, in “a very calm manner,” urging him to tell his children to stop throwing rocks. That was it. The soldier left, and so did the entire contingent of IDF soldiers who had been in the area. That is, they were not even present to “run after” Rayan Suleiman. The IDF had left the area before Rayan died.

Nevertheless, in a September 30 piece titled ‘Palestinians mourn boy who died ‘of fear’ of Israeli troops,’ the Associated Press (AP) echoed claims by Yaser Suleiman that his son “died of fear on the spot” when soldiers “burst into the home.” Here is the revised version of events, according to the AP:

Rayan Suleiman, with bright eyes and a backpack emblazoned with an animated race car, was walking home from school on Thursday when his family says he and his brothers were chased by Israeli soldiers. After the boys bolted home, the troops banged furiously on the door and threatened to arrest the children, their parents say. Just moments later, Rayan, the youngest of the three brothers, was dead.”

The Reuters wire service likewise parrotted the family’s narrative that the 7-year-old, who they said did not have any preexisting health conditions, “died of heart failure while being chased by Israeli soldiers.”

However, Suleiman’s testimony can hardly be given credence, and would likely not hold up in any court of law. Just hours after the incident, Arab journalists quoted Yaser Suleiman as saying that Rayan did not die of a sudden cardiac arrest, but was rather “martyred” following a fall from the balcony of the house.

This is the most important part of the story, that was left out of almost all of the accounts published or broadcast around the world. It was Rayan’s own father, Yaser Suleiman, who was quoted by Arab journalists as saying that his son died – was “martyred” – “following a fall from the balcony of the house.”

In their initial comments, the Beit Jala Hospital — as well as the Palestinian Authority-controlled Ministry of Health — also mentioned a “fall,” although they later changed their story to match the family’s new claim. For their part, schools in the West Bank on Saturday circulated a poster produced by the PA Ministry of Education that listed the boy’s cause of death as “falling from a height.

The father’s initial claim that Rayan had died from a fall was also reported by both Beit Jala Hospital, where Rayan’s body had been taken, and by the P.A. Ministry of Health. Posters produced about Rayan by the PA Ministry of Education repeated the same claim, listing Rayan’s cause of death as “falling from a height.” It should. be clear that this story about Rayan’s death must be the true one, coming as it did from the father himself, and from the doctors at the hospital where Rayan’s body was taken to be examined. Bruises from a fall would have been evident.

At some point, the PA decided to change the true account, of Rayan’s fall from a balcony, to one about his being frightened to death while running away from an IDF soldier in hot and cruel pursuit. To believe that, you would have to ignore what the boy’s own father originally said, what the Beit Jala Hospital claimed, what the PA Ministry of Health insisted, and what the PA Ministry of Education repeated.

This inconsistency was almost entirely erased from the mainstream media coverage.

Rayan Suleiman’s sudden death is obviously a tragedy for his family. But as Ramallah has yet to release the official autopsy report, it is impossible for news organizations, or anyone else for that matter, to state with certainty how he died. The prevailing media narrative, however, is seemingly based on mere conjecture….

We know what the official autopsy report from the PA will say. It will confirm the “second narrative,” according to which Rayan Suleiman died of fright. No evidence of bruises will have been found. And no one will ask the PA to explain why the father initially reported that his son had died in a fall, or why the hospital, and the PA Ministry of Health, and the PA Ministry of Education, all confirmed that explanation.

How likely is it that The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Guardian, the BBC, Agence France-Presse, or Deutsche Welle, will point out that Rayan Suleiman’s father had said his son had died in a fall, and that this story was repeatedly confirmed by other Palestinian sources, including the doctors at the Beit Jala hospital where Rayan’s body was examined, who must have seen the bruises on his body? How many will note that the story suddenly changed to one of claiming that the seven-year-old died of fright as he was supposedly chased by an IDF soldier? How many of those news sources will bother to note that no IDF soldiers ever entered the Suleiman family’s house, as the father claimed only in his second version of events, and that the IDF soldiers were no longer in the area when Rayan Suleiman died?

Almost certainly, everyone in the mainstream media will dutifully continue to parrot the second version of events, the one that blackens the image of the IDF, for running after a seven-year-old boy, and scaring him to death. No need to mention what Rayan’s father first announced, and the PA repeatedly confirmed, until the “new and revised” version of events was concocted by the PA propagandists and presented to the world. That first version would only confuse people, by exculpating the IDF. And that, of course, would never do.