Father of American Teen Killed in West Bank Slams U.S. Support of Israel

The father of a 17-year-old American killed by Israeli violence in the West Bank spoke out against U.S. military and financial support of Israel on Saturday. Family and other mourners filled the streets of their small Palestinian village as they gathered for the teen’s funeral, the Associated Press reported.

“They are killer machines,” Hafez Ajaq told the crowd at the funeral, speaking of the Israeli forces whose bullets took his son’s life. “They are using our tax dollars in the U.S. to support the weapons to kill our own children.”

Louisiana native Tawfiq Ajaq was fatally shot on Friday in a village field, with bullet wounds to the head and chest. A relative who rushed to the scene said that Israeli forces detained him and other Palestinians who attempted to help the young Ajaq, asking for IDs and delaying their response to young man. The teenager died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

His father beseeched Americans to “see with their own eyes” the depth of the violence in the West Bank, where Ajaq was one of nearly 370 Palestinians to be killed by Israeli fire since the start of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza in October.

“The American society does not know the true story,” he said. “How many fathers and mothers have to say goodbye to their children? How many more?”

Ajaq, a native of Louisiana, came with his family to their ancestral village of Al-Mazra’a Ash-Sharqiya, where his parents hoped to connect him and his siblings to Palestinian culture. On Saturday, crowds of mourners solemnly marched through the streets in Ajaq’s memory. His body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag.

Israeli police said they were investigating the shooting, but speedy results are rare for Palestinians struck by Israeli fire, as are indictments of perpetrators.

The Biden administration has repeatedly expressed concern over growing violence in the West Bank, where Israel has for years maintained settlements widely seen as violations of international law. After the brutal Hamas attack on Oct. 7, Israel began arming West Bank settlers as it besieged the Gaza Strip.

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