December 2, 2023

CHICAGO: The previous mayor of an prosperous suburban village exterior Chicago, Illinois, mentioned he’s “pained” and “very involved” after having misplaced contact with shut members of the family fleeing Israel’s army violence within the Gaza Strip the place he was born.

Anan Abu Taleb, who served as mayor of Oak Park from 2013 till 2021, mentioned he has misplaced contact with household residing in Gaza, together with his two sisters, three half-brothers and their households, on account of the violent onslaught in Gaza by Israel.

Greater than 12,000 Palestinians, together with nearly half who’re kids, have been killed throughout the Israeli assault launched in response to a Hamas assault from Gaza that killed an estimated 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7, a determine that was scaled right down to 1,200 on Friday by Israeli authorities.

Abu Taleb mentioned he’s deeply disenchanted by US President Joe Biden’s failure to cease the violence, or “to place himself within the footwear of Palestinians” and perceive how they’re victims of a “double normal” in American overseas coverage and mainstream information media protection that distinguishes between the killing of Israelis and the killing of Palestinians.

“What occurred on Oct. 7 is a horrific act. Based mostly on what I’ve learn in worldwide regulation, it’s a battle crime taking hostages and killing civilians. And I additionally wish to say that killing civilians, if they’ve fallen sufferer to a knife, a gun, a missile, or in the event that they had been buried alive below the rubble of their destroyed properties, can also be a battle crime. I’m completely towards that. We should always all rise up for civilians and youngsters, irrespective of the place,” Abu Taleb advised Arab Information.

“We’re witness now to crimes being solved by extra crimes. We should rise up towards fixing crimes by committing extra crimes.”

The second eldest of 13 kids, Abu Taleb was born in 1959 in Beit Lahia, a Palestinian metropolis on Gaza’s northern border close to the notorious Erez Crossing. He emigrated to the US when he was 18 and earned an MBA from the College of Chicago.

After launching a restaurant in Chicago’s western suburbs along with his spouse, Abu Taleb ran for mayor in 2012 with none earlier political or election expertise. He gained in a landslide with 58 % of the vote, pushed by a marketing campaign slogan to make authorities extra attentive to taxpayers.

Abu Taleb mentioned his love for the US and democracy fuels his emotions that not sufficient is being carried out to cease the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza, the place greater than 1.5 million folks have been pressured to flee their properties, together with his household.

He mentioned his sisters and brothers and their households had nothing to do with the bloodbath of Israelis by Hamas, however Palestinians are being punished within the worst doable method, with their properties and lives being destroyed with out anybody defending their rights as law-abiding civilians.

“My father (Hassan) was an elementary faculty trainer and a farmer. He lived his entire life below occupation. He died with a damaged coronary heart as a result of he couldn’t defend his kids. That (Israeli) troopers might stroll any minute into your own home, take no matter they need and switch issues the wrong way up each time they need. And that’s what is being carried out day by day within the West Financial institution,” Abu Taleb mentioned.

“My sisters and half brothers and their households have needed to flee south. I pray for them.”

Abu Taleb mentioned that there’s a “hypocrisy of emotions” and a “double normal” on justice that “damages America.”

“We shouldn’t have double requirements. We shouldn’t be for freedom and be towards freedom. We shouldn’t be for human rights and be towards human rights. We shouldn’t be for some kids due to the place they had been born however not for different kids born someplace else. And Israeli little one and a Palestinian little one haven’t any say in what a part of the world they’re born at. They don’t. They usually don’t have a say on what faith to comply with when they’re born,” he mentioned.

“These are our youngsters. These kids who lose their mother and father and lose their properties, who’re disadvantaged of water, disadvantaged of meals, vitality. What do you assume goes to occur to them 10 years from now, 15 years from now, 20 years from now? Are we going to be shocked once they don’t love us 20 years from now? That’s the long-term drawback that we have to undertake now so we are able to have a greater tomorrow.”

Abu Taleb mentioned that US information media performs a major function on this imbalance.

“Sadly, the mainstream information media appears at Ukrainian kids totally different than they have a look at a Palestinian little one. They usually have a look at an Israeli little one in another way than they have a look at a Palestinian little one,” he mentioned.

“When the media covers the Israelis, they emphasize how they really feel once they see a civilian being damage or being killed. One can see their feelings and their tears and their coronary heart. However on the subject of a Palestinian, it’s a casualty of the battle.”

Abu Taleb mentioned that he has not dominated out working for larger elective workplace, saying extra should change to deliver peace to Gaza and Israel.