July 15, 2024

CHICAGO: The previous mayor of an prosperous suburban village outdoors Chicago, Illinois, mentioned he’s “pained” and “very involved” after having misplaced contact with shut relations 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, because of the violent onslaught in Gaza by Israel.

Greater than 12,000 Palestinians, together with virtually half who’re kids, have been killed in the course of 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 all the way down to 1,200 on Friday by Israeli authorities.

Abu Taleb mentioned he’s deeply dissatisfied by US President Joe Biden’s failure to cease the violence, or “to place himself within the sneakers of Palestinians” and perceive how they’re victims of a “double commonplace” in American international 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 legislation, 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 underneath the rubble of their destroyed properties, can be a battle crime. I’m completely in opposition to that. We should always all arise for civilians and kids, irrespective of the place,” Abu Taleb instructed Arab Information.

“We’re witness now to crimes being solved by extra crimes. We should arise in opposition to 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 p.c of the vote, pushed by a marketing campaign slogan to make authorities extra conscious of taxpayers.

Abu Taleb mentioned his love for the US and democracy fuels his emotions that not sufficient is being accomplished 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 attainable means, 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 complete life underneath occupation. He died with a damaged coronary heart as a result of he couldn’t shield his kids. That (Israeli) troopers may stroll any minute into your home, take no matter they need and switch issues the other way up each time they need. And that’s what is being accomplished daily 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 commonplace” on justice that “damages America.”

“We shouldn’t have double requirements. We shouldn’t be for freedom and be in opposition to freedom. We shouldn’t be for human rights and be in opposition to 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 don’t have 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 kids. These kids who lose their mother and father and lose their properties, who’re disadvantaged of water, disadvantaged of meals, power. 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 stunned after they don’t love us 20 years from now? That’s the long-term downside that we have to undertake now so we are able to have a greater tomorrow.”

Abu Taleb mentioned that US information media performs a big position on this imbalance.

“Sadly, the mainstream information media appears to be like at Ukrainian kids totally different than they take a look at a Palestinian little one. They usually take a look at an Israeli little one otherwise than they take a look at a Palestinian little one,” he mentioned.

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

Abu Taleb mentioned that he has not dominated out operating for increased elective workplace, saying extra should change to convey peace to Gaza and Israel.