Israel at War

10 Palestinian American families say 1,000 relatives have died in Gaza

Palestinian American families who say they have collectively lost 1,000 family members in Gaza are speaking out about the pain the war has brought.

10 Palestinian American families say 1,000 relatives have died in Gaza
Scripps News
SMS

Palestinian American families who have lost relatives in Gaza are demanding President Biden push for a cease-fire in the territory.

The 10 families — hailing from New Jersey, New York and other states in the Northeast — say they have collectively lost over 1,000 family members in total in the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Those remaining are pleading for the U.S. to help them save the few family members they have left.

"Our whole block, all our cousins, our family, my grandparents, all of them are gone," said Ola, a young Palestinian American from New Jersey.

Ola says 93 members of her family were killed within a matter of minutes during Israel's current military offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

"President Biden [is] supporting this genocide, and it is not okay, so we demand a cease-fire," Ola said. "Not just me, all of America, all Palestinian families are demanding a cease-fire."

Israel to continue bombings despite US calls to tone down campaign
Israel to continue bombings despite US calls to tone down campaign

Israel to continue bombings despite US calls to tone down campaign

A spokesperson for IDF said its goal is to ensure Hamas is no longer a threat following a deadly terrorist attack on Oct. 7.

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Ola and the other Palestinian American families Scripps News spoke with for this story asked us not to use their full names out of fear for their safety.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) brought the families together Tuesday to speak to the media about the loss of their loved ones in Gaza.

Ola's father, Nasser, calls it an unbearable pain.

"Innocent people sleeping in the house, and they just got bombed," he said.

The families showed pictures of some of their relatives killed in Gaza. Organizers say the pictures shown are some of the faces of tragedy: children, women, men and elderly — hundreds of Palestinian civilians killed during Israeli attacks in Gaza.

According to health officials in the territory, almost 20,000 Palestinians have been killed, and 70% of them are women and children.

"My cousin Razan and her 12-year-old sister Nouran and my other cousin who's a doctor were all killed by Israeli shelling and snipers," said Noreen, a young Palestinian American woman who lost relatives in Gaza.

Mahmoud in New Jersey recalls the last time he spoke on the phone with his older brother in Gaza after not hearing from him for days — and just two hours before his apparent death.

"He said, 'I want to make sure when my son is engaged or in his wedding that you have to be there,' and they were killed. Now, I'm here, and they're not here," Mahmoud said.

Hamas leader visits Cairo, a sign talks on another Israel truce loom
Hamas leader visits Cairo, a sign talks on another Israel truce loom

Hamas leader visits Cairo, a sign talks on another Israel truce loom

Hamas and Israel have recently relaunched indirect talks, mediated by Egypt and Qatar, aimed at instituting another cease-fire.

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"Biden can easily pick up the phone and call Israel to stop the killing," said Adam, a Palestinian American who also lost relatives in Gaza.

These calls on President Biden to intervene appear to be growing: A new poll released by the New York Times and Siena College found that 57% of registered voters broadly disapprove of the way the President is handling the conflict in the Middle East.

The poll found younger Americans are far more critical than older voters of both Israel's conduct and of the administration's response to the war in Gaza.

"I think President Biden made a huge mistake by being inconsistent about human rights, specifically when it came to Israeli bombardment and genocide of Gaza and Palestine," said Mohammed, a Palestinian American man who lost family members in Gaza.

Mohammed told Scripps News he voted for President Biden in the last election, and when National Correspondent Axel Turcios asked him if he regretted the choice, he said, "Of course."