Gaza news: Local Palestinian families demand city, state politicians call for ceasefire

Jasmine Minor Image
Friday, January 5, 2024
Local Palestinian families demand politicians call for ceasefire
Several Palestinian families are demanding city and state politicians call for a ceasefire.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Several Palestinian families are demanding city and state politicians call for a ceasefire.

This comes as they describe the horrific conditions their loved ones in Gaza are facing.

Several Palestinian families say they are grieving from, in some cases, the hundreds of loved ones they've lost during the war. Some of them shared their stories for the first time publicly Thursday in the hopes of saving lives.

"My cousin, Hadeel, she was doing fun activities at the school, where they thought it was a safe place," said Reem Elmarsi, who has family in Gaza.

Elmarsi said her cousin was trying to take the war off kids' minds when she was killed by an airstrike.

"Over 100 members of my family have been killed," Elmarsi said.

Poster boards of loved ones bring to life the everyday reality of grieving Palestinian families.

"I can't even save my own family in Gaza because we don't know if they'll die from Israeli airstrikes, or from starvation or even disease," said Nabil Alshurafa, who also has family in Gaza.

RELATED: Israel to withdraw some troops from Gaza, but expects fighting will continue through 2024

Nabil said some of his family is currently living in tents, after their homes and businesses had been bombed.

"My uncles and aunts are going in circles right now looking for shelter and clean water to give to my little cousin; he just turned 1. And they're all now living on the street by the water," Alshurafa said.

The families at the Council on American Islamic Relations Chicago collectively are demanding city and state leaders call for a ceasefire and asking that things like food, water and shelter aid be given to those desperate for it.

"I'd like to ask Mayor Johnson, you've heard our stories, why have you not met with Palestinian families? Why haven't you called for a ceasefire, which could save my family's life?" Mohanad said.

The offices of Gov. JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

A spokesperson for Congressman Sean Casten said "he was one of the first members of Congress to call for a pause in the fighting, and urged the president to ensure the United States does everything in its power to prevent further civilian suffering."

Local families are hoping to see their loved ones' smiling faces again.

"Save what's left of my family," Elmarsi said.

The Consul General of Israel to the Midwest released a statement Thursday, saying "Many in Israel and the Gaza Strip have lost their lives since the Hamas terror attack on Israel on October 7th. We call for the immediate release of all hostages and for Hamas to lay down their weapons in order to bring this tragedy to an end."