Palestinian-American begs for U.S. assistance in leaving Gaza
A Palestinian-American from New Jersey, who finds herself trapped in Gaza City amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, has made a desperate plea ahead of a looming ground invasion by Israeli forces.
It comes in response to the Hamas attrocities last weekend, which left more than 1,200 Israelis dead as the terrorists went a murderous rampage through Israeli settlements after bulldozing through the border fence.
Hanseen Okal, a mother of three young children, shared her harrowing experiences with CNN’s Jake Tapper as Israeli bombs exploded in the background.
Tapper expressed his concern for Okal’s safety, offering his assistance in ensuring that her plea reaches the highest levels of government.
He acknowledged the gravity of her situation and the urgency of finding a way to secure her escape from the besieged Gaza Strip.
Tapper said: “There needs to be a way for you to get out. I mean, you’re not Hamas, you’re an innocent person, and you have three kids. You heard earlier the suggestions from the IDF spokesperson I spoke with on Saturday night: Where are innocent Palestinians supposed to go? He said to go to the south and go to the shore. Is that at all realistic?”
Okal, her voice filled with desperation, responded: “No, no, we tried everywhere. They say go to the shore, and then they bomb the shore the next day. They say go to the north, and then they bomb the north areas the next day. Like, everywhere. They’re bombing everywhere. So, no place is safe here in Gaza Strip.”
The interview shed light on the dire circumstances faced by many civilians in Gaza, who, like Okal, are caught in the crossfire of a complex and devastating conflict.
Okal revealed that she had attempted to contact the U.S. embassy for assistance but had been unable to obtain any answers.
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Okal highlighted the urgency of the situation saying: “We’re all here feeling abandoned, and we’re feeling that we’re left alone. So, we really are looking for the U.S. Embassy to help the U.S. citizens who are living in Gaza.”
Tapper, seemingly moved by Okal’s testimony, offered to assist her directly. With a heartfelt message, he assured her that the White House was watching the interview.
The CNN host said: “Haneen Okal, we have your number. I know that the White House watches this show. The White House can call me, and we’ll put them in touch with you. You and your kids need to get out safe, and you need to get out safe as soon as is humanly possible. Please stay safe and stay in touch with us. We’re going to do everything we can to help you.”
In his commitment to Okal’s safety, Tapper also assured viewers that he would make every effort to ensure the White House receives the information, whether they were watching or not.
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As the conflict in Israel and Palestine continues to take a toll on innocent civilians, stories like Haneen Okal’s serve as a stark reminder of the human cost of these conflicts.
The U.S. State Department does not maintain precise records of the number of American citizens in various locations. However, during the summer, the Israeli government estimated that there were approximately 100 to 130 Americans residing in Gaza, a range that the Biden administration acknowledged. Gaza is home to a total population of around 2.2 million people, with over half of them being children.
On Wednesday, Gaza’s sole power plant exhausted its fuel supply, leaving the region without access to electricity or running water, as reported by local officials. More than 80 percent of Gazans are living in poverty, according to data from the United Nations.
In Gaza, the toll of the recent Israeli airstrikes stands at over 1,400 fatalities and 6,200 individuals wounded since the events began on Saturday, as per the latest figures provided by Palestinian authorities. Tragically, this includes 445 children and 245 women among those who lost their lives in Gaza.
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