‘We’ve had enough’: Palestinian Americans grappling with the loss of family in Gaza

The Palestinian Health Ministry estimates more than 24,000 people have been killed in Gaza during the more than 100 days since the Israel-Hamas war began. This death toll includes the loved ones of many Palestinian Americans.

“We’ve had enough - how many more of my family and friends in Gaza has to die?,” questioned Adam Abosheriah of New Jersey. His elderly mother, father and brother along with 104 other family members were killed in Gaza.

Mazen Badr said the war has claimed the lives of 10 of his closest family members, including his blind sister and his 84-year-old mother.

“It’s not just the bombs. It’s the lack of food, the lack of water, the lack of medicine,” said Badr.

They said the family members who are still alive in Gaza are living in tents where it’s not clear if they have food and water. Communication is also a challenge. Abosheriah said it can take four to five days to hear from loved ones still in the area.

“This is not life that we live in right now. This is a catastrophe,” said Abosheriah. “We are not living we just barely surviving it here because of what’s going on.”

Over the weekend, both men joined thousands of demonstrators in Washington, D.C. calling for an end to Israeli military action in Gaza. Badr said he wants a peaceful resolution.

“One that is good for America, good for Israel, and good, obviously, for the Palestinian people,” said Badr. “There is so much good that can come out of that part of the world.”

For many Palestinian Americans, the best solution is a ceasefire.

“I believe we have a duty to stand with our ally, Israel, as it does what is needed to root out the terrorist threats in its own country,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R – Texas.

But on Capitol Hill, there isn’t much support for one.

“I would say a ceasefire would be great, but no guarantee Hamas won’t continue to kill innocent men, women, and children, so it’s just not feasible,” Cornyn said. “I understand the desire for the violence to end, and I hope and pray that it will soon. But we must remember they can only happen when the Hamas threat is defeated.”

But Abosheriah believes a ceasefire is the only way he can go back to Gaza and honor his loved ones.

“I have not been able to go back to even try to dig them out from the rubbles whatever remains from them whether they have been decaying, whether it’s bones left,” he said. “Is this inhumane to at least give us time to go bury our dead?”

There are still more than 130 Israeli hostages being held by Hamas.

Wednesday on Capitol Hill, a bipartisan group of Senators stood with American and Israeli families as they called their release.

“We are going to do everything thing we can - because our hearts are broken and we must, we must bring them home,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

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