WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — As Jewish communities rally to support family members in Israel, those in the DMV with a connection to Palestine are also living in fear.
“As soon as I heard there is a war, I was worried about my family. So, I tried to call them and definitely they were scared, they didn’t know where to go,” said Aref Ramadan, who lives in Germantown. “It is very hard, it is very difficult. Not knowing if your family is dead, are they alive?”
Ramadan is Palestinian and originally from Gaza. He moved to the United States in 1983. But, the majority of his family still live in Gaza.
“They don’t have electricity. If they don’t have electricity they don’t have water,” he said.
Sunday, the Israeli government declared war and bombarded the Gaza Strip. It comes in response to an attack by Hamas — a Palestinian military group — which launched a surprise attack in Israel that killed more than 900 people.
The United States government designated Hamas as a terrorist organization in October 1997.
Still, Ramadan said people should view the situation differently.
When asked if he believed Hamas is a terrorist group he said: “Your question should be how to reach peace in the Middle East. Occupation is really the source of violence. If there is no occupation, you wouldn’t see [any] violence in there. If the occupation disappeared, peace will be in the Middle East.”
From his perspective, world leaders — including President Biden — are leading a double standard.
He believes world leaders stand with Ukraine in the invasion and war happening with Russia, but he said when Palestine is the occupied group, world leaders stand with the occupier — Israel — instead.
“It is definitely a double standard. Instead of Biden taking advantage of the situation and trying to reach a peace or push for peace, he just completely supports [one] side against the other,” he explained. “My family, they are the ones who are feeling the heat. They are the ones who are not sleeping. They are not getting water to drink.”
Ramadan said all his family wants is a peaceful and free Palestine.
“You have to understand that Palestinians are humans just like anyone else. They want to live in peace and they want to live in freedom,” he said.