CHICAGO: Abdelnasser Rashid, who was elected last November to the Illinois General Assembly representing the 21st House District on the southwest side of Chicagoland, said he was surrounded by a violent Israeli mob while visiting family in the West Bank town of Turmusaya last week.
Turmusaya, about 25 miles north of Jerusalem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has been the focus of a violent rampage by armed Israeli settlers and soldiers who have been burning down civilian homes, olive farms and shooting civilians.
Rashid was visiting relatives as the Israeli mob violence started to spread throughout the Palestinian areas of the West Bank.
“Gunshots got closer and closer to our house. I didn’t know whether we were going to be killed. My daughter, 7 years old, was clinging to me saying, ‘Dad, what do we do if we get shot?’” Rashid told a local TV news station in Chicago from his Turmusaya home.
Rashid told Arab News: “I had to have the conversation with my kids that every Palestinian parent has — that the Israeli government doesn’t believe we deserve equal rights, that we have to be especially careful because we can be hurt or even killed with no accountability or consequences.”
The US media has focused on the killing of four Israeli settlers by Palestinians on June 20, but has written little about the hundreds of Palestinians who have been killed during the past several months following the election of one of Israel’s most right-wing extremist governments.
Israeli leaders have publicly called for the killing of Palestinians and the destruction of their homes in the wake of the settler deaths, and have called Palestinians killed by armed settlers or Israeli soldiers “terrorists,” suggesting their deaths are justified.
Rashid said hundreds of armed settlers started attacking Turmusaya this past week, killing one resident and burning down cars and homes.
He said he has reached out to US government officials, urging them to stop the violence against Palestinian civilians.
Rashid’s legislative bio describes his career as being “focused on fighting for working families and building a strong middle class.”
He has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and an MBA in finance and economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Rashid’s legislative priorities include property tax relief, affordable housing, environmental protection and consumer protection.
He is the first Palestinian American to serve in the Illinois House of Representatives. He lives in the Chicagoland suburb of Bridgeview with his wife and three children.