The Story of Naifa Rizq al-Sawada
  1. United States
  2. N.Y.
  3. Letter

The Story of Naifa Rizq al-Sawada

To: Sen. Gillibrand, Sen. Schumer, Pres. Biden

From: A verified voter in Buffalo, NY

May 5

I am writing to you regarding the recent horrifying ordeal endured by Naifa Rizq al-Sawada, a 92-year-old Palestinian woman. Following a raid by the Israeli army, Mrs. al-Sawada, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, was separated from her family and found in a burned bed, her remains reduced to charred bones. The soldiers, despite being implored by her family to release her, refused, leaving Sawada behind as they assaulted al-Shifa Medical Complex and its vicinity in mid-March. For two weeks, the family did not know Sawada’s fate after they were forced to leave her behind. They later received reports from neighbors that the army had burned the building but they couldn’t return to the building to see if Sawada was taken out before it was burned. On April 1, the Israeli army withdrew from the area and the family finally reached the home and found Sawada’s charred remains. Her home was next to Al-Shifa Hospital, where the once busy courtyard has been dug up and now is littered with hundreds of dead bodies. These bodies were field executed and crushed under Israeli bulldozers. Among the dead are known doctors and nurses from Al-Shifa, and, among the fragments, the small hands of children are visible. It is estimated that over 700 civilians have been killed this way, their bodies left to decay, many with their hands tied behind their backs. The small children among the deceased is a poignant reminder of the indiscriminate nature of these killings. I urge you to back the implementation of immediate sanctions against Israel to enforce a ceasefire in Gaza, and call for concrete measures to address the illegal occupation, which is the root cause of violence and oppression in the region. I implore you to press for accountability for those in the Israeli government and in the Israeli forces responsible for human rights violations. Many weeks have now passed since the UN Security Council voted for an immediate ceasefire and the start of hostage returns—a proposition to which Hamas has agreed—however Israel refuses to comply still. Israel’s non-compliance, despite being on trial for genocide at The Hague and ignoring pleas from its closest allies, underscores its rogue status. The vote did not call for a ceasefire to be conditional on the exchange of any hostages, meaning there is no excuse for refusing its implementation. The evidence of genocide being committed is becoming ever more irrefutable, as leading Israeli politicians continue to use rhetoric of genocidal intent and the government announces plans that require the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Gaza. You cannot claim ignorance of these facts. The urgency and severity of these war crimes cannot be overstated, and it is imperative that we act with conviction and clarity in response. Sanctions are needed NOW, alongside a full arms embargo and permanent change to policies around Israel while it continues to operate what Amnesty International describes as an Apartheid State.

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