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Palestinian Chicagoans look toward election after City Council calls for cease-fire in Gaza

Palestinian Chicago residents push calls for cease-fire in Gaza, rethink support for Democrats
Palestinian Chicago residents push calls for cease-fire in Gaza, rethink support for Democrats 02:56

CHICAGO (CBS) – Three weeks after the Chicago City Council narrowly approved a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Israel's war in the Gaza Strip, such calls remain a hot-button issue among Palestinian residents.

Despite the controversy, the resolution matters to Palestinian Americans in the Chicago area like Nesreen Hasan.

"It boils down to humanity," Hasan said.

Hasan added the Palestinian perspective has been widely absent from the conversation. She is a member of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, one of the many groups that campaigned in support of the resolution, which Hasan said, while purely symbolic, gave a voice to thousands of Palestinians in the Chicago area.

"Our community feels neglected," Hasan said. "We feel vilified and dehumanized all at the same time while we are grieving, watching our loved ones be killed."

The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 29,000, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Women and children make up more than two-thirds of the casualties.

The astonishing number, Hasan said, was given some dignity by the council passing the resolution.

"I absolutely don't think they see the humanity," she said. "I think they were upset that this resolution brought the humanity of Palestinians."

"This puts us in sync with the international movement that's going on right now to stop this war," said Frank Chapman, of the National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression.

The resolution's passage, in many ways, caused a ripple effect across the country. As many as 20 cities are working to pass similar resolutions.

And in the Chicago area, the war is becoming a central issue during a presidential election year.

One group has already rolled out a powerful advertisement highlighting recent remarks by Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau, a Republican, who recently pushed back against a cease-fire resolution in the south suburban village. The ad tells viewers there are "no excuses" and to register and vote.

Hoda Shubair, a Bolingbrook resident who voted for President Joe Biden in 2020, is one of the many Palestinian Americans rethinking their support for Democrats. Her grief over losing a dozen relatives, including her parents in war-torn Gaza, has shaken her to her core.

"Although we put a lot of trust in them in the previous elections, I see that myself and my community are not voting again for them," Shubair said.

With a cease-fire nowhere in sight, activists are looking ahead, setting their sights on the Democratic National Convention taking place in Chicago in August.

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