The family of an 81-year-old Palestinian-American woman fears she may not survive if she isn’t evacuated from Gaza soon.
“She is alive, but has visibly lost weight,” said Dina Bseiso, a relative speaking on behalf of the Bay Area family. “It seems they still have their spirits, probably because they are surrounded by family, and that is a blessing, but the environment around them is rubble.”
Bseiso said the elderly woman, whom she is not identifying for security reasons, hadn’t ventured far from her California home in 30 years. In August, she traveled with her son, who lives in Gaza, to visit her childhood home.
She is currently in Khan Younis, about 8 miles from the Rafah crossing. Bseiso said the woman has tried to cross the border into Egypt several times since October 8, and her family is disappointed that the United States government hasn’t launched a more coordinated effort to get Palestinian Americans out of Gaza.
“She has medication that has run out and needs to be refilled, let alone finding something comparable for her needs,” she said. “[Not having] clean water has also affected her.”
The woman is moving between houses and structures to be safe,” said Ghassan Shamieh, an immigration attorney representing the family. He said he has filed a lawsuit against the US State Department on behalf of the woman’s family to compel the US government to act.
“I cannot convey just how dehumanized and unfair we feel when we are supposedly deprived of full rights in this country,” Bseiso said. “When our lives have been devoted to the betterment of this country, and our lives don’t seem to matter.”
Bseiso says the family is hopeful they will hear from US officials telling them to proceed to the crossing, but “they’ve been told this before and that didn’t work,” she said.