Palestinian American physician explains why he walked out of assembly with Biden and Harris

A Palestinian American physician who walked out of a gathering with President Biden and different Arab and Muslim leaders and activists on Wednesday stated he left “out of respect for my group.”

Dr. Thaer Ahmad, an emergency doctor from Chicago who traveled to Gaza earlier this yr, advised “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan the White Home assembly was the primary time Mr. Biden heard straight from individuals who had been on the bottom in Gaza since Oct. 7. He stated the president requested him to talk first and he detailed his experiences in Khan Younis and Rafah, telling Mr. Biden there was no means Israel may safely invade the southern Gaza metropolis the place multiple million Palestinians have fled for the reason that warfare started.

“After which I requested to be excused, out of respect for my group who’s mourning, who’s grieving, who has actually needed to be heard and has felt silenced and excluded this complete time,” Ahmad stated. 

Earlier than leaving, Ahmad stated he gave Mr. Biden a letter from an 8-year-old orphan in Rafah, asking the president to not permit an invasion. 

Ahmad stated he accepted the invitation as a result of “I believe there’s numerous us proper now which have a critical sense of urgency and panic about what’s going down in Gaza, and particularly concerning the looming Rafah invasion that might happen.” 

“It appears to me that there is one one that can perhaps make a distinction and will put a cease to this, and that is President Biden,” he stated.

Ahmad stated he feels Mr. Biden will not be doing sufficient to cease Israel from going forward with its deliberate invasion, and he says he is not alone.

Ahmad stated he spoke to delegation members of U.N. Safety Council states, “and so they all felt that if the White Home determined to make Rafah a purple line, that the warfare would cease tomorrow. That it simply required President Biden to say, ‘Below no circumstance can this happen.'”

White Home officers have beforehand stated Mr. Biden has tried to get Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reduce plans for a Rafah invasion and to do extra to guard civilians.

“Our place is that Hamas shouldn’t be allowed a secure haven in Rafah or anyplace else,” White Home nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan stated final month at a White Home briefing. “However a serious floor operation there can be a mistake. It could result in extra harmless civilian deaths, worsen the already dire humanitarian disaster, deepen the anarchy in Gaza and additional isolate Israel internationally.”  

Ahmad stated he felt snug leaving as a result of he knew the opposite attendees would additionally be capable of impress upon Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris the dire scenario in Gaza.

He stated he wasn’t initially certain he was going to stroll out of the assembly, however that “when the president did not even actually point out Gaza or Palestine in his first preliminary feedback to me, I felt that I wanted to get out and I wanted to not less than categorical the harm and the ache that the complete Palestinian American group is feeling.”

“I do not communicate on their behalf, I am only one Palestinian American,” Ahmad continued. “However the reality that there have been no different Palestinian Individuals within the room and that so many individuals are struggling proper now, it was necessary for me to not less than talk that harm and to stroll away from the president like we felt he is walked away from us.” 

Ahmad advised CBS Information he plans to return to Gaza, regardless of the large dangers concerned. He stated the final time he was in Gaza he noticed the Israeli navy raid a hospital the place households had been sheltering. 

“It is necessary to notice that the Israeli navy has accomplished this to a number of hospitals. This isn’t only a one-time incident,” Ahmad stated. “So what I noticed, there have been households in these hospitals. Youngsters enjoying ring-around-the-rosie. I noticed children who had been affected by this warfare, who had been injured by it, who had been traumatized by it … I can checklist hospital after hospital. And in order that’s actually what makes me need to return, is realizing that these individuals within the Gaza Strip are underneath an incredible quantity of strain and ache, together with the well being care staff, together with the help staff. And if it isn’t individuals like us who’re going to face with them as a result of the complete world has turned their again on them, then who else is gonna do it?”

Ahmad additionally stated he by no means noticed any indicators of Hamas working in hospitals.

“We noticed the other of that,” he stated.

“I have been sharing these particulars since I’ve come again. I have been sharing these particulars with anybody who will pay attention. Senators, congressmen, I stated that to the president and the vice chairman previous to leaving,” he stated. “There are actual individuals which are there, harmless individuals, households, and so they’ve been displaced a number of occasions. They’ve misplaced a lot, together with their properties, they’ve misplaced their all the pieces… their livelihood.

“The thought of an invasion into Rafah by the Israeli navy is simply one thing that could possibly be so disastrous,” he stated. “To a spot that is seen a lot catastrophe and humanitarian struggling.”

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