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Orland Park, IL: The mayor of Orland Park, a Chicago suburb, instructed Arab People who urged the village board on Monday to approve a ceasefire decision for Gaza that they will “go to a different nation” if they don’t like US authorities coverage.

“In the beginning I’m an American. I’m not a German American, I’m an American. That’s the place my allegiances lie. Interval. Dot. Finish of story,” Keith Pekau instructed Arab People who attended a board assembly that was recorded and broadcast stay on YouTube.

“And in the event you’re an American citizen and also you don’t really feel that means, then in my view, you’re entitled to that opinion, however you’ll be able to definitely go and struggle, go to a different nation and help that nation, and all the facility to you in the event you selected to try this,” he mentioned.

“However so long as I’m an American, and I’m, I’ve taken a number of oaths to help and defend the structure in opposition to all enemies international and home. I’ll at all times help America’s pursuits.”

Orland Park has a big Palestinian-American inhabitants and one of many area’s latest and largest mosques, the Orland Prayer Heart

A number of audio system on the assembly introduced a petition they mentioned was signed by greater than 800 Orland Park residents calling for the adoption of a ceasefire decision, and calmly detailed why the board ought to act.

They famous that the board had beforehand authorised a decision supporting Ukraine in opposition to Russia’s invasion.

“Tonight, we collect not simply as group members however as voices for humanitarian motion. We’re urging the village of Orland Park to undertake a decision for a ceasefire in Gaza. With nearly 30,000 useless, 1.9 million folks displaced, the folks of Gaza are being starved, reduce from meals, electrical energy, water and gas,” mentioned the primary speaker, Yousef Zegar, who described himself as “a lifelong Orland Park resident.”

He added: “What facet of historical past does Orland Park wish to stand on? The facet that did nothing, or the facet that had compassion for innocents?

“Offered right here in my arms is a petition of help for what we’re asking for at this time. We’ve collected over 800 signatures supporting our ask out of your native constituents.

“I’d prefer to remind you all that you simply’re elected by the folks and are speculated to symbolize the folks.”

Zegar mentioned the group simply needs to be heard in Orland Park. “Up to now, Orland Park has raised consciousness and funds for the victims of Ukraine. There are way more Palestinians in Orland Park than Ukrainians,” he added.

“By adopting this decision, it additionally sends a message to the group that we as a village stand in opposition to hate.

“Islamophobia is on the rise and hate crimes have taken place right here, even domestically, all due to misinformation.

“Turning down this very fundamental humanitarian ask is straight sending a message that you simply don’t worth the lives of your Arab-American or Muslim constituents.”

Chicago adopted a decision on Jan. 31 calling for a “humanitarian ceasefire” and “the speedy and unconditional launch of all hostages,” referencing greater than 100 Israelis nonetheless being held by Hamas. 

Zegar mentioned related resolutions have been adopted by tons of of cities throughout the US, together with San Francisco, to which Pekau replied: “I’ll let you know what, I’m in Orland Park. I don’t wish to look something like (Chicago) and San Francisco. If that’s the way you wish to stay, go stay there as a result of Orland Park ain’t it.”

Pekau mentioned whereas there was group unity on Ukraine, “Orland Park residents are extremely divided on this concern of the Center East and we’re not going to get entangled … I see no purpose to at present demand a ceasefire.”

Attendees mentioned they might elevate their issues once more on Feb. 10 at a “breakfast with the mayor” that Pekau hosts every month on the Village Corridor.

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