LONDON: The family of a Palestinian-American woman, who claims she has been kidnapped by Israeli forces, has appealed to US President Joe Biden to take action.
According to the son of Samaher Esmail, who hails from Louisiana, the 46-year-old was taken from her bed in her home in Silwad, in the West Bank, in the middle of the night.
Ibrahim Hamed added that soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces stormed their way into the family home, and that he has not heard from his mother since, The Guardian reported.
“They took her out without her hijab, her headscarf,” Hamed told CBS News. “It’s like they didn’t even respect her.”
The Israeli military said Esmail had been arrested for “incitement on social media” and that she had been “transferred to the security forces for further questioning.”
Hamed said he was appealing to the Biden administration to step in following the president’s recent remarks — “If you harm an American, we will respond” — which he said should apply equally “even in the case of a Palestinian-American who has been taken by Israeli troops.”
He balked at US taxpayers funding Israeli security needs — especially during its war with Hamas in Gaza which has seen nearly 30,000 Palestinians killed — as Biden seeks a further $14 billion in assistance for Israel.
“We’re paying our tax money to do what? To fund the people who are oppressing us?” Hamed told The Guardian. “So when is this oppression going to stop?”
Neighbors of Esmail sent videos and pictures to Hamed showing nearly a dozen IDF troops detaining Esmail, and alleged that she was beaten, handcuffed and blindfolded during the arrest.
Hamed said: “She’s not even heavy. I’m like, ‘What is going on here?’
“I just never would have thought that they would have done this to, firstly, a woman, and, second, a US citizen.”
A spokesperson for the US State Department said it was aware of reports that an American citizen had been detained in the West Bank, but declined to elaborate.
They said: “The Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas. We are seeking additional information and stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”
Meanwhile, the family of two other US-Palestinian dual nationals, Hashem Alagha, 20, and Borak Alagha, 18, said the brothers had been detained in a raid on a home west of the city of Khan Younis on Thursday morning.