Hikind Meets U.S. Amb. Friedman to Discuss U.S. Citizen Held & Tortured By Palestinian Authority

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NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) met this morning with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman to discuss the American citizen being held captive and tortured by the Palestinian Authority. Issam Akel, a 53-year-old Arab-American resident of Jerusalem and U.S. citizen, was taken captive by the PA after it was alleged that he sold property to Jews.

“The Ambassador assured me that the Secretary of State and Trump Administration are now involved,” said Hikind. “America defends its citizens and we are determined to do everything necessary to secure Issam Akel’s freedom.”

Yesterday, Assemblyman Hikind met with Akel’s family. He described the meeting as heartbreaking. “There are two young daughters, 3 and 7. They are crying that they want their father back. His wife wants her husband back. For two months, he has been held and tortured for the alleged crime of selling property to Jews. This is intolerable.

“This is not Hamas, the recognized terror organization, that has directed this act against an Arab American. This is the Palestinian Authority—the so-called moderates—the official government of the Palestinians who have perpetrated this crime against a U.S. citizen. Imagine the outcry if Israel jailed a Jew for allegedly selling land to an Arab.”

Hikind praised Ambassador Friedman and the Trump administration for their involvement. “All of us must unite, speak out and do whatever is necessary to free this innocent man,” said Hikind.

In a long meeting in Jerusalem Wednesday afternoon with Akel’s wife Maram, Hikind learned how Issam has been tortured in a PA prison for two months.

Issam lived in America for 12 years. His four siblings and their families continue to reside in the U.S. “This is a proud Arab-American family,” said Hikind.

While the United States has officially demanded the immediate release of its citizen, Hikind is calling upon the UN and human rights groups to also demand the release.

“This is not Hamas, the recognized terror organization, that has directed this act against an Arab American,” said Hikind. “This is the Palestinian Authority—the so-called moderates—the official government of the Palestinians who have perpetrated this crime against a U.S. citizen.

“Imagine the outcry if Israel jailed a Jew for allegedly selling land to an Arab. Would human rights groups stand silent if this man was persecuted for selling land to a Black family or an Asian family? I’m calling on those who care about human rights—those groups who advocate for everyone else—to speak out about this heinous violation of human rights against an Arab-American who committed no crime!”

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)