NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) and President Trump discussed a U.S. citizen who is being held and tortured by the Palestinian Authority. At the White House on Thursday, Hikind delivered to the President a letter from Maran Akel, the wife of the tortured man, pleading with the President to help bring her husband back. Issam Akel, a 53-year-old Arab-American resident of Jerusalem and U.S. citizen, was kidnapped by the PA two months after it was alleged that he sold property to Jews. On Friday, Palestinian Arab Ahmad Salamah, who was sought for the same “crime” of selling land to Jews, was murdered in the city Jaljuliya.
The heartfelt letter from Maram Akel describes the dire situation:
[Isam’s] physical and mental health is deteriorating from day to day, and I fear that if this continues, he will not survive for much longer. Our two little girls and I have only one simple request—to get our father and husband back. Things have been very hard since Isam was taken from us, when the man of the house is gone we have no livelihood and safety…All is even more difficult when we know Isam is tortured with his life in constant danger. I am putting myself in danger as well when fighting for Isam, but I turn to you now as I know the American government, with your guidance and leadership, has been making great efforts for Isam’s release… Please help us in doing everything possible to find justice for Isam and our family.
Last week, in Jerusalem, Hikind spent time with Akel’s family in a meeting he described as heartbreaking. “Who did this? Not Hamas, the recognized terror organization, but rather the Palestinian Authority—the so-called moderates and official government of the Palestinians. They perpetrated this crime against a U.S. citizen.” Following Hikind’s meeting with the family, he visited U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
“The President told me he will look into this situation,” said Hikind. “America defends its citizens and we are determined to do everything necessary to secure Issam Akel’s freedom.”
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