Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking the U.S. State Department to help Michigan residents get out of Gaza.
More than 600 Americans have been stuck in Gaza since the latest Israel-Hamas war broke out in response to the surprise terrorist attack in Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7, killing roughly 1,400 civilians and taking more than 200 people hostage. Some Americans in Israel have been able to leave with the help of the U.S. State Department, but Palestinians have had little chance to get out.
In a letter to the U.S. Secretary of State, Governor Whitmer requested an update on Michigan residents still in the war zone.
“In Michigan, we have so many families who are feeling the trauma and mourning the loss of innocent lives, and they are increasingly concerned about civilians in the Gaza Strip that are need of humanitarian aid,” the letter reads. “Since the crisis began, my office and many within the Michigan Congressional Delegation have heard from concerned families and friends who are worried about those they may know who now, innocently, find themselves in harm’s way.
“It is important that we all work together to get Michiganders to safety and back with their families.”
More than 8,500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in the region since the start of the war, according to the the Gaza Health Ministry, and many others have been displaced.
Whitmer recently canceled a speech set for a fundraising event in Dearborn for the Health Unit on Davison Avenue or HUDA Clinic, a free health clinic in Detroit founded by Muslim leaders that serves all communities.
Arab American activists planned to protest Whitmer’s visit because she has not called for a ceasefire in Gaza or — in the activist’s view — shown sufficient concern for Palestinians amid the ongoing conflict.
Whitmer said in a statement that she did not want her speech in Dearborn to create a distraction and pledged to ask members of Congress to “bring families stranded in Gaza back home to Michigan.”