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Making Sense Of Israel Issue

November 20, 2012, 4:54 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Making Sense Of Israel Issue

In recent days, an increasing number of missiles have hit targets in Israel.  Meanwhile, Israel has responded by firing back and killing leaders of the group known as Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  This is the latest round of violence to erupt surrounding Israel.

"Israel wants peace.  Palestinians want peace.  But they each have different ideas of how this should look," Augustana College Professor Murray Haar said.

Haar says calling the violence in the Middle East complex would be an understatement.

"What you have here are two groups that are living contiguous to each other, different understandings of history, different understandings of religion, different understanding of politics and no one trusts each other," Haar said.

Haar says the violence is the boil-over effect of those complex political and religious issues that have long created turmoil around Israel.

"Jews went to Israel to be safe and they are surrounded on all sides by people who don't like them," Haar said.

American presidents and leaders have long wanted to step in to help solve the issue for many reasons.  One is political; Israel is the only true democracy in that part of the world.  The other reason is economic.

"We don't want any large wars or any kind of nuclear war in that area. Why? Oil, we still get a lot of our oil from that part of the world," Haar said.

But if there is to be peace surrounding Israel, Haar believes it will be up to those who live in that area to create it.

Haar says the smaller issue that created this latest round of violence is Israel's blockade on Gaza.  Israel says it's to keep weapons out of Gaza, but Hamas leaders say it's preventing food and other necessities from reaching their area.

The professor adds that violence flares like this seem to be common because it's one way to get both sides to a bargaining table.

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