Gaza conflict hits home

January 3, 2009 8:41:00 PM PST
After a brutal air offensive and as the ground invasion continues in Gaza, supporters of the Palestinian movement here in our region watch intently.Ribhi Mustafa says he's been unable to sleep since the escalation in violence.

His mother and father live in the West Bank, far from the fighting.

The 33-year-old condemns the Israeli incursion.

"The Israelis always say that these locations were used to fire rockets or used for storage for weapons which is totally untrue," Mustafa said.

Israel's offensive is in response to rocket attacks into southern Israel by Hamas.

Asaf Romirowsky served in the Israeli army and his mother lives in that region.

He says so far, she's been unharmed, but he worries about her daily.

The Middle East analyst believes Israel must do what it needs to keep its people safe.

"Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization by both the US and Israel and they've been very clear they are targeting only Hamas militants," Romirowsky said.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has deep roots and neither Romirowsky nor Mustafa have much hope for peace.

Both believe deeply in their cause and for now, they can only sit and watch.

"We're all concerned, in a time of war, this is a very delicate situation and unfortunately, there is probably going to be casualties on both sides, but we do hope for the best," Romirowsky said.

"As far as myself, my family, and the majority of people I know, we've always advocated for peace; it's one of our biggest dreams," Mustafa said.

Mustafa has been involved in several protests here in Philadelphia over the conflict and he says more are planned if the Israeli offensive continues.

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