Caresse Jackman

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Video: Local Professor and Student Discuss Deadly Crisis in Gaza

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- The crisis continues in Israel and Gaza tonight. More than 100 people have died since Israel and the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, started firing missiles.

Both Israel and Hamas – the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza – say they want a diplomatic solution to the escalating violence. But, that solution seems slim as both sides continue to fire at one another.

Political Science professor, Dr. Brian Anderson, has been closely monitoring the situation in Gaza.

“You have a highly concentrated group of Palestinians numbering 1.7 million, living in the Gaza strip which is far smaller than Lowndes County. The frustration comes from the moment Hamas won power in 07, there was a blockade, which covers not only the land crossings into Israel but also out at sea in the Mediterranean..to prevent commerce. But Israel also believes it will prevent a lot of arms smuggling into the Gaza strip so the Gazans feel they’re being completely squeezed by Israel. They want their rights of statehood but Israel is very concerned about the nature of this statehood if Hamas is involved in political authority because Hamas is labeled by the US as a terrorist organization,” says Anderson.

It’s a crisis the United States must pay very close attention to.

“You will see an up-swelling of demand by Muslim populations in North Africa and the middle east, even in South Asia that this one population of Muslims have been the poster child of victimization for the past half century, need to be protected more than ever before and that the main threat to them is Israel and Israel’s major supporter, the United States,” says Anderson.

A recent CNN poll shows 57% of Americans support the Israeli strike and 60% of American s are generally sympathetic towards Israel. Jase Sayre, is one of those Americans.  He is a student at MUW and a member of Christians United for Israel, the largest pro-Israeli group in the country. Sayre says Israel has every right to defend themselves.

600-1100 rockets have launched at Israel this year. They’re targeting Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, a place with 3 faiths,” says Sayre.

Sayre doesn’t believe Israel won’t back down if Hamas continues to target civilians.

“Hamas has come out and said they’re not going to stop shooting rockets well, of course Israel’s not going to stop defending itself. It’s a tricky situation,” says Sayre.

Like the rest of the world, Sayre can only hope, both sides can reach some sort of peace, before the powder keg, that is the middle east, explodes .

“In a situation like this, no side is perfect..no country is perfect, they’re got to work together for peace to happen,” says Sayre.

President Obama is hoping Israel doesn’t result in a ground war, which could threaten future peace talks.