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Debris flies up as a bomb explodes after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip January 3, 2009. (REUTERS/Nikola Solic (GAZA)

Debris flies up as a bomb explodes after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip January 3, 2009. (REUTERS/Nikola Solic (GAZA)

There has been calls by the UN to end the Israeli ground assault into the Gaza Strip.  The humanitarian situation is critical in the Gaza Strip ever since Israeli forces started targeting Hamas with air strikes 18 days ago.  There was international uproar when a UN school was hit by an Israeli rocket that killed 40 Palestinians.

Israel defends her actions by saying that they want to prevent the constant rocket attacks by Hamas that shatters any sense of normalcy for their people.  How does one feel raising a child where there is a distinct possibility that a Hamas rocket could land in your child’s classroom on any given day? Israeli bomb squads deactivate potential bombs at least 8 times a day according to Morgan Spurlock’s film, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?

An Israeli boy walks into a bomb shelter in the southern city of Ashkelon, Israel on January 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

An Israeli boy walks into a bomb shelter in the southern city of Ashkelon, Israel on January 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

Meanwhile, Hamas wants to take back its land from the Israeli people that was seized illegally after the 1967 War through the building of settlements.  They win the hearts of the Gazan people by providing services (hospitals, policing) that the PLO and now Fatah did not do.  The Palestinian people has to go through countless checkpoints adding hours to their commute to work if they are lucky enough to have a job.  Unemployment is approaching 50% in the Gaza Strip leaving the men there with very few options to provide for their families.  Basic supplies are in short supply because Israel closed the borders citing rocket attacks as its reason.

The situation in Israel is disheartening.  Somehow they must realize that it is mutually beneficial to have a two state system because their respective economies would be able to thrive if there was peace. One major hurdle is the fact that the Palestinians are split amongst themselves between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  Israel can’t talk to Fatah because it doesn’t speak for all of its people, and Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel so Israel doesn’t want to legitimize them.

All people need is to believe that their children can have a better life and that they have ownership of their own destiny.  That’s not the case in the Palestinian territories.  This has to change for the region to move forward.

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