Nazareth Professor Watching Violence in Gaza Closely
Israeli Airstrikes in the Gaza Strip killed a senior member of Hamas in the sixth day of a military offense meant to stop militant attacks on Israel.
An Israeli official says his country wants to find a diplomatic solution to the fighting but doesn't want to see a "quick fix'' that will bring renewed fighting months down the road. Instead, he says, Israel wants "international guarantees'' that Hamas won't re-arm, and won't use Egypt's nearby Sinai peninsula for militant activity.
The leader of Hamas says he won't accept any Israeli conditions.
A health official in Gaza says the number of Palestinians killed since the Israeli offensive began Wednesday has reached 96.
All the violence in Gaza is cause for unrest locally as well. With family, friends, and, students in Israel and Gaza right now, a local professor says it’s hard for him to see this continued fighting.
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It's very hard for Dr. George Eisen to see the same pictures you and I are seeing. It seems there's always been a violent history between Jewish Israel and the various Muslim groups surrounding it. but this recent barrage of rockets is a level we haven't seen in years.
"War is not an exact science. So, a lot of innocent people get hurt,” Eisen said.
Hundreds hurt, or killed, in the past week in Israel and Gaza, and as the death toll grows, so grows Dr. Eisen's heartache.
"Yes, I'm an Israeli. I've been in the Israeli Army. I understand both the political, as well as the military situation. Again, we already talked about it: there's no military solution there."
This is a battle, Dr. Eisen says, that's more over territory than religion. The timing, during an Israeli election year, does not surprise him.
"Every four years we have a war there. There is a coordination here, or you notice a correlation? I am not the only one noticing that here, I mean, come on. It's so obvious."
Dr. Eisen has loved ones and students to keep track of in Israel right now. The only consolation: in his eyes, this could be worse.
"It's not as bad, basically because neither side really wants to annihilate, or can annihilate each other. It's absolutely impossible."
Nazareth College has one former student living in the heart of Gaza, and a current student studying in Jerusalem. Dr. Eisen is in touch with both of them. Both are doing fine.
We asked if we could talk with that former student in Gaza, but Dr. Eisen says the phones are out there and we are still waiting on an e-mail from that former student in Gaza.