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Fighting escalates between Israelis and Palestinians

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Fighting escalates between Israelis and Palestinians
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The fighting between Israelis and Palestinians continues to escalate, as Hamas takes credit for a rocket hitting just outside of Jerusalem. Our Erin Connolly has the latest on the situation in the Middle East.

ISRAEL --Palestinian militants targeted Jerusalem Friday for the first time in the three days of fierce fighting between Israel and armed groups in the Gaza Strip. Air raid sirens were heard throughout the city, and witnesses said they saw a stream of smoke in a suburb of the Capital City. Hamas took credit for a rocket hitting just outside of Jerusalem. Several rockets have already been launched into Tel Aviv since Wednesday.

Dr. Steven Leibo, a professor at The Sage Colleges said, "Hamas has been lobbying weapons and bombs into Israel for years, but not very effectively. What's changed is their ability to get to population centers more significant Tel Aviv and that area.''

Dozens of missiles exploded in Gaza City over the past few days, hitting the Interior Ministry and targeting about 150 other sites. Earlier Friday, Israeli leaders said they would suspend their offensive in the Gaza Strip during a visit by Egypt's prime minister, as long as there wasn't hostile fire from Gaza into Israel. Militants ignored the message, instead firing more than a dozen rockets toward Southern Israel during the visit. Israel responded by bombing the house of a Hamas commander in the Gaza strip.

Dr. Leibo said, "The single bottom line is that communities on both sides are trapped with leadership too often dominated by people with no imagination and no willingness to move to some reasonable compromise."

Many believe these latest attacks could draw an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza even closer.
Meanwhile, the U.N. chief is urging Hamas to end its rocket attacks on Israel and asking leaders there to exercise maximum restraint. We requested an interview with the Palestinian Rights Committee located in Albany, but our phone calls were not returned. We did talk to the chair elect of the Jewish Association of Northeastern New York.

Louis-Jack Pozner, the chair elect for the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York said, ''As a Jewish American, it's particularly upsetting but as an American who understands that Israel is the only democracy in that part of the world, they share our values and their prime minister is a native born American and its very distressing.''

And unfortunately it doesn't seem like peace in the Middle East is in the foreseeable future.

Dr. Leibo said, ''In the end, Americans like to think that everything can be solved and that's not necessarily the case here.''

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