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South Florida residents monitor situation in Gaza as conflict continues between Israelis, Palestinians

Cease-fire, peace needed say both rabbi and local Muslim leader
Israel artillery fires toward Gaza Strip on May 18, 2021
Posted at 5:15 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 18:32:20-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Half a world away from the fighting and violence in Gaza, two men in South Florida are watching the conflict unfold.

Rabbi Andrew Rosenkranz in Wellington and Samir Kakli of the South Florida Muslim Federation are keeping abreast of the situation.

IN-DEPTH: Israel-Gaza conflict: A history of ongoing tensions

"Everybody is frustrated and worried," Rosenkranz said.

Rabbi Andrew Rosenkranz
Rabbi Andrew Rosenkranz says the United States government needs to get involved in the conflict and broker a cease-fire.

"It's really hard what's going on in Palestine," Kakli said.

The violent conflict between Jews and Palestinians is upsetting for both men. Attacks and rocket launches continue between Israeli forces and Hamas in Gaza, an area home to Palestinians loosely controlled by Israel.

It's been a simmering center of conflict for years that is now exploding.

"Yes, Hamas is a terrorist organization, and Hamas is in control in Gaza backed by Iran and their charter calls on the destruction of Israel, and that's part of the problem," Rosenkranz said.

"The root cause is not Hamas. The root cause is the settlement activity that is being sanctioned by the Israeli government," Kakli said.

Samir Kakli of the South Florida Muslim Federation
Samir Kakli believes Hamas is not the main cause of the conflict, instead citing settlement activity sanctioned by the Israeli government.

Both men say a cease-fire and peace are needed, yet it appears there are no signs of an immediate end to the fighting.

Both agreed the United States needs to be involved in finding a way for the two groups to end decades of conflict.

"You have to understand the Israeli point of view is they're not trying to be aggressive. They're trying to just ... to be able to live their lives in peace," Rosenkranz said.

"I think it's important we humanize this because lives have been lost. Palestinians are human beings. They can't be dehumanized any longer, and we have to call for an immediate cease-fire. Only then will there be hope," Kakli said.

Since the fighting began, at least 212 Palestinians have been killed by heavy airstrikes, including 61 children and 36 women. More than 1,400 people have been wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Ten people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, have been killed in the ongoing rocket attacks launched from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel.