Middle East violence hits close to home

To demonstrate the global impact of the conflict in Israel and the Gaza Strip, you don't have to look far. UAB students for justice in Palestine held a demonstration Friday afternoon on campus.

A representative from the Birmingham Jewish Federation is preparing for a journey that will take him into the middle of the conflict.

The fight between Palestinians and Israeli's has been a struggle, since Israel became a state in 1948. Still, many here in Birmingham hope and pray for a peaceful resolution.

"We want people to know about the atrocities being committed there," Farah-Al-Farhan, with students for justice in Palestine says the violence in the Gaza Strip has claimed too many innocent lives. "You can't tell a people who have been moved out of their land, internally displaced, some of them don't have the right to return to their land, that they should just accept it and be ok with it," said Al-Farhan.{}While this most recent bloodshed has the appearance that war between the Palestinians and Israelis is imminent, Dr. Fred Shepherd a political science professor at Samford University says, this is not the first threat of all out war. "This is something that every so often Israel may see, it's not exactly like anything. You can go back to the first Persian Gulf War, there's a constant sense of tension between the two areas," Shepherd said.Shepherd agrees, however, that unlike previous conflicts, this time Israel appears ready to take further action. "It's pretty clear with the bombing, the threats of a land war, you can tell they might do it, you can tell they are using it as a tactic to get someone to back off," says Shepherd. At the Birmingham Jewish Federation, Daniel Odrezin will leave for Tel Aviv on Saturday morning.

Odrezin will be taking part in a 'solidarity mission'.

"This is a personal experience for us all," says Odrezin. "To demonstrate to the people of Israel that the Jewish community in the United States and Canada continues to support them in solidarity. As well as meeting with leaders on the ground to get a better understanding of what is going on."Odrezin has family living in the southern part of Israel.

He says ultimately, he hopes the violence will stop before more lives are lost.

"My hope is that we will see a cease fire and a peaceful resolution as soon as possible," says Odrezin.