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The current Gaza conflict –Tzuk Eitan meaning "strong cliff" also know as "Operation Protective Edge"– was officially started on July 8, 2014 between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). It is the deadliest conflict in the region since the second Intifada ("uprising"), which took place between 2000 and 2005. The death toll is over 2,200 and growing, and much of Gaza has been leveled leaving over 100,000 homeless. During this nearly two-month conflict many attempts have been made to bring it to an end. Various officials and governments such as US Secretary of State John Kerry, the Egyptians and others, have tried to initiate several cease-fires between Hamas and Israel.
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Hamas can be traced to the Muslim Brotherhood, founded by Hassan Al –Banna in 1928. The Muslim Brotherhood is a religious and political organization seeking the purification of Islam, although not a branch of Islam. Hamas itself started in 19873 as a militant group connected with The Brotherhood concerned with the area known as Palestine and aligns with the Sunni Muslim branch of Islam. It is agreed upon that the founders of Hamas were Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi & Mahmoud Zahar. What is important to note is that Hamas is the largest most active Jihad (holy war) group in Israel.
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No other land dispute attracts more attention or generates more debate than the Arab-Israeli conflict, as both sides contend for the attention and solidarity of the world. However, I am reminded what one of my professors in undergrad studies once wrote, “The most pressing truths are not in fact ‘profound’ truths, but how do we find the truth in midst of the all the narratives we are presented with?” We must rescue the straightforward and abundant historical facts from the ideologues. Also, as Mitchell Bard reminds us, “Israel’s enemies have become very sophisticated at manipulating the media.” It is necessary that we educate ourselves and be ready to respond to complex and often emotional (not to mention false) claims against Israel.
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In the perpetual tinderbox of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, tensions flared up once again a few weeks ago when Palestinian militants kidnapped and murdered three Jewish teenagers and a Jewish extremist retaliated by murdering a 16 year old Arab boy near his home in the West Bank. Jewish presence in the "Holy Land" began about four millennia ago, when God promised the land to Abraham and his descendants.
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The Arab-Israeli conflict is a geopolitical, economic, political and at times a spiritual battle. Because of all its different aspects, it makes it very complicated to control, let alone resolve. Yet there is another aspect of the conflict that cannot be ignored. It appears to be at the core of the issue and understanding it gives us the best chance at beating the beast. Israel has been forced to defend itself against Hamas and the continual shower of rockets from Gaza since the area was relinquished to the Palestinians in 2005. Even when Israel shows restraint, the proverbial finger is pointed at the Jewish state. It seems, the media is more interested in portraying the Palestinians as helpless victims than in reporting the truth.