Violence in Gaza Affecting Midlands Residents

Both the Israeli government and Hamas haven't come to terms for a complete cease-fire agreement and that leaves many citizens on both sides of the aisle in danger. Midlands residents who have ties to the area are hoping for a lasting truce.

"That beginning sound of the siren it makes your heart pound, your knees weak," Risa Strauss said.

Almost ten years later, Risa Strauss remembers fearing for her life in crowded bomb shelters while living in Israel.

"They're hitting anywhere and they could injure anyone. They could injure an Arab person, it could injure a Palestinian, as well as injure a Jewish person," she said. "It's a horrible way to live."

It's equally hard not to be there while the people you love are caught in the middle.

"I feel helpless," Hussam Cheblak said.

Cheblak's family lived in what used to be Palestine.

Saturday afternoon in Five Points he rallied for peace.

"I hear from them every day about the devastating stories and like I said we had a local community member here lose her parents just recently so it's very touching, very saddening, and this needs to come to an end," he said.

On the other hand, Strauss has had limited contact with her friends in Israel.

But, thanks to a popular mobile game, she's recently been getting updates.

"All of a sudden I saw that her name came up on Words With Friends and I play every night and I was like, 'Wow,' and it said I had a message," Strauss said.

Although Palestinian and Israeli governments are butting heads, their people are asking for a truce.

"Everybody is human in the end, everybody wants to live in peace," Cheblak said.

Violence in the region has killed more than 1,000 people and has left about 6,000 injured.


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