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Local leaders weigh-in on Israeli-Palestine situation

Posted at 10:11 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 01:11:56-04

Protests continue in the Middle East, a day after the United States officially moved it's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. So far, more than 50 Palestinians have been killed, and many more wounded. 

Here in Tucson, the conflict has local leaders weighing in on the situation.

To many, President Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, was a moment worth celebrating. 

"It really made me feel very proud, being an Israeli," Oshrat Barel said.

Barel is the Vice President of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. She moved here to Tucson from Israel. In her eyes, and many other Israelis' eyes, the embassy move doesn't change very much for them since they already recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That being said, it was a very special and big moment for the country, according to Barel.

However, with the amount of violence happening now in the area, and the many lives lost as a result of the decades long conflict, Barel explained it's a victory that comes with a heavy burden.

"None of these happy moments can be complete or whole, because you always know that -- this like, unbearable to know -- that your happiness, is at the expense of someone else's happiness," Barel said. "And this is not something that we can live with."

In Tucson, a group of about 50 people gathered downtown to show their support for the Palestinians. Many of them are criticizing the Israeli military's use of force over the past few days, and the United States for backing the country.

Among the demonstrators was Mohyddin Abdulaziz, a Palestinian-American. He believes the United States decision to move the embassy only brought Israelis and Palestinians further away from peace.

"This is wrong what our government is doing," Abdulaziz said. "It creates a situation where the conflict continues, and that is not good for the two people."

Both Abdulaziz and Barel say they want peace. But, the problem, as it's been for decades, is finding the peace.

"There is no magic solution that I can offer, or that someone can offer," Barel said. "That's the frustration that really eats us from the inside."