Greensboro, NC -- A University of North Carolina at Greensboro professor said Monday the US needs to become part of the diplomatic effort to calm tensions in the Gaza Strip.
The fighting between Israelis and Palestinians goes back decades, and hate between groups in the area goes back centuries. Israelis and Palestinians have gone to war before, most notably in the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 that established the Gaza Strip.
Hamas is a Palestinian political party. Several world powers, including the United States, consider it a terrorist group. Its goal is to destroy Israel, and for years Hamas has lobbed rockets in to the country.
So why are things escalating now? UNCG political science professor Jerry Pubantz says part of the reason is because Hamas is getting increased support from Egypt and Iran. Another part is because Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is up for reelection.
"The leaders of Hamas think they are in a better position, a stronger position, certainly not to win a war against Israel -- but to force Israel into a conflict it cannot win, at least from the Gazans' point of view," Pubantz explained. "Netanyahu has an election coming up in January, and no sitting prime minister needs to look weak on actual attacks on your territory going in to an election."
Pubantz also suggest the US get heavily involved in finding a diplomatic solution. If diplomacy doesn't work, Pubantz says this could lead to a larger conflict that could draw in US troops and send gas prices even higher.
"We've just fought two wars in the Middle East that have taken thousands of American lives, that have cost maybe a trillion American dollars over the last 11 years," Pubantz said. "Conflict in the Middle East can pull the United States in, in ways that we did not intend and that have great cost for us."
WFMY News 2