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Hope for peace, long-term solution in God's Land

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Following a six-month cease-fire, the Israeli Army recently invaded the Gaza Strip in an effort to end rocket and mortar fire received from the radical Palestinian group Hamas.

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This move was taken on Dec. 27, and the consequent fighting between Israel and Palestine has continued since then. Thus far, the results have been grim.

Nearly 700 Palestinians have died, about half of them being civilians. Worst of all, about 130 of those civilians are children. Since the ground attack, 10 Israelis have lost their lives. If matters continue in their present form, these figures will soon be inaccurate.

However, I would be very surprised if one thing about this "war" changes before it is all over: the fact that innocent lives on both sides of the spectrum are ending and, if not that, changing forever.

The Jews are no strangers to civilian losses. Time and again, they have endured oppression and proven to the world that they are not easily defeated. It seems, to loosely quote Fredriech Nietzche, that "what does not kill them, makes them stronger."

Led by Moses, they survived the whip of the Egyptian slave-master. Thousands of years later, they watched as Europe killed millions of their own. And to this day, anti-Semitism prevails in many regions of the world.

Every time, though, they have emerged yet stronger than before. No one can exactly say what it is that drives them to survive when it would obviously be much easier to simply give up. Some credit their faith in a brighter day, in which God will ultimately avenge their enemies and restore Israel, or that they are God's Chosen People.

Others feel that it their belief that suffering has a purpose, which impels them to persevere through the worst of circumstances. Still others are convinced that the Jews really do have God on their side.

A lot of the media attention has rightfully focused on the suffering and destruction the people of Gaza are experiencing. Opinions are divided on whether the Israeli reaction has outweighed the threat to their people by Hamas. The world is divided on this issue. Some feel that Israel has no choice but to defend themselves from the rocket fire, and see the civilian deaths as an inevitable -- albeit horrible -- consequence.

Others feel that Israel had no business invading the Gaza strip and did it out of vindictiveness rather than necessity. The most ironic instances of this opinion are signs held by Gaza War protestors in Germany equating the Nazi Holocaust with their actions in Gaza.

I have a problem with that analysis, for the Nazis killed the Jews for no other reason than their heritage, not because they threatened them in any way. Thus, any parallels people may draw between the Holocaust and the current Gaza war are desperate, deceptive and unfair. As for myself, I am certain that our country's response in a similar case would be no different from the course of action Israel is taking.

The innocent civilians caught in the middle of this deadly game of politics and religion are no different than most of us, with the same hopes and dreams as us, the same every day hassles and frustrations. Indeed, the main difference between these civilians and us is that these people live in constant fear that a rocket might land on their homes.

There is very recent talk that a ceasefire and some longer-term solution may be in the offing. I hope that the warring nations will follow through with this, and allow peace to once again find its way into God's Promised Land.

Nathan Kitzmann is a sophomore at Detroit Lakes High School.

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