SCRANTON—As shells fall and smoke rises in Gaza, Dr. William Parente of the University of Scranton is paying close attention.
He has traveled extensively in the region and has taught about conflict in the area for more than half a century.
“I kind of suspected this would happen. The Israelis have been threatening they were going to retaliate big time in Gaza and the tunnels are the first place you want to hit because there are less civilian casualties there,” said Dr. Parente.
Israeli officials said they must hit terror tunnels in Gaza, which militants are using to transport and store ammunition and weapons to attack Israelis.
The Israeli military said Gaza militants have fired more than 13-hundred rockets into Israel.
Palestinians said more than 230 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli air and naval strikes.
“I believe that Israel can sometimes be a bully more so than anything else and I know that that’s not a very popular opinion and I’m not anti-Semitic in any way, but it does seem to be that they use overkill a lot,” said Jaelyn Robinson of Scranton.
“This is something that I’ve been reading about, seeing on television for all my life, so I think it is a little too far removed for most of us to sympathize with the people,” said John Lona of Scranton.
Dr. Parente said people on both sides, Israelis and Palestinians want peace.
The problem is Hamas, an Islamist group that dominates Gaza.
“Now we’re waiting to see if the other shoe is going to drop and we’re going to have a total occupation of Gaza,” said Dr. Parente.