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Hope In The Middle East

Updated: Tuesday, August 5 2014, 10:38 PM CDT

Right now we're in the middle of a seventy-two hour cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. And it's a huge relief for family and friends back here in Central Texas that have been watching and praying for peace.

For the last month Jay Rubin has watched, waited, and prayed from his home here in Austin. The CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin has traveled to Israel dozens of times.

He has friends and family there -- including an 18-year-old cousin who serves with the Israeli army.

"It represents a real escalation. Hamas for the most part has been non-stop terrorizing the people that live close to the border in the southern part of Israel," Rubin says.

But not everyone here sees it that way.

"Israel is committing ethnic cleansing and genocide against the innocent population of Gaza. Gaza has been under siege for eight years now and they've been bombarded, innocent women and children are being killed," says Haithem Elzabri

A few weeks ago Elzabri joined a growing group in Austin supporting Palestinians -- calling on the U.S. to stop funding Israel and demanding the fighting stop.

He has family and friends in Gaza and the West Bank. "My friends in Gaza tell me that life is terrifying. Their children can't sleep at night," Elzabri says.

Both men say after thousands have died -- and so much damage is left behind -- peace must come.

The Israelis and Palestinians each have a delegation in Cairo. Egyptian mediators are talking with both sides -- we'll stay on top of how those talks go.

By Ericka Miller

Hope In The Middle East

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