DEARBORN, Mich (FOX 2) - Sitting in his office, 9,000 miles away, Osama Siblani, editor of the Arab American News with some perspective on the war in Gaza.
"Gaza is only 365 kilometers, which is the size of Detroit," he said.
A disputed territory, Gaza is a hotbed of turmoil between Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinian people there have been through five wars in the last 15 years with Israel, which controls the region and what comes in and out of it. Siblani says that’s where the fight lies.
"Therefore it is under siege, and they cannot get a drop of water or anything without the approval of Israelis," he said. "And therefore they have been under the control of the Israelis, even though Israel left Gaza 20 years ago," he said.
All of this was supposed to be resolved back in 1993 when Palestinian leaders and Israeli leaders met at the White House and signed an agreement that was supposed to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In exchange, Palestine was supposed to recognize Israel as a state as well.
But that Oslo Accord didn’t really take. The region has been mired in war since. Hamas, which the United States recognizes as a terror group, bubbled up from the lack of progress.
"Every time you have a problem that is not addressed properly, organizations, or individuals come in with radical solutions," Siblani said. "Yes, Hamas is radically approaching this situation, but that’s a result of oppression for a long period of time. So Hamas wants a Palestine to be independent."
Siblani says Palestinians have been fighting the occupation. Siblani makes it very clear, civilians being tortured and killed, kidnapped, kept from basic necessities on both sides of this conflict is wrong.
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"It’s unfortunate. No one condones the killing of civilians come out whether they are Israelis or Palestinians," he said. "The fact is, if we do not address the core issue, which is occupation that happened 75 years ago, we are not going to be able to resolve this issue. It will happen again, and again, and more casualties and more civilians. And instability in the region."
As for Metro Detroit, known as a mosaic of Jewish and Arab-Americans, living in the same region, Siblani says love needs to permeate between the two groups here even as war rages on overseas.
"We don’t have any problem in Detroit between the Israelis and the Jews and the Arabs," he said. "We don’t have any problem. We live in a free country, and, everyone has an opinion. But I have friends in the Jewish community that I love. And this is not going to happen, it’s not gonna do anything between me and them, other than working together, harder, and better."
Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News