Former Gaza resident gives perspective on renewed hostilities as death toll mounts

The renewed clash between long-time antagonists has created concerns on both sides of the geopolitical equation, particularly with those very familiar with the Middle East region. 

"Audacious, and completely unlikely and completely unexpected. At least from somebody who has lived in Gaza," said Salem Ajluni, who called Gaza City home for five years, from 1996 to 2001.

His concerns, Monday, are of the friends in the last large-scare flare-up of Middle East tensions. Israeli force continued waging what the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called "war," following Saturday’s surprise attack by Hamas, the militant arm of the Palestinian government.

"In contact with them sporadically. I have not tried in the last few days to call or to email. I lived under Israeli bombing of Gaza myself," said Ajluni.

For Ajluni, a South Bay resident and family man, this renewed fighting is part of the ongoing Palestinian fight to secure what they see as their own homeland.

"It’s not like people woke up Saturday and decided we’re gonna go to war. There’s a build-up. There’s history. And what we’re seeing today is linked organically to the last 75 years," he said. "Wash, rinse, repeat. And here we are, doing it all over again," said University of New Haven Middle East policy expert Dr. Robert Sanders.

He said there are elements on both sides of the conflict who want peace.

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But, they’re being pushed away from it, and each other, by more radical elements. He said Palestinians must understand some justified grievances lose weight with each act of terrorism. The results will see unending wars of attack and reprisal.

"At the end of the day, those groups have to have a new narrative created, that allows them to all get to a point where it’s acceptable to give and take something that puts them in a peaceful state," said Sanders. Added Ajluni, "You can’t reach peace unless the underlying conditions are just and livable for everybody. And that’s what we should be focused on. What are livable conditions of Israelis, for Palestinians, what does that look like?"

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter), @JesseKTVU and on Instagram, @jessegontv