BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The war between Israel and Hamas has claimed at least 1,900 lives on both sides and the battle is only expected to escalate. At least 100 people are being held captive in Gaza. At least 14 Americans are dead and 20 are missing.
President Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday, condemning the attack and showing support for Israel. Biden vowed to send more military aid to Israel, which could be held up by Congressional deadlock as the House searches for its next speaker.
Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins and Republican Congressman Nick Langworthy spoke with News 4 about the growing conflict. They both condemned the attacks and called for a united, bipartisan effort from the House.
Some international politics experts are calling the clash one of the most complex of our time.
“Hamas has taken it to the next level,” Dr. Collin Anderson, political science professor at the University at Buffalo, said. “Their goal is to eradicate Israel at some point and Israel wants to remain where it is and continue to have its own state.”
Anderson says this conflict is rooted in deep geopolitical tension that stems back decades to when the United Kingdom controlled the region in the early 20th century.
“Previous to British Palestine, there was a contingent of Jews living in the area that is now Israel along with an Arabian population and they were living in relative harmony. It wasn’t until the UK came in and divided things up and said ‘This is yours and this is yours’ that problems started,” Anderson added.
Meanwhile, politicians on Capitol Hill are calling for a show of solidarity and support for Israel on both sides of the aisle.
“This was Israel’s 9/11. This can’t be downplayed. It can’t be equivocated,” Rep. Langworthy said. “It is so important that we stand united as a country and we send that clear and loud message, denouncing the hate of anti-Semitism.”
As the violence continues, Congress is still on pause. Without a Speaker of the House, the governing body can’t vote on or even discuss how the U.S. can support Israel until a speaker is elected. Both congressmen say the Jewish community in Buffalo is strong.
“We have an obligation to follow through and support their efforts to defend themselves and bring this horrible situation to a peaceful solution,” Rep. Higgins said. “The Jewish community in Buffalo is strong. It is united and they are speaking out.”
The FBI in Buffalo is also monitoring the events in the Middle East closely. The agency released a statement on Tuesday saying hate crimes and violence against Western New Yorkers will not be tolerated.
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Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.