Sarasota Jewish community discusses Middle East peace

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Palestinian-American teen who was allegedly beaten by Israeli soldiers returned home to Florida Wednesday night.

Tariq Abu Khdeir, age 15, flew into Tampa International Airport from Israel late Wednesday evening with his mother, greeted by about 50 cheering supporters waving Palestinian and American flags. Israeli authorities released the teen shortly after his arrest for his participation in violent protests over the death of his cousin, 16 year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Three Israelis have been indicted for Khdeir's death. Prosecutors allege the killing was an act of retaliation for the Palestinian murder of three Israeli teens in late June.

While this teen returns to safety in Tampa, the crisis between Israel and Gaza continues. A five-hour ceasefire today, which allowed humanitarian assistance into Gaza, ended promptly as Palestinian militants resumed rocket attacks into Israel on Thursday afternoon. With hundreds dead and continued aggression from both sides, there seems to be no end to the conflict in sight.

Meanwhile, here in Sarasota, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) will host a Lunch & Learn lecture this afternoon featuring Jason Isaacson, AJC’s Director of Government and International Affairs. Isaacson will delve into whether there is indeed a realistic path to an Israeli-Palestinian solution. 

As the violent conflict continues abroad, our Suncoast community shows efforts to grasp what is happening in the region, and understand the prospects for reaching a lasting peace.