FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – The pain of the conflict in the Middle East is hitting home for some families in South Florida.

Debbie Gober, who lives in Broward County, thinks every day of her cousins in Israel.

“It breaks my heart to see the video coming across that the schools are affected, playgrounds, people’s living areas,” she said.

Eric Stillman who also has family and friends in Israel added, “I can’t imagine living like that for days or weeks on end.”

Both said the most frightening stories are about the sirens warning of impending missile strikes.

“In 15 seconds they have to be somewhere. They have to be in safety. We hear our alarm and in 15 seconds we can’t even get out of bed,” said Gober.

“They realize their very lives are at stake so they’re literally dropping everything that they’re doing and they’re running for shelter and that’s something that we can’t relate to,” said Stillman.

Palestinians in South Florida are also concerned for relatives in the Middle East.

Maher Almasri, who owns Al Salam International Market in Plantation, said his customers are nervous.

“They’re worried about their families. One of them, he lost his father,” said Almasri. “The house got demolished on the family and the father passed away and all the rest they got injured.”

With decades of fighting in that area of the world, Middle East expert Ira Sheskin said it’s not yet clear how this conflict will end.

“Where we hope it doesn’t go is with a ground invasion, because a ground invasion will mean a lot of deaths on both sides. On the other hand there will never be peace here until Hamas is gone from Gaza,” he said.

Despite the history of fighting, Sheskin has not given up hope for peace.

“There’s always hope for peace because the alternative is just continuing war,” he said.


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