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Advocates on Both Sides of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Hope Things Don't Get Worse

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As tensions once again flair in the Middle East, many New Yorkers are watching closely, and advocates on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict say they're hoping things don't get worse. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

Three Israeli teenagers are dead, found buried in a shallow grave earlier this week. The Israeli government blames Hamas for the kidnappings and killings.

On Wednesday, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy was found in a Jerusalem forest, and his family and Palestinian leaders say Jewish extremists are responsible.

Experts say this all may be shocking, but it is part of an all too familiar tale.

"So what you have is, you have now a vicious cycle, and this is exactly what need to be prevented," said Alon Ben Meir, professor at the NYU Center for Global Affairs.

Many people on both sides are concerned that this could lead to an outbreak of violence and even more bloodshed. Israel has launched air strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, and there have been reports of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel.

"The mood in Israel right now is very somber," said Michael Miller, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

"People are anticipating more violence in the coming days," said Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York.

There is also some concern that with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan underway, tensions could be inflamed even more. Supporters of the Palestinian cause say they are worried about overreaction from the Israeli government.

"Israeli defense forces are already retaliating against entire populations of Palestinian people and using the murders of these young Israeli boys as justification for that violence," Sarsour said.

Meanwhile, Jewish leaders say the recent reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority was not productive for peace. They say Hamas must recognize that a Jewish state is here to stay.

"Whatever is required of us to take to the streets, to show our support for Israel, we will," Miller said.

While the region is on edge, some are saying this could be the catalyst to finally turn the tide.

"This is our reality. This is a crisis," Meir said. "But let's see if there's an opportunity for a breakthrough, and the breakthrough in this sense is sitting down and resuming the negotiations."

With tempers flaring, though, that is somewhat hard to envision, at least for now.

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