FLORIDA

The Middle East has always been a major concern in foreign policiy. Over the past several months Israelis and the Palestinians have engaged in fighting that has killed countless people and injured even more.

While fighting continues, and President Clinton and his staff work diligently to secure peace in the Middle East before January; The University of Florida is preparing to send 120 students to Israel over winter break on the Birthright trip.

The United States has already shown the world that they are a friend to Israel, but now the crisis in the Middle East is escalating with no end in the near future.

The crisis seems to hit home a little more since you or someone you know might be going to Israel on the Birthright trip. As CNN reports the news many students have been paying closer attention to the Middle East and what has been developing there.

At the University of Florida the Islam group has been holding many protest and the Jewish Student Union (JSU) and Hillel have offered no reply except trying to discuss the matter in a peaceful demeanor. Many feel that the news and reports coming from credible news bureaus are jaded and falsified. Of the six thousand Jewish students at UF nearly 700 have been to Israel at least once and have seen accounts first hand.

A major theme for the Peace Process has been to be non-partial to either side, but with the news developing the story in a one sided manor this could possibly damage the relationship between Israel and the United States.

Israel and the U.S. cannot afford to damage their relationship because of financial circumstances and future foreign policy and military negotiations.

The United States is now faced with several challenges: find peace in the Middle East, not damage relationships, and protect any American civilians that may be travelling to that part of the world either foir pleasure or for international good will.

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