LUBBOCK, Texas — Israel-Palestine tensions have been soaring for years. But on Saturday, Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, attacked Israel without warning, shocking people around the globe. The Islamic community and a professor of political science in Lubbock provided expert insights and perspectives on the war.

Imam Samer, leader of the Islamic Center of the South Plains (ICSP) spoke with EverythingLubbock and said he believes injustice in both Israel and Palestine that has been going on for years is the reason for the tension.

Samer said ICSP feels bad about what is happening in Palestine and the lives being lost on both sides. Living in America, Samer said they see both the Israeli and Palestine side.

“We need Israeli to live in peace, we need Palestine to live in peace, we need to be fair to everyone,” said Samer.

President Joe Biden in an address on Tuesday condemned the attacks by Hamas, vowing that the U.S. would back Israel. Israelis and Americans alike have been held hostage and more than a dozen Americans have been killed, Biden confirmed.

According to Samer, ICSP has a different perspective.

“As long as there is injustice in occupied land and people being treated inhumanely and people being treated wrongly, then there is no possibility to see peace for people who live in that part of the world,” Samer said. “If we do not ask our leaders to start looking into these matters in a balanced way, we don’t think that the situation will end.”

Samer said the ICSP even has people from Gaza here in their community who have said their families in Gaza live for months with no food or water in a big Jewish prison.

“They do not have basic rights that others have,” Samer said. “This creates anger.”

Daehee Bak, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Texas Tech University also provided insights on the attack: “The massive surprise attack by Hamas on Saturday and ongoing hostage situations must have deeply shocked the Jewish community in Lubbock. As the Prime Minister of Israel openly warned, this conflict is likely to escalate into a ‘long and difficult war’ with many more civilian casualties on both sides.”

“This is the message of Islam, to bring all towards peace, peace that is arrived at when the truth is followed. For it is truth that leads to tolerance, to understanding, to acceptance, to compassion, and most cardinally, the understanding of the necessity to establish justice. This is the premise in which we build upon our belief and upon which we build our advocacy.

We, the Lubbock Muslim community, believe and strive towards peace as Islam means peace. We furthermore believe what is happening in Israel and Gaza of killing innocent civilians is tragic, senseless, and must stop. The situation, however, may not change unless justice in the region takes place and the oppressive occupation ends. Gaza, a densely packed area of over 2.4 million people, has been deprived of many essential necessities for life since the blockade has been enforced upon it, supporting what President Jimmy Carter described as an “open-air prison.”

Before discussing any further, we need to understand that we are dealing with human beings on both sides, both sides are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, people of one race and of a single identity, the human identity. Meaning it is objectionable to speak to the rights of one while forgetting the other, we must represent all objectively and fairly.

In the case of the recent outlash by the Palestinians, it is the greatest misconception to believe this occurred from nothing and was unprovoked. If we take a moment to reflect from their perspective, we can see that such response, although not necessarily justified, is understandable. For any person to undergo the pain of occupation, injustice, continuous humiliation, inhumane treatment, and above all, being ignored by the leadership of the world through all the suffering, would drive any normal person towards similar outcomes.

To help resolve this, the US, which is a strong and influential power of the world, must take on the role of a neutral and impartial body in this conflict to help put an end to these tragedies. Otherwise, the outlook for a peaceful and equitable solution for the two parties would remain grim and, unfortunately, inconceivable to reality.”

Imam Samer, Islamic Center of the South Plains

Russian President Vladimir Putin, also on Tuesday, described the latest Israel-Palestinian war as a result of failed U.S. foreign policy, according to an article from The Associated Press.

The Associated Press also said that the conflict has already killed at least 1,800 people and is not expected to slow. For live updates on the Israel-Palestinian war, click here.