YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – An Israeli diplomat predicts the war that started over the weekend in Israel will not end quickly.

Yuval Donio-Gideon spoke with local news outlets during an interview arranged by leaders of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation. He said militants had been preparing for war for months, catching Israelis by surprise.

“We as a responsible state have to make sure that this kind of atrocity will never happen again,” Donio-Gideon said. ” Shamefully, we weren’t able to intercept those preparations or interpret them properly, but we now, in retrospect, know that it was about one year in preparation.”

Suhad Hadi is president of the Arab-American Community Center of Youngstown and of Palestinian Heritage. She said people in the Gaza Strip live in what she claims is essentially an open-air prison.

“This is not just a 48-hour or three-day war. This has been something that’s been perpetuated for 75 years,” Hadi said. “There are over two million people living in the Gaza Strip, and they have no access to basic life necessities.”

Hadi claims the needs of Palestinians have been largely ignored and unheard for generations, but Donio-Gideon argues that’s just propaganda.

“You just look at the horrible video that is coming out from Hamas. This is the face of evil,” Donio-Gideon said.

“No one condones the loss of innocent lives on either side,” Hadi said.

At this point, there appears to be no end in sight to that.

“The sooner we can end this, the sooner lives can be saved because we are only going to see more deaths,” Hadi said.

The Arab American Community Center of Youngstown will host a vigil and panel discussion on the war in Israel on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. at the center on Belgrade Ave. in Liberty.