Every explosion in Gaza seems personal to Said Durrah.
The Washington-area resident has so many relatives in Gaza that he can't count them all: uncles, aunts, cousins, second cousins, and so on, in Zaytoon, Rimal and other Gaza communities. His mother is one of nine children, many of whom still live in the Palestinian territory.
"Every missile hits close to home, pardon the pun," he said. "It's the worst reality television you'd ever want to watch."
For example, when the past week's violence between Israel and Hamas' military wing in Gaza killed a family of 10 in Gaza, Durrah learned that he was distantly related to them. The family was an in-law of a cousin, he said.
"Gaza is very much the type of place where everybody is connected," said Durrah, 30.
Wednesday's cease-fire between Israel and Hamas has provided some comfort, until the smoke clears and the wreckage can be assessed in Gaza, Durrah said.
"A cease-fire may bring a little bit of relief, but when the cease-fire is done, they return to the status quo -- minus their homes," Durrah said. "They have to rebuild them without any means to do so, so it's going to be tough."
Arab-Americans, Muslims and the Palestinian diaspora are focusing renewed energy and concern on Gaza, a sliver of land along the Mediterranean coast that is about twice the size of Washington and is populated by 1.6 million people, including 1.1 Palestinian refugees.
"Palestine is a central issue for most Arab-Americans," said Laila Mokhiber, spokeswoman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
"Overall, Arab-Americans want to see an end to the siege on Gaza. Until that happens and until the Palestinians are able to exercise their basic human rights, we can't expect to see a lasting cease-fire or peace," Mokhiber said.
Many Arab-Americans say Gaza is under Israeli occupation. Durrah likened Gaza to "a cage," walled-in and cut off to the outside world by Israel.
Israel imposed an economic blockade on Gaza shortly after Hamas was elected to run the Gaza government in 2006.
That blockade -- as well as Israel's military might, backed by the United States -- has created humanitarian concerns in Gaza, according to the Arab-American group. The West Bank is also part of the historical conflict between Israel and Palestinians.
"The occupation of both the West Bank and Gaza and the blockade against Gaza -- as long as that is a reality, you're going to see tensions between Palestinians and Israel," Mokhiber said. "You have civilians against the fourth strongest military in the world. They're killing kids. They're killing civilians. It's not military against military."
Durrah owns an event management business that operates fund-raisers for Palestine. He's also a comedian who does stand-up in Las Vegas and Manhattan. But the carnage between Hamas in Gaza and Israel is no laughing matter, and he doesn't engage in the endless arguments so common in the Mideast about who started what in a centuries-long history, he said.
"What do you say about a place that has been occupied for more than 50 years," Durrah said. "This is a situation where people were born in occupation and lived their entire lives in occupation and died in occupation. It's crazy to me.
"If you cage an animal long enough, eventually when you get close to that cage, they're going to hiss at you and they may even scratch," Durrah said.
Durrah's family received a phone call Tuesday from relatives in Rimal, Gaza.
"They were literally telling my mother how glass shakes. They were just afraid. They don't know what tomorrow brings or what the next hour brings," Durrah said.
Those perils are difficult for Durrah to imagine. It's hard on him, too.