In 48 hours a total of 690 rockets and mortars were fired against Israeli civilians by the Islamist jihadi terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). At 04:30 local time on Monday May 6 both jihadi groups unilaterally and anonymously announced a cease-fire:
A third terror group (the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine / DFLP) was given permission to present information about the cease-fire to international media.
The mediation was sponsored by the United Nations, Egypt and Qatar though all three sources insisted on anonymity:
Israel has not acknowledged a cease-fire. PM Netanyahu stated that “the campaign is not over. It requires patience and deliberation. We are preparing to continue” (www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/netanyahu-israel-hit-gaza-terror-groups-hard-but-preparing-to-continue-campaign/).
What does this all mean? What is actually happening?
Jihadi perspectives – ‘jihad at any time is good’
Hamas and PIJ reflects the Koranic view that the rough-and-tumble of jihad involves the real possibility of death – either of the non-Muslim or of the mujahid (jihad warrior). Article #15 of the Hamas Covenant explains: “In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad … We must imprint on the minds of generations of Muslims that the Palestinian problem is a religious one, to be dealt with on this premise. ‘I swear by that who holds in His hands the soul of Muhammad! I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill’” (https://davidstent.org/hurtling-through-the-fog-of-war-a-messianic-perspective-on-the-new-hamastan/). The Koran says, “They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed (Quran, Surah at-Tawbah 9:111; https://quran.com/9/111; see also Sahih al-Bukhari 51:1)
For these terrorists, dying in battle is honorable – similar to Japanese kamikaze in World War II. What is important is to attack and kill the ‘unbelievers’ in the land of Israel. This religious motivation drives Hamas and PIJ and overwhelms other military considerations.
The recent conflict on Friday, May 3, 2019 began when Islamist snipers shot into Israel from Gaza, wounding two IDF soldiers. Israel’s military response on a nearby Hamas observation post resulted in a pre-planned Hamas/PIJ campaign of rocket and mortar attacks against Israeli farms, kibbutzim, towns and cities (www.timesofisrael.com/idf-nabs-gazan-armed-with-knife-who-breached-border-fence-into-israel/).
A similar ambush/setup occurred on January 22, 2019 when a PIJ sniper fired into Israel and wounded an IDF officer (www.timesofisrael.com/lebanese-tv-airs-footage-of-gaza-sniper-shooting-idf-officer-in-helmet/).
- The hair trigger response of PIJ and Hamas on Friday reveals their preparedness and extensive pre-planning. This was a jihadi attack waiting to happen.
Jihadi perspectives – ‘Palestinian rights are not the issue’
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri stated on Monday, “Our message is that this round is over, but the conflict will not end until we regain our rights.” This is a politically correct soundbite, but it actually is deceptive disinformation on Hamas’ part (www.timesofisrael.com/as-ceasefire-goes-into-effect-netanyahu-says-gaza-campaign-not-over/).
According to the Hamas Covenant, separate national identities have no Islamic validity. Only one international Islamic Caliphate is acceptable. This applies regarding Israel and the world: “The Platform of The Islamic Resistance Movement: Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors” (Hamas Charter Introduction).”
- The ‘rights’ described by Hamas are not based on Jeffersonian Democracy or the French Revolution, but on jihadi conquest of the whole world.
Jihadi perspectives – cat and mouse
Hamas and PIJ see themselves as the cutting edge of an international Islamist movement. They can afford to initiate and even lose battles because they are convinced that they will ultimately win the final war:
- “The Movement(‘s)…time dimension extends back as far as the birth of the Islamic Message and of the Righteous Ancestor. Its ultimate goal is Islam, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution” (Article #5).
- “The reinstitution of the Muslim state” (Article #9 – Motives and Objectives).
- “The land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf (ed. irrevocably Islamic land, never to be owned again by non-Muslims) throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection. No one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President…has that right … This is the status (of the land) in Islamic Shari’a, and it is similar to all lands conquered by Islam by force … Any demarche in violation of this law of Islam, with regard to Palestine, is baseless” (Article #11).
Hamas and PIJ initiated this round of fighting. They fired many rockets and mortars, caused four Israeli deaths and many wounded. Though Islamist forces also endured casualties (including the removal of some top Hamas leadership), their organizations are intact and most of their tunnels, command-and-control centers, long-range rockets and short-range mortars are safe. Hamas/PIJ see this as a tactical victory. Their spokesman says, “The resistance succeeded in deterring Netanyahu’s army, and dragged its nose through the dirt. Our message is that this round is over but the conflict will not end until we regain our rights” (www.timesofisrael.com/may-6-2019/).
Hamas/PIJ are planning for the next round of attacks. Probably Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Islamic Republic of Iran are sitting in on some of these meetings. The war is by no means over.
Israel made the decision not to destroy Hamas and PIJ, since that would have caused many Gazan casualties. The terrorists locate their HQ’s and rocket launchers smack dab in the middle of Gaza’s civilians. They aim their rockets directly at Israeli civilians. So for right now the jihadis are still in the Gazan saddle.
The political and military leaders of Israel are doing the best they can in trying circumstances. It is sometimes said that a bad peace is better than a good war. However, faced with the combined Islamist forces of the Middle East who see jihad as a high religious calling, the above proverb needs to be reworked.
As God is raising up His Ezekiel 37 army (see Ezekiel 37:9-14), it is worth meditating on some prophetic Scriptures that have special relevance for days ahead.
The first from Isaiah 11 describes a future Israeli complete takeover of Gaza, as well as triumph against enemies who use Jordan as a base of operations against the Jewish state:
- “Then it will happen on that day that YHVH will again recover the second time with His hand, the remnant of His people, who will remain – from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath and from the islands of the sea.And He will lift up a standard for the nations and assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. They will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west. Together they will plunder the sons of the east. They will possess Edom and Moab, and the sons of Ammon will be subject to them” (Isaiah 11:11-14)
The second is from Psalm 83 which describes a future Israeli triumph over its many Middle Eastern enemies:
- God, do not remain quiet! Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still.For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, and those who hate You have exalted themselves.They make shrewd plans against Your people and conspire together against Your treasured ones.They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.”For they have conspired together with one mind. Against You they make a covenant:the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,Moab and the Hagrites;Gebal and Ammon and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;Assyria also has joined with them;They have become a help to the children of Lot. Selah.
- Deal with them as with Midian, as with Sisera and Jabin at the torrent of Kishon, who were destroyed at En-dor, who became as dung for the ground. Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb and all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna who said, “Let us possess for ourselves the pastures of God.” O my God, make them like the whirling dust, like chaff before the wind. Like fire that burns the forest and like a flame that sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with Your storm. Fill their faces with dishonor that they may seek Your name, O YHVH. Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, and let them be humiliated and perish – that they may know that You alone, whose name is YHVH, are the Most High over all the earth.
The ultimate result of these ‘Wars of the Lord’ will be very different from the halting steps we now see.
How should we then pray?
- Pray for God’s strategies to guide Israel’s leaders and military
- Pray for the frustration of the enemies’ strategies, planning and communications
- Pray for Messiah Yeshua to be revealed to many hungry Jewish hearts
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army throughout the earth
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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