On Tuesday August 26, 2014 at 19:00 hours, an unlimited ceasefire brokered by Egypt went into effect between Israel and Hamas. Nevertheless, Hamas fired rockets seven times at 19:02 and 19:09 – their usual modus operandi, a vainglorious attempt to insist that Hamas has the last word and upper hand in the conflict.
Summing it up
Significant portions of eastern Gaza are in ruins – structures used by Hamas to fire rockets and mortars at Israel. Nearly 1,000 Hamas operatives have been killed by the IDF, including very senior field commanders – possibly even the military head of Hamas, Mohammed Deif. Collateral damage (Gazans used as human shields by Hamas) stands at a little over 1,000. Internally displaced persons number between 200,000 and 475,000. Conservative estimates are that ten years will be required simply to rebuild what has been demolished. Hamas’ protestations of Islamist victory ring very hollow.
All major military attacks by Hamas were blunted.
- Their solitary naval commando raid was wiped out on the Zikim beach (www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/WATCH-Israeli-naval-vessel-helps-intercept-Hamas-commandos-who-stormed-beach-362079).
- The two Iranian drones sent to spy on Israel were both shot down (www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4545505,00.html).
- Their rockets were successfully intercepted in the skies (in nearly all cases) by the Iron Dome system (www.ijreview.com/2014/08/171709-video-israels-iron-dome-defense-system-shows-power-intercepting-15-hamas-rockets/)
- Their terror-tunnel networks were nearly totally destroyed, though in two cases terrorists succeeded in killing IDF soldiers and escaping back to Gaza (www.idfblog.com/blog/2014/07/31/everything-need-know-hamas-underground-city-terror/)
Hamas successes of this campaign include:
- deadly mortar attacks on kibbutzim and farms adjoining the Gaza Strip, which caused four Israeli civilian and ten IDF casualties. This resulted in at least 70% of Israeli farmers temporarily abandoning their homesteads
- forcing Israelis in the Negev to live with rocket attacks for fifty days (requiring instant running for shelter) on a repeated and regular basis
- the sowing of fear and lack of confidence in the government among Israel’s civilians in the south (www.newrepublic.com/article/119244/2014-gaza-conflict-part-hamas-long-effective-war-israel)
Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory
Asymmetrical warfare can enable small guerilla-type groups (in this case, Hamas) to inflict casualties on a much larger and better equipped military force (the IDF), especially in built-up urban areas with a packed civilian population. The use of civilian shields on Hamas’ part is one of the most successful parts of Hamas’ media strategy, giving Westerners a totally false picture of the nature and progress of the war.
Israel decided to hold off on a full ground invasion of Gaza, even though between 75-90% of Israelis surveyed were fully behind such a decision. It seems that three considerations led to this holding-back:
- A realization that an IDF occupation of Gaza and eradication of Hamas would result in 200-500 IDF casualties
- An ongoing IDF counter-terror presence would need to remain in Gaza for between one and two years
- International condemnation, censure and sanctions against Israel would dramatically increase during such an operation
On the other hand, the IDF had Hamas on the ropes, and a knock-out punch was a real possibility. Some Israeli strategists supported Hamas’ survival, while others suggested allowing the Palestinian Authority’s Abu Mazen to take over the running of Gaza. There are strategic problems here:
- Hamas’ raison d’être is based on unchanging war against Israel and the Jewish people, (www.acpr.org.il/resources/hamascharter.htm) and the total destruction of both. This is not a group that is amenable to dialogue or ecumenism. Hamas Charter’s Introduction states: “The Platform of The Islamic Resistance Movement (ed., Hamas): Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors”
- Hamas’ leadership immediately announced that any ceasefire will be used to rebuild its war chest and capabilities and to prepare for ongoing jihad. No agreement with Israel is worth the paper it is written on (www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Hamas-leader-Mashaal-says-latest-Gaza-conflict-with-Israel-not-the-last-372688; www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4660/gaza-war-over)
- Abu Mazen’s Palestinian Authority is considered weak and corrupt by most Palestinians. It has lost elections in Gaza to Hamas, and would lose if elections were held in the West Bank. Hamas has been plotting a violent overthrow of the PA in the West Bank with its right hand, while signing a PA/Hamas mutual cooperation agreement with its left hand. The PA also supports terror through its al Fatah and Tanzim terror groups (www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4639/abbas-gaza; www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Massive-Hamas-infrastructure-in-West-Bank-planned-to-topple-the-Palestinian-Authority-371409)
Israel’s leadership has decided to cut its losses and attempt to create a new political-military reality in Gaza – one where Hamas will not be able to re-dig terror tunnels or re-create a rocket arsenal. If these efforts fail, another war is coming down the pike rather quickly.
Hamas usually resorts to continued rocket attacks or terror incursions when negotiations are not going its way. This is a likelihood at the end of September, when negotiations will kick in again.
- Pray for YHVH the God of Israel’s armies (1 Samuel 17:45) to grant Israel’s leadership discernment, strategies and courage to handle these challenges
Victory of the zombies
In Brad Pitt’s zombie movie World War Z, murderous hordes of living dead swarm over every human obstacle, including Israel’s anti-terror wall, in their quest for world domination. A similar dynamic is occurring throughout the Middle East as ISIL/ISIS/ Da’ash swarm the border between Iraq and Syria and approach the border with Jordan (www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4354/isis-jordan).
Based on the warnings of the former Deputy Director of the CIA (www.ozy.com/c-notes/the-spy-who-told-me-israel-palestine-wont-quit/33037.article) and the former head of Australia’s Armed Forces (www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/well-fight-radical-islam-for-100-years-says-exarmy-head-peter-leahy/story-e6frg8yo-1227018630297), the threat of radical Islam’s jihadi swarms will be with us for at least 100 years. The threat is strategically grave, and it is increasing on a daily basis.
Hamas is the Gazan branch of Islamist jihad, and is spiritually connected at the hip to these other terrorist gangs. Al Qa’eda (and its offshoot al Nusra) may have been the big threat on September 11, 2001, but the threat has now metastasized and has engulfed the Middle East. Western countries are now voicing fears about home-grown jihadis returning to the UK, Germany, France and the USA. But the threat is even bigger than that, and must be spiritually discerned and spiritually cut off at the roots. The West at this point is frankly not up to the task.
- Pray for your leaders – for spiritual clarity, discernment and strategies to prosecute this war against jihadi Islam
- Pray for victory for your intelligence agencies, special forces and armies – for spiritual clarity, discernment and strategies as the battle is joined in ever-increasing ways
The happy ostrich
There are many examples of Western spiritual blindness and strategic paralysis. One of the latest is a quote from US President Obama at a recent press conference in Purchase,] NY:
“We are better off as a country than we were when I came into office…I promise you things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago or 30 years ago…Now, having said all that, a lot of people still feel anxious. And the question then is, why is it that if things have gotten better, why are people anxious?…The reason people are feeling anxious is that if you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart…A lot of it has to do with changes that are taking place in the Middle East in which an old order that had been in place for 50 years, 60 years, 100 years was unsustainable, and was going to break up at some point. And now, what we are seeing is the old order not working, but the new order not being born yet – and it is a rocky road through that process, and a dangerous time through that process…We’ve seen the barbarity of an organization like ISIL that is building off what happened with al Qaeda and 9/11 – an extension of that same mentality that doesn’t reflect Islam, but rather just reflects savagery, and extremism, and intolerance” (www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/29/remarks-president-dnc-event-purchase-new-york).
- Pray for the world’s political point-man, the President of the United States – that God would grant him increased spiritual discernment and courage to lead the mighty country over which he has been appointed leader and shepherd
Yeshua – our goal, our model, our Living Word
Hamas’ Charter states that “Allah is (Hamas’) goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief (ed. this is also the slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood)” (Article #8 – The Slogan of the Hamas). These are counterfeit spiritual goals. But they remind us of what our goals and our spiritual model should be – nothing less than Yeshua Himself (Hebrews 12:1-3)!
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do!
In Messiah Yeshua,
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