Bob Dylan once wrote one of the most powerful and prophetic descriptions of the uneasy relationship between Israel and the nations in his song ‘Neighborhood Bully.’ Here are some selected lines from that song:
- Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man. His enemies say he’s on their land. They got him outnumbered about a million to one. He got no place to escape to, no place to run. The neighborhood bully just lives to survive. He’s criticized and condemned for being alive. He’s not supposed to fight back, to have thick skin. He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in. The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land. He’s wandered the earth an exiled man. Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn. He’s always on trial for just being born. Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim that he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him. There’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back and a license to kill him is given out to every maniac. Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone – Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon. He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand – In bed with nobody, under no one’s command. Now his holiest books have been trampled upon. No contract he signed was worth what it was written on – ‘Neighborhood Bully,’ words & music by Bob Dylan © 1983 by Special Rider Music
The Strong Horse
Investigative reporter Lee Smith’s penetratingly astute analysis (also see his most recent article about recent White House withholding of information from Israel regarding pending Hamas attacks) of Middle Eastern political realities ‘The Strong Horse: Power, Politics and the Clash of Arab Civilizations’ (Doubleday, 2010) draws its name from Osama Bin Laden’s dictum “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse” (CNN interview December 13 2001). This ‘strong horse’ philosophy guides the Islamic and Arab world more than Western appeals to material prosperity, technological advancement or even the allure of peace. Middle Easterners have spent the past 4,000 years perfecting their political radar regarding this dynamic. Historically speaking, survival in the Arab and Islamic world depends on spotting the rising dictator (the strong horse) and siding with him. The strong horse in the Middle East was Osama bin Laden’s jihadi philosophy and right now it is Iran and its proxies. It alone is succeeding in thumbing its nose at the world greatest superpower. It alone is stinging and goading Israel (the Middle East’s most powerful army) through Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Syria and the Yemenite Houthis. And it alone is stirring up the Shi’ite masses of Iraq and the Gulf States, where much of the West’s oil lounges in Babylonian luxury.
The West wants to eradicate Islamic terror networks, but at the same time it wants to avoid angering the very volatile Muslim world. The trick is to find a balance between keeping the oil flowing westward and removing the most bothersome terrorist dangers. This explains recent American and British declarations emphasizing that the Afghanistan, Iraq and Hamas wars are not anti-Islamic, but only anti-terror operations. The Western coalition feels that it makes better political sense to ignore the Islamic and terrorist nature of jihad, describing the Islamic faith as altogether peaceful, than to expose the violent Islamic nature of jihad and lose many testy and touchy Muslim allies – and their oil. It is of strategic importance to recognize that the world media is spreading spiritual disinformation about radical Islam under the guise of disseminating ‘politically correct’ religious opinions. Radical Islam’s goals include the destruction of America and Israel and the Islamization of the entire world. The secular West, having for the most part rejected its own Christian religious foundations, does not take radical Islam’s open agenda seriously.
The Islamic world is carefully watching the West, and especially America. It watches every faux pas – every stumble, every mumbled or misspoken comment – and concludes that America is no longer the strong horse it used to be. Iran in particular watches with patience and shrewd humor as America tries to out-haggle the Persians at the nuclear bazaar.
The Arab world remembers the unspoken belief system guiding American policy which was voiced behind closed doors by then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in his December 17, 1975 meeting with Sadun Hammadi, Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs in Paris. A declassified State Department document quotes from the minutes of that meeting:
- “Israel does us more harm than good in the Arab world”
- “We can’t negotiate about the existence of Israel but we can reduce its size to historical proportions”
- “I think in ten to fifteen years Israel will be like Lebanon – struggling for existence, with no influence in the Arab world”
- “If the issue is the existence of Israel, we can’t cooperate. But if the issue is more normal borders, we can cooperate”
- “I think the Palestinian identity has to be recognized in some form … (It) will be a tremendous fight … (but) no solution is possible without it”
When former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rammed through a unilateral Israeli disengagement/withdrawal from Gaza in August-September 2005, my wife Rachel then commented then it seemed the ghetto-ization of Israel had started. In a similar way to how the Nazis rounded up Jews from a large area and concentrated them into a smaller area, so Israel was succumbing to international pressure and overseeing that process by itself. It began years before, with the Camp David withdrawal from Sinai and Western Gaza in April 1982, and then the opening of the gates of the West Bank (including Jericho and Gaza) to arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat and his PLO gangs in May-July 1994. Right now, Israeli families are being evacuated by the Israeli government from their farms and towns near Gaza and from the northern border abutting Lebanon out of concern to avoid greater civilian casualties from jihadi attacks. Kissinger’s endgame dynamic is still in action. As POTUS Biden announced on Sunday October 15, 2023, “There needs to be a Palestinian authority. There needs to be a path to a Palestinian state . . . As hard as it is, we cannot give up on peace. We cannot give up on a two-state solution.”
As the religious philosopher William James has said, “We tend to disbelieve all facts and theories for which we have no use.” (William James, The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy, New York: Dover Publications, 1956). The New York Times masthead still repeats the famous slogan “All the news that’s fit to print,” though that newspaper has fallen from grace in recent days. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. Israel’s purchase of the F-35 I Adir has given it a qualitative edge over most fighter aircraft in the Middle East, for which Israel and its people are very thankful. Yet there are some strategic issues similar in nature to that of the American X-band radar (described in our last newsletter), as Caroline Glick points out in the Jerusalem Post:
- “The F-35 is controlled by the Autonomic Logistics Information System. The ALIS is a central computer system, located in the US. All F-35s all over the world will be required to log into the ALIS system to upload computer files after each flight and to check flight readiness . . . ALIS has the capacity to prevent F-35s from taking off. ALIS can lock out pilots and ground crews if it sees danger . . . Dan Grazier . . . warned that this power renders the entire F-35 fleet vulnerable to hackers. If someone were able to convince the computer that something was wrong across the fleet, they might be able to keep all the F-35s grounded. Although the damage wouldn’t be permanent, it could continue long enough to cause the US or an ally to lose a battle or fail a mission. For Israel, this vulnerability is prohibitive even if ALIS is ever made to work. The significance of ALIS control over all F-35s worldwide is that the US – and anyone able to hack the US system – will control the Israel Air Force [IAF]. It will operate at the pleasure of the US government, and those able to hack US computers. They will be able to ground IAF planes whenever they wish. This critical problem was acknowledged obliquely by Lt.-Col. Yotam, the commander of Israel’s first F-35 or Adir squadron, in an interview with Israel Defense in April. Lt.-Col. Yotam said, ‘The maintenance concept of the Adir is based on international management and logistics in terms of spare parts and maintenance echelons.’”
Does Hamas take orders from the White House?
The White House has made some tough pronouncements in the past few days about American goals and influence in Israel and Gaza. This section looks at some of these statements and compares them to what is actually happening on the ground.
1. Humanitarian aid to not go through Hamas?
US President Joe Biden stated while on the way back from his wartime visit to Tel Aviv on Wednesday that the main reason for the whirlwind trip was to coax Israel and Egypt to allow the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. “When we took off, my goal was multifold, but basically to get humanitarian aid into Gaza and to get as many Americans out who wanted to get out . . . as possible,” Biden told reporters during a rare visit to the press section on Air Force One . . . “We got a commitment… from the Israelis, including their unanimous vote of their war cabinet and the Prime Minister” not to block the entry of humanitarian aid.”
At an impromptu press conference at Ramstein Airbase in Germany, President Biden stated: “But . . . the point being that if . . . Hamas confiscates [the aid] or doesn’t let it get through or just confiscates it, then it’s going to end, because we’re not going to be sending any humanitarian aid to Hamas if they’re going to be confiscating it. That’s the commitment that I’ve made . . . I was very blunt [with the Israelis] about the need to support getting humanitarian aid to Gaza — get it to Gaza and do it quickly.” “If Hamas in any way blocks humanitarian assistance from reaching civilians, including by seizing the aid itself, we’ll be the first to condemn it. And we will work to prevent it from happening again,” declared Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
Those acquainted with the situation on the ground in Gaza know based on both experience and documentation that all humanitarian aid goes directly into the hands of Hamas, which functions both as terrorist army and Islamist government: “Approximately two thirds of the money Hamas raises from international sources is spent on military buildup. Of its total budget, 55% goes to the military wing, a significant increase from 15% in 2014. Meanwhile, Hamas’ civil affairs budget has decreased by nearly 50% in that same period. Hamas’ financial reports further reveal that tens of millions of dollars designated for rebuilding Gaza were actually being invested in real estate projects in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Dubai.”
The UN and U.S.A. have no way to prevent humanitarian aid and dual-purpose materials like cement and steel piping, from remaining in Hamas hands. This has happened in Gaza after every round of hostilities. As well, the smuggling in of materials to manufacture rockets and weapons has been going on constantly, in spite of Egypt’s supposed security measures to prevent such operations.
2. The majority of Palestinians have nothing to do with Hamas’ attacks?
The President of the United States posted on X (formerly Twitter) that “We must not lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas’ appalling attacks, and are suffering as a result of them.” On a CBS ‘60 Minutes’ interview he stated: “I think Israel understands that a significant portion of Palestinian people do not share the views of Hamas and Hezbollah.” In an interview with TIME, POTUS stated: “Look, what happened in Gaza, in my view, is Hamas, and the extreme elements of Hamas don’t represent all the Palestinian people.”
Yet, according to the latest Washington Institute polling of July 2023, 57% of Gazans express a positive opinion of Hamas (as do 52% of West Bankers and 64% of East Jerusalemites). Three quarters of all Gazans express support for Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas-backed Lion’s Den. Approximately half of all Gazans view Iran as either a “friend of the country” (29%) or a security partner (28%).
Hamas came to power through democratic elections overseen by former POTUS Jimmy Carter and his Carter Center in 2006. From that point on, Hamas kidnapped, kneecapped, tortured and murdered their PLO rivals, eventually establishing an Islamist terror state bent on destroying Israel.
Though it is true that Hamas rules Gaza with an iron Islamist boot, a majority of Gazans aid and abet Islamist terror and terrorists. This includes volunteering for commando units: receiving stipends for allowing Hamas to store rocket launchers and bombs in their houses, mosques and schools; celebrating and handing out sweets and candy to celebrate the murder of Israelis.
At the same time, Hamas is holding many Gazans hostage and murdering others who are trying follow IDF instructions and move southward in the Strip, to avoid the intensive bombing which will soon destroy Hamas HQs. This would avoid civilian casualties, which is the IDF’s priority as well. Video clips of Hamas operatives massacring fleeing Gazans have been posted by Hamas on social media, warning Gazans to stay put. Egypt is not allowing Gazan civilians to escape Hamas control through the southern border crossings. The history of that country’s treatment of Gazans is a human rights disaster – from 1948 to 1967, and up to our day as well.
3. If the destruction of Hamas is a necessary requirement, any suggestions on how to accomplish that?
The POTUS has stated clearly: “Israel is going after a group of people who have engaged in barbarism that is as consequential as the Holocaust. And so, I think Israel has to respond. They have to go after Hamas . . . Hamas is a bunch of cowards. They’re hiding behind the civilians.” “Taking out the extremists . . . is a necessary requirement,” said Biden.
Israelis appreciate that sentiment and wholeheartedly agree that it must be done. But what do these Presidential statements mean? How would such a thing be done? When Hamas hides behind human shields and fires rockets into Israeli kibbutzim and towns; when over 2,000 Hamas commandoes rape teenagers and mothers, torture and murder parents in front of children, burn children alive, kidnap innocent civilians and then film their torture and decapitation – what advice should be given to Israel? What is our ‘proportionate response’ supposed to be? Should Israel do to Gazan citizens what Hamas has done to our citizens? God forbid!
Here is Presidential pastoral advice to Israel: “But I caution this: While you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it. After 9/11, we were enraged in the United States. And while we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes.” This statement is a two-edged sword: on one hand, it seems that there is a denigration and partial invalidation of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, wars overseen by Biden’s political opponents. On the other hand, he morphs biblical vengeance into sinful rage. The Scriptures talk much about God taking vengeance on the enemies of Israel: Numbers 31:1-3; Deuteronomy 32:35-36; Deuteronomy 32:40-43; 2 Samuel 22:47-49; Psalm 58:9-11; Psalm 79:10; Psalm 94:1-3; Psalm 149:6-8; Isaiah 34:6-9; Isaiah 59:16-18; Isaiah 61:1-3; Isaiah 63:3-5; Jeremiah 46:10; Jeremiah 50:14-16; Jeremiah 50:27-29; Jeremiah 51:5-7; Jeremiah 51:10-12; Ezekiel 25:13-14.
In order to rid Germany of Nazis, in order to cause the unconditional surrender of that country, the Allies made the decision to not reveal their cracking of the ULTRA code. This meant continued British civilian casualties at Coventry, etc. But it also involved the bombing of Dresden. In order to prevent the loss of perhaps a million American deaths at the hands of the Japanese, two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The ethical parallels to Hamastan in Gaza are the same. Unless Hamas is totally and absolutely destroyed, jihad will continue to massacre, rape, torture and murder Israelis – just like ISIS continues to do to Syrians and Iraqis. Hamas is continuing to massacre – even its own people. No one is stopping those massacres by Hamas in Gaza – even those who shed crocodile tears for the Gazan Palestinians.
Yet, in the same breath as calling for ‘taking out the extremists,’ Biden speaks something diametrically opposed to these words: “I think it’d be a big mistake . . . for Israel to occupy Gaza again.” If Gaza cannot be occupied, how will Hamas be eliminated? And if the majority of Gazans support Hamas, what is to be done? Egypt, as Isaiah 36:6 says, is a broken reed, and will offer no shelter to those escaping Hamas. America cannot and will not protect Gazans from Hamas. Indeed, Qatar (Hamas’ main bankroller) is very chummy with CENTCOM, the U.S. Fifth Fleet, and the location of one of its main airbases in the Middle East, Al Udeid.
Years ago, the Arameans of Damascus (modern Syria) threatened the Kingdom of Israel with total military destruction: “Ben Hadad sent word to him and said, ‘May the gods do so to me and more so, if the dust of Samaria will be enough for handfuls for all the people who follow me.’ Then the king of Israel replied, ‘Tell him, “He who straps on his weapons had better not boast like one who takes them off.”’” (1Kings 20:10-11).
In that light, the following quote from President Biden at Ramstein Air Base in Germany is telling:
Question: May I ask you about – there’s a report in the Times of Israel that says “Biden officials have indicated to Israel in recent days that if Hezbollah initiates a war against Israel, the U.S. military will join the IDF in fighting the terrorist group.”
POTUS: Not true.
Question: Not true?
POTUS: That was never said.
4. The endgame
Aaron David Miller, Senior Fellow at The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, explains that “Biden . . . will want to have a tough, frank conversation with Israeli leaders about their looming ground campaign – the objectives and complexities, with an eye toward getting them to think even harder about the depth, scope, and dangers of disproportionality, along with reoccupation of Gaza and civilian deaths.” The POTUS is interested in Israel’s endgame – what do they see as the solution to Hamas. Israel is not quite sure of its own endgame, since Israeli internal security issues have so often been stretched and distorted by superpower pressures. Few Israeli leaders truly believe in the Biblical teachings regarding the End of Days and the Return of Messiah, and their vision is secular and Western-oriented.
President Biden made his endgame vision very clear:
- “And as I said in Israel: As hard as it is, we cannot give up on peace. We cannot give up on a two-state solution.”
- “There needs to be a Palestinian Authority. There needs to be a path to a Palestinian state.”
Biden’s endgame – dividing the Land of Israel and establishing a PLO state in its heartland – is also the endgame of nearly all other U.S. Presidents. It is the position of the U.S. State Department and its intelligence agencies. It is the goal of the American oil business.
- For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat [‘YHVH judges’]. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations – and they have divided up My land (Joel 3:1-2)
How should we then pray?
As tanks begin to roll, here are some bullet points to be praying about:
Pray for ‘Shock and awe’ to be successfully carried out by the IDF to thwart the years of planning that Hamas has done – tunnels, mines, commando teams whose job is to kidnap IDF soldiers, and to even make off with their dead bodies. Davidic divine strategies as in Psalm 144:1: “Blessed be YHVH my rock, Who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle!”
Pray for clarity of strategy, purpose and resolve for Israel’s leaders to deal a final death-blow to Hamas in Gaza – total and unconditional surrender of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and total removal from Gaza for them both
Pray for revelation to Israel’s leaders that YHVH Himself gave Gaza to the tribe of Judah (see Joshua 15:20-47) and that this is Israel’s true biblical inheritance. Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement under strong American pressure was key to leading us into this horrific situation. Here is a quote from 2005 – during the Israeli disengagement from Gaza – by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who warned Israel that disengaging from Gaza was not enough; the entire West Bank needed to be handed over to the PLO/Hamas: “Because the real point about Gaza is not to stop with Gaza. The President has been clear, we’ve been clear with the Israelis that it cannot be Gaza only” (U.S. Department of State Office of the Spokesman, Shannon, Ireland; June 17, 2005. Press briefing by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the traveling press en route to Shannon, Ireland June 17, 2005)
Pray for the leaders of your nation to receive a revelation of God as the Captain of the armies of Israel (see 1 Samuel 17:45): “But David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a saber, but I come to you in the name of YHVH of armies, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.’”
Pray for minimal loss of life on all sides except for Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Pray for revelation and clarity to be imparted by the God of Israel to the world intelligence community who have not yet understood what jihad is all about and are fogged as to how to deal with it decisively
Pray for the physical rescue of the many Israelis (perhaps over 200, including babies) kidnapped by Hamas
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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