There is a popular Arabic proverb, “First he hits me. Then he starts to cry. Finally he runs ahead of me to the judge and sues me” (Darabani wa baka, wa sabaqani wa eshtaka). Middle East realities have once again proved how relevant this saying is in helping to understand recent and soon-coming events in the Gaza Strip.
The Islamist terror group controlling Gaza is the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot Hamas (in Arabic Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya, Arabic for ‘The Islamic Resistance Movement’ – see https://davidstent.org/hurtling-through-the-fog-of-war-a-messianic-perspective-on-the-new-hamastan/). Spiritually this jihadi group is twinned with the Salafi movement in ideology but has some tactical disagreements regarding the best strategies for achieving those goals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi_jihadism).
We’re marching to Zion
Hamas called for a mass demonstration to be held on the eve of Passover 2018. Of course, the choosing of that day does not mean that Hamas has now embraced Jewish holidays. They just like the heightened symbolism and scorn of turning Hebrew holidays into auspicious days for attacking the Jewish state. This strategy was also used by Egypt, Syria and the Islamic world in their surprise attacks on Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur or October War (see www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/10/arab-israeli-war-of-1973-what-happened-171005105247349.html).
Another reason for choosing Passover Eve is because of what some Palestinians call “Land Day” – a day commemorating six Israeli Arabs killed in 1976 while attacking Israeli security forces.
The main organizers of these mass demonstrations (called the Great Return March) are Hamas (www.terrorism-info.org.il/app/uploads/2018/03/E_082_18.pdf), with the enthusiastic support of terror groups Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and supporters of former senior Fatah official Muhammad Dahlan (www.memri.org/reports/gaza-strip-initiative-collaboration-hamas-palestinian-islamic-jihad-and-supporters-fatahs).
Not violent or violent – or both?
The march was advertised as being non-violent – “to be expressed in an extensive nonviolent demonstration at the separation fence” (in the Gaza daily Filastin, February 8, 2018). Hamas declared that the march “should take place without clashes [with Israel] in order to protect the young people.” The strategy was to organize a march of hundreds of thousands towards the Israeli security fences in order to force the Jewish state to allow unimpeded immigration of hostile Gazan Arabs.
March organizer Ahmad abu Ratima posted on Facebook (February 18, 2018): “The goal of the Great Return March is more important than the killing or wounding of a few (ed. Israeli) soldiers… The march will begin with a demonstration unrestricted in time at least 700 meters from the separation fence, and it does not aim to reach the fence at this stage.”
At the same time Hamas spokesman Moussa Abu Marzouq boasted on his personal Twitter account (February 7, 2018): “Those besieging Gaza must know that the Gaza residents will not break, and that their eyes are still to their land, either peacefully or belligerently. The separation fence is no obstacle for them. The #Great Return March that is advancing towards our land is the path to victory and return.” Hamas is calling for five million descendants of Palestinians (most who were not born there) to be allowed to immigrate to Israel. This of course would lead to the destruction of the Jewish state, as well as the establishment of a jihadi entity in its place (as happened in Gaza).
On February 6, 2018 the Great Return March Facebook page posted an excerpt from an article by Hamas refugee department director Issam Adwan defining the march as resistance. It stated: “The enemy can be resisted by various means…Some of these means are nonviolent and others are violent. All are legal, accessible, and feasible, and all have an impact.” As well, Fayez Abu Shamalah, a Hamas columnist, wrote in the Filastin daily February 5, 2018, “Will the people of Gaza … march, along with Hamas, to the border of the Zionist state, in a ferocious mass-procession and demand the right to return to Palestine?”
Journalist Jibril Odeh wrote in the Filastin daily (February 20, 2018) that the armed terrorist operations of Hamas should not be criticized: “We must not forget the importance of military action in the war for independence… The resistance is one entity, and a gunshot fired in Jenin is no different from an explosive charge in Khan Yunis.”
Hamas activist Yusuf al-Sharqawi called on the public to rush forward until they were face to face with the soldiers, and even to try to take their guns away (Filastin al-Yawm, March 27, 2018).
- Hama’s media goal of a Palestinian ‘non-violent march’ is an attempt to deceive world media – while simultaneously engaging in Islamist terror against the Jewish people and their state.
Abu Ratima then appealed to the example of Martin Luther King as a defense of Hamas’ violent/non-violent strategic march: “What is the next step after the success of the #Great Return March and the entry of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees into Palestine that has been occupied since 1948? …We will insist on remaining … a non-violent movement of struggle, along with the ‘inside’ Arabs [i.e., Israeli Arabs], so as to attain our civil rights, the way Martin Luther King did in the U.S.” (Facebook, February 8, 2018).
No one gets hurt – we guarantee it!
According to Talal Abu Zarifa of the terror group Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the organizations will not allow demonstrators to approach the fence unless a decision has been made to cross the fence and escalate the activity (al-Aqsa TV, March 17, 2018).
According to senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad spokesman Khader Habib (Al Resala.net, March 19, 2018), the March will jump-start a two-year process consisting of three stages (www.terrorism-info.org.il/app/uploads/2018/03/073_18_E.pdf):
- mass activities near the border
- erecting tent camps on site to stress the Palestinian ‘right of return’
- breaking through Israeli military lines and marching into Israel
The Muslim Brotherhood website Arabi21.com declared “Even if some people are killed during the actual breaching [of the border]…it will be a reasonable price to pay” (Arabi21.com, February 7, 2018).
Oudeh added that the goal of this non-violent action of unlimited duration, is meant “to exhaust the (ed. Israeli) occupation on the security, political and media levels.”
Simultaneously, the March organizers re-emphasized the non-violent nature of the march and that they would prevent harm from coming to the participants (Palestine Online, March 26, 2018).
“He who plants thorns should not expect to gather roses” (Arabic proverb)
The officially released schedule set the start of activities on Friday, March 30, 2018, at 10:00 AM. Free bus transportation was being offered to the site from every mosque in the Gaza Strip (Paldf, March 27, 2018). Portable toilets and meals were provided free of charge. Activities are to continue on a daily basis until they peak on May 15, 2018 (www.terrorism-info.org.il/app/uploads/2018/03/E_082_18.pdf) – the day some Palestinians commemorate the losing of their 1948 war of destruction against Israel (also called the ‘naqba’).
On the morning of Friday’s march, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman addressed Gazan residents in Arabic on Twitter. He accused Hamas of playing with their citizens’ lives, and warned that anyone who approaches the security fence would be put in danger: “I suggest that you get on with your lives and not participate in the provocation,” he tweeted.
IDF Brigadier General and IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis said that Israel wanted to avoid violence, but warned that the IDF would shoot anyone who approaches the border’s security fence, effectively enforcing a ‘no go’ zone for Gazan Palestinians.
On Friday March 30, 2018 (the Eve of Passover) approximately 30,000 Gazans approached the security fences at six pre-arranged locations. Rioting broke out involving the burning of tires, rock throwing, Molotov bombs and deadly metallic balls from slingshots all aimed at IDF troops guarding the line. At one point four Gazan gunmen directed automatic fire at Israeli soldiers.
Over 100 IDF sharpshooters were spread out along the security line, joined by a bolstered infantry, drones with tear gas ability and other aircraft.
Many hundreds of Palestinians began to attack Israeli lines. Within a few hours over 1,000 of these attackers received treatment from Palestinians medics – most for tear gas inhalation, some for rubber bullet injuries, etc. Sixteen Gazans were shot and killed while attacking IDF troops. Four of those sixteen were directing rifle fire at Israeli soldiers. At latest count ten of the sixteen killed were known terrorists.
Hamas Politburo leader Isma’il Haniyeh declared that the march constitutes “the beginning of a return (ed. of the Palestinian people) to the entirety of the land of Palestine … Walk in the path of Allah (ed. an Islamic phrase for jihad) – you are the victors!”
Hamas’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar did not mince words on Friday afternoon, “The March of Return will continue… until we remove this transient border… Our people can’t give up one inch of the land of Palestine.”
Seeing red on the West Bank
The prophet Ezekiel (as well as many others) foresaw a day when the descendants of Edom/Esau would attempt to wrest control of the Jewish homeland by cruel force, bringing terror to the sons of Jacob and claiming the Land of Israel for themselves:
- “O mountains of Israel, hear the word of YHVH.Thus says YHVH God, Because the enemy has spoken against you, ‘Aha!’ and, ‘The everlasting heights have become our possession,’ therefore thus says YHVH God, Surely in the fire of My jealousy I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, who appropriated My land for themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and with scorn of soul, to drive it out for a prey” (Ezekiel 36:1-2, 5)
- “Thus says YHVH God, Because Edom has acted against the House of Judah by taking vengeance, and has incurred grievous guilt, and avenged themselves upon them, therefore thus says YHVH God, I will also stretch out My hand against Edom …I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel. Therefore … they will know My vengeance, declares YHVH God” (Ezekiel 25:12-14)
When Arabic-speaking jihadi invaders conquered the Land of Israel circa 638 A.D. this prophetic process described by Ezekiel moved into high gear. The Palestinian terror movement which seeks to invade Israel once again and establish a jihadi state on the mountains of Israel is bringing this process to a climax.
Gaza and Abraham
The God of Israel promised that the territory of Gaza belongs for eternity to the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:
- “On that day YHVH made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates’” (Genesis 15:18; see also Judges 1:18)
Egypt’s former annexation of Gaza
Egypt originally claimed the Gaza Strip as part of Egypt and in 1959, Egypt merged the Gaza Strip into the United Arab Republic. All references to an independent Gaza were abolished and an Egyptian administration was officially imposed. By doing this, Gamal Abdel Nasser de facto canceled official Palestinian self-rule over Gaza. This lasted until Israel liberated those territories in the Six-Day War of June 1967.
The Palestinian counterfeit of the Return to Zion
The Palestinian terror movement has modeled some of its strategies on Jewish themes. If the Zionist movement spoke of a Return to Zion based on the hundreds of references in the Hebrew prophets, so the Palestinians would begin to speak of ‘the right of return.’
In the same way as Ezekiel says that no Jewish person will remain in the countries of the Exile but that all Jews will return (see Ezekiel 39:27-29), so Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and the PLO began to speak of the ‘return’ of five million descendants of Arabs whose grandparents once lived in the Land of Israel – hence the title ‘the March of Return.’
- These Palestinian political and military strategies can properly be described as ‘Palestinian Replacement Theology’ – replacing Jews with Edomites, replacing the name ‘Israel’ with the name ‘Filastin,’ and replacing the name ‘YHVH’ with the name ‘Allah’ (see Exodus 3:15).
Why do the nations rage?
The response of the nations of the world to attacks on Israeli army positions by Hamas and Islamic Jihad is in keeping with its general anti-Israel trend (www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43603199):
- Palestinian President Mahmoud al-Abbas declared that Israel bears “full responsibility” for the Gazan deaths
- UN Security Council condemned the violence after an emergency session
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent inquiry into the deaths
- Guterres also appealed to those concerned to refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties
- UN Deputy Political Affairs chief Taye-Brook Zerihoun declared: “Israel must uphold its responsibilities under international human rights and humanitarian law”
Another Arabic proverb seems to fit here: “He who has approved of a wrongdoing is as guilty as he who committed it.”
How should we then pray?
- Pray for the plans of the enemy to be frustrated and stopped
“They devised a plan, but it will be thwarted. They spoke out a scheme but it will not stand, because God is with us” (Isaiah 8:10)
- Pray for the Jewish people to be protected from all who would do her harm – both physically and spiritually
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of YHVH, and their vindication is from Me, declares YHVH” (Isaiah 54:17)
- Pray for believers and prophetic intercessors worldwide to tap into God’s heart about these issues
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s army speedily and in our day
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,
Donations can be sent to:
FINAL FRONTIER MINISTRIES
BOX 121971 NASHVILLE TN 37212-1971 USA
Donations can also be made on-line (by PayPal or credit card) through: www.davidstent.org