The war against the jihadi army of Hamas continues. Rockets continue to be fired at Israeli population centers. Israel’s Air Force (IAF), Army and Navy (IDF) are responding by targeting rocket launchers, weapons bunkers, command-and-control centers and top Hamas leadership. Over the past two days Hamas terror tunnels played a significant role in the fighting. Up to this point 27 IDF soldiers have been killed in fighting.
- How is the battle developing?
- What light can the Scriptures give us here?
- What can we be homing in on in prayer?
At 06:20 Monday morning ten Hamas fighters equipped with RPGs surfaced out of a terror tunnel at the northeastern corner of the Gaza Strip – 200 meters away from the Israeli Kibbutz Nir Am and barely 400 meters away from the town of Sderot. The IDF Intelligence Corps spotters identified them, but were unsure if they were IDF troops – the terrorists were dressed in IDF military fatigues. IDF Nahal infantry identified them as Hamas from a distance. The terrorists were using Russian-made Kalashnikov sub-machine guns, and not IDF-issue M-16’s or Tavors.
As a firefight ensued, an armored IDF jeep sped to the site to command the assault. In it were three soldiers and Lieutenant-Colonel Dolev Kedar, age 38 from Modi’in (www.timesofisrael.com/seven-more-idf-soldiers-killed-in-battles-with-hamas/). An RPG was fired at the jeep, killing all four. The rest of the Nahal force eliminated the terrorists, in coordination with IAF missile fire.
Another terror tunnel was uncovered beside Kibbutz Netiv Ha’asara, on the north side of the Gaza Strip. Its entrance was in Gaza and its exit mouth was beside the kibbutz. The IDF Samur anti-tunnel Special Operations Forces are closing in on a third mega-tunnel near Kibbutz Nahal Oz.
Clear and present danger
Israel’s Shin Bet (corresponds to FBI) originally surmised that there were a total of 10 to 12 such terror tunnels. So far 23 have been uncovered, and some analysts say that the total amount may be closer to 60. These tunnels are often dug at a depth of 60 feet underground, and are part of Hamas’s strategy to carry out a mega-terror attack. Imagine what would happen were ten Hamas squads of ten terrorists each surfaced simultaneously within Israel, murdering women and children and taking hostages, spiriting them away back into those same tunnels to underground prisons in Gaza.
These tunnels are a threat to Israel’s security that cannot be ignored. Any ceasefire under present conditions would simply be a ticking bomb – as long as these tunnels are functional and undiscovered. The operation to eliminate these tunnels is a vital and necessary stage of this operation (www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4546679,00.html).
- Pray for the Combat Engineers – for divine discernment and success in discovering and neutralizing all the Hamas terror tunnels still functional
- Pray for the IDF soldiers who are actively hunting down Islamist terrorists, their tunnels, weapons storehouses and command centers
The eastern Gaza City suburb of Shuja’iyeh (Shejaia) is honeycombed with rocket launchers, weapons bunkers, terror tunnels and Hamas forward-command posts. Drone photography reveals that Hamas has strategically placed these terror facilities in mosques, playgrounds, hospitals and cemeteries (www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/IDF-shows-photos-of-alleged-Hamas-rocket-sites-dug-into-hospital-mosques-368307). This same dynamic is repeated countless times across the Gaza Strip area.
The IDF warned Shuja’iyeh’s civilians for two days by leaflets, phone calls and cellphone texts, to immediately vacate the area and move to adjacent suburbs which the IDF would not attack.
“To the residents of Shuja’iyya, Al Trachman and Shuja’yyia Al-Gadida: The IDF does not wish to cause any harm to you or your relatives. For your own safety you are requested to vacate from your residence and head towards central Gaza City. The assembling will be in the central Gaza City within the following borders: west of Salah A- Din, north of Amer Al- Mahtar road, east of Al- Nazzaer road and south of Al- Quds road. This fighting is temporary, and with its conclusion, everybody will be able to return to their homes. Please obey the instructions given by the IDF, which is attempting to avoid causing harm to civilians. IDF Headquarters” (www.idfblog.com/blog/2014/07/17/idf-drops-warning-leaflets-gaza/).
For two days Israeli television showed how Hamas threatened Shuja’iyeh’s inhabitants with dire results if they obeyed the IDF. They challenged them to be brave jihadis and bare their chests to the soon-to-come Israeli bombs, while simultaneously saying that there was no danger, and that the IDF was only engaging in psychological warfare.
Rocket fire continued from Shuja’iyeh, and after two days the IAF began to bomb rocket launchers and bunkers, causing a vast exodus of inhabitants to the areas where the IDF had earlier directed them. Nevertheless, civilian casualties did go up in this phase of the operation.
A similar dynamic is now occurring next to Shuja’iyeh, in the Gaza City suburb of Zeitoun. Here inhabitants are already moving out as per IDF warnings. Though American comedian John Stewart recently remarked that there is no room available in Gaza for these people to move to, his awareness of California’s Interstate network is obviously more developed than his first-hand knowledge of Gazan real estate.
- Pray for the protection of Gazan civilians caught in the crossfire between terrorists and the IDF
- Pray for the revelation of Yeshua to many in Gaza, and for salvation and protection to all innocents there
- Pray for the Israeli soldiers involved – especially the Messianic believers – that they would be given accuracy in targeting (Psalm 144:1; 18:34, 39), divine guidance and protection in combat (Psalm 91:5-8) and be granted clear victory (1 Chronicles 11:14). As of the latest reports, 120 IDF soldiers are hospitalized and 27 have been killed in action
As was the case in the Vietnam War, the enemy has learned that influencing the media is vital to the successful furtherance of its military aims. To that end, Hamas has issued strict guidelines to foreign media in the Gaza Strip, with the clear understanding: if Western media do not follow these rules, they will be thrown out or killed. As a result, all live Western TV reports are operating under these threats, and their story lines follow the Hamas playbook.
Noah Pollack’s article “All the news Hamas sees fit to print” take the New York Times to task for distorting the perspective its readers get as their reporters follow Hamas diktats:
One of the masters of televised sleight-of-hand in this war is the al Jazeera network. This largest of all Arabic-speaking networks is based out of Qatar, which is a Muslim Brotherhood founded state and the main bankroller of Hamas (estimated at $13 billion so far). It is also considered an American strategic ally, and herein lies a significant problem for those intent on thwarting jihadi victories in the world.
Qatar operated as a fifth column within Egypt during the so-called ‘Arab Spring’. Its efforts led to the downfall of President Hosni Mubaraq, and to the rise of Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi. The overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood by Egypt’s traditional military leadership (headed by President al-Sisi) was strenuously opposed at the time by Qatar and al-Jazeera. Egypt imprisoned these reporters for sedition and treason.
Qatar is attempting to rescue its jihadi pet Hamas, by pressuring the USA to support Qatar’s call for a ceasefire – one which would preserve Hamas’ tunnels, rockets and weaponry for another fight on another day. Turkey (another Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer) has joined in with Qatar in this political PR blitz.
- Pray for the leaders and strategic thinkers in the USA – that YHVH will give them His courage, strategies and wisdom as they deal with Qatar’s and Turkey’s attempts to encourage and further the goals of jihad
The rest of the Arab news
Sunni countries which have been traditionally aligned with the West (like Saudi Arabia and Egypt) are making no bones about their revulsion and disdain for Hamas, Qatar and Turkey. They are using the spiciest and most offensive terminology available in the Arabic-speaking world to make this abundantly clear:
U.N. and U.S. attempts to force through a ceasefire which would preserve jihadi strength and weaken Israel is a scenario reflective of the Hebrew prophets’ ancient warnings:
“They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).
“Surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You will have peace’; whereas a sword touches the throat” (Jeremiah 4:10).
Mowing the grass once and for all?
The unappetizing challenge regarding Hamas and Gaza is this:
- Hamas is spiritually guided by its Charter and the spirit of Islam
- Their source documents call for unceasing and irrevocable jihadi war against Israel until all Jews are destroyed
- No Western peace treaties are acceptable. They are merely temporary ceasefires which can be broke as soon as Hamas achieves strategic advantage
Pertinent quotes from the Hamas Charter (plus context and background) can be found at: http://davidstent.com/hurtling-through-the-fog-of-war-a-messianic-perspective-on-the-new-hamastan/.
Most secular Western analysts and strategists are not believers in the reality or influence of the spiritual world or in the existence and reality of God. The Bible is not a strategic sourcebook for them, and its perspectives on Middle-East conflict are summarily dismissed at the outset.
Yet Hamas makes no secret of its own synchronization with Islamist doctrines. Any serious consideration of this Muslim Brotherhood group must take its beliefs seriously as well. We are not simply dealing with “Gazan perspectives” and “Lebanese perspectives” versus Jewish perspectives” and “Israeli perspectives.” This is not a partisan conflict between unreasonable and intractable enemies. What we are dealing with is the clash of the ages, a clash between the “perspectives of the God of Israel and His word” versus “the perspective of all the nations who are in rebellion against Him” (see Psalm 2; Joel 3:1-2, 9-17; Jeremiah 30:16-17).
Some thoughtful analysts in Israel find it hard to believe that Israel will be able to actually crush Hamas and realistically eliminate its weapon-backed threat to Israel. The best example of such reason is the article “Mowing the Grass in Gaza” by Efraim Inbar and Eitan Shamir (www.meforum.org/4755/mowing-the-grass-in-gaza). Their understanding is that Gaza cannot be decisively defeated but must be “mowed” every so often to prevent the “terrorist grass” from taking over the whole yard. According to this perspective, Israel is fated to play counter-terrorist cat-and-mouse with jihadi neighbors for the foreseeable future.
God’s prophetic arrows of victory
In the Bible the Jewish people are described as having a prophetic destiny, part of which involves becoming the world’s most significant army (Ezekiel 37:9-14). As we try to ‘connect the dots’ between today and that soon-coming day, we can learn military wisdom from the Scriptures.
- YHVH is a warrior and He also is the Lord of the battle (Exodus 15:43; Psalm 18:34, 39; Psalm 2:8; Psalm 83:9-18).
- YHVH brought the Jewish people out of Egyptian slavery to possess their inheritance in the Promised Land by force of arms
- YHVH challenged His military generals to be courageous in battle (Joshua 1:5-7, 9)
- YHVH challenged Israel’s leaders to be aggressive, proactive and tenacious in warfare (2 Kings 13:14-19; see Elisha’s prophetic actions concerning the arrows of King Joash)
- YHVH challenges His leaders to count the military cost and to oversee their military attacks with clarity and precision (Luke 14:31; 1 Corinthians 14:18)
- YHVH warns Israel that a turning away or compromise from the task at hand could lead to our enemies remaining a troublesome thorn in our side (Numbers 33:50-55; Joshua 23:10-13; Judges 2:1-5)
- YHVH paints a sobering picture of King Saul – a leader who cared more about popularity and political pressure than about carrying God’s mission through to total victory (1 Samuel 15)
The word of God freely offers divine wisdom to Israel’s leaders: If we prosecute the war against our enemies and strike repeatedly without weakening, our enemies will be brought to full and unconditional surrender. These were the terms under which WWII was concluded. Only under these conditions will Hamas’ Islamist occupation of Gaza and its terror war against the Jewish state come to an end.
- Pray for the political decision-makers and military leaders in Israel – that YHVH will give them His courage, strategies and wisdom as they respond to jihadi attempts to stalemate Israeli victory
Rising from the dead – the zombie army of anti-Semitism
As was the case in the war between Lebanese Hezbollah and Israel in 2006, the hostilities of the past ten days have been manipulated by Hamas sympathizers to catalyze violent demonstrations against Jewish people and against the Jewish state throughout Europe, the USA and in Islamic countries. A zombie-like army of anti-Semites is on the rise. Targets this time are Israelis and anything connected to Israel, as well as Jews, synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses. The virulence and savagery demonstrated by recent marches and attacks in Paris, London and Frankfurt show anyone with eyes to see that the spirit of the Nazi beast has morphed. He has put on a keffiyeh but he has not changed his spots. Savagery against Jews is fast becoming accepted street behavior on our planet.
Take the time to skin through the following prophetically-edged articles. They are well worth the read:
“Keep on the alert at all times, praying …”
The battle is intense. The challenges are great. The opportunities are amazing. Yeshua’s call to pray rings in our ears.
- Pray for the blunting of the enemy’s weapons and goals
- Pray for the protection of the Jewish people and their salvation through revelation of Messiah Yeshua
- Pray for the Jewish people to come into the fullness of their calling and gifts as a prophetic and mighty army
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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