Jihadi Islam is a reality. It has clear goals and strategies, and today these are exploding in Gaza and throughout Arab communities in Israel. The co-operative efforts of Shi’ite and Sunni terrorists – Iran, Muslim Brotherhood terrorists Hamas, and Lebanese Hezbollah – are rippling their shock waves across the Middle East. The past 48 hours have witnessed over 1,200 Islamist rockets launched from pads situated smack in the middle of Gaza’s 2 million Muslim civilians (a war crime). These lethal weapons are being fired directly against Israel’s Jewish and Arab civilians (this is also a war crime). See our last newsletter (‘The flames of jihad on the Temple Mount’) for the historical and religious origins of this jihadi strategy.
God, do not remain quiet! Do not be silent and, 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’s wipe them out as a nation,
so that the name of Israel will no longer be remembered.”
For they have conspired together with one mind; they make a covenant against You:
Edom, the Ishmaelites . . . Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek, Philistia . . . Tyre, Assyria . . . Lot
But, true to form, media commentators and diplomatic go-getters are acting like Mahatma Ghandi, who believed that Hitler’s heart could be unlocked and tamed by peaceful pronouncements and non-violent ahimsa. He gave his appraisal of the Holocaust: “But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs . . . It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany.”
Today’s social media is buzzing with declarations of naïve ex-hippies and ‘progressives’ proclaiming that ‘no side is right in this conflict,’ or that Israel’s Prime Minister ‘and his gang’ are the ones seeding the violence, or that it’s simply a matter of lives being lost on both sides (establishing a moral equivalence between jihadi terrorists and those blocking their evil deeds), Diplomats pontificate that “an immediate de-escalation” is needed and it is essential “for all sides to avoid any unilateral actions.” The willful blindness of the New York Times in ignoring the Jewish Holocaust as it was happening, or the computerized complicity of IBM in facilitating Hitler’s death machine in Auschwitz, tell us that we should not be overly surprised when world media and politicians act as cheerleaders for Israel’s mortal enemies.
Those who utter these ‘noble’ declarations most probably see themselves as purveyors of peace (a la Psalm 34:14). But they are painting the Hamas arsonist and the Israeli firefighter as simply two sides of the same coin. That would be like drawing a moral equivalence between Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush. Such arguments are not only morally obscene; they are evil. The third century Tiberias Rabbi Shim’on ben Laqish once said, “He who becomes compassionate to the cruel will ultimately become cruel to the compassionate.” In a battle between jihadi terrorists and the Jewish people, humanistic pseudo-compassion and false moral equivalence is not what is required.
Certainly all suffering in war is tragic, and we are called to pray that all people lead peaceful lives (1 Timothy 2:2). At the same time there are wicked people who plan and execute slaughter of innocents, and it is a moral virtue to remove their ability to do harm. Latin author Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus (400’s A.D.) once said, “Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum” (‘Therefore let him who desires peace prepare for war’). The state of peace is often best preserved by a readiness to make war, when necessary. That is what is going on now.
Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz, the recognized master of military strategists, stated a point worth remembering in his magnum opus Vom Kriege (‘On War’): “Kind-hearted people might of course think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat the enemy without too much bloodshed, and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war. Pleasant as it sounds, it is a fallacy that must be exposed. War is such a dangerous business that mistakes that come from kindness are the very worst” (Book I, Chapter 1, Section 3, Paragraph 1). Middle Eastern war is not simply another game in the World Cup series or the Stanley Cup season. It is deadly serious stuff.
Hamas is not cute
Hamas is the main Gazan Islamist terror group shooting rockets at Arabs and Jews in Israel, as well as stirring up violent riots throughout the land. The Arabic word Hamas can mean zeal, enthusiasm, fire, ardor, fervor or fanaticism. Used as an Arabic acronym HaMaS is the short form of Harakat al-Muqawima al-Islamiyya – ‘The Islamic Resistance Movement’. Sheikh Abdullah Yusuf Azzam is considered the spiritual founder and historic leader of Hamas. He ended his life in a bomb attack in 1989 in Peshawar, Pakistan. Osama bin Laden was his star pupil.
Hamas is committed and zealous, a model Islamist jihadi terror organization. Its Charter lays out with great clarity its total commitment to its platform – the physical destruction of Israel, the Jewish state. Here are a few Articles which clarify their goals:
- “The Islamic Resistance Movement (ed., Hamas) draws its guidelines from Islam” (Article #1).
- “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin)…the largest Islamic Movement in the modern era” (Article #2).
- “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.
- “Allah is its 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).
- “The current Zionist invasion had been preceded by a Crusader invasion from the West; and another one, the Tatars, from the East. And exactly as the Muslims had faced those invasions and planned their removal and defeat, they are able to face the Zionist invasion and defeat it” (Article #35).
There is no balanced way of negotiating or living peaceably with such an organization. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan or ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Hamas and Islamic Jihad do not compromise on their essentials. We are not about to enter into forty years of quiet with Hamas: “So Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their heads anymore. And the land was undisturbed for forty years in the days of Gideon” (Judges 8:28). Peace-making with a ravenous jihadi monster is simply not a reality.
Arik Sharon’s disastrous decision – and those who supported him
In 2004-2005 former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally pulled all Jews and the IDF out of Gaza. He promised that if Hamas fired even one rocket into Israel, the IDF would move back in and deal decisively with the problem. Sharon’s position was supported by most left-of-center Israelis. Even one or two Israeli Messianic Jewish leaders declared that there was real prophetic wisdom in Sharon’s strategy. In the end, tens of thousands of rockets have since been fired into the Jewish state – and are still being fired as this is written. Arik Sharon breathed life into a jihadi giant named Hamas, and we are still paying the price for his damaging decisions. Part of the reason that Bibi Netanyahu and the Israeli Right have continued to win significant majorities is because many Israelis are convinced that there will be no peace with Gaza as long as Hamas is in charge.
- As you pray for Israel, please stand in for us in identificational repentance for these reckless decisions and their blowback.
The reason for the season
It is not an accident that this war has broken out during the Islamic holiday of Ramadan. Whereas in the West, this Muslim holiday is seen as a colorful and traditional occasion for blessing, fasting and feasting, in classical Islam Ramadan is much connected to jihad and to all-out battle against Jews, pagans and Christians.
Ramadan as a month of war is strikingly clear in Islamic history. Muhammad waged his first jihad, known as the Battle of Badr, on 17 Ramadan (13 March 624 AD). This battle laid the foundation of the Islamic State and was the most important of all Islamic battles. Eight years later Muhammad conquered Mecca during the month of Ramadan, thereby claiming Islam’s most holy site, the Kaaba. On 19 Ramadan (January, 661 A.D.), Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law Ali was assassinated at a mosque in Kufa, Iraq. The Battle of (the Horns of) Hattin was fought during Ramadan (July 4, 1187) between Salah al-Din al-Ayoubi’s Muslims and the forces of the Crusaders, a symbol of Arab and Muslim historical victory. The Battle of Ain Jalut on 25 Ramadan (September 3, 1260) saw the Islamic Mamluks halt the pagan Mongols. Egypt attacked Israel on 10 Ramadan, 1973 (the Yom Kippur War/October War/Ramadan War/Ramadan Harb/Operation Badr).
Hamas is well aware of its religious heritage. It instigated a war with Israel during Ramadan 2014, reveling in its symbolism to fellow Muslims. See the article ‘Hamas’ Ramadan War’ with its by-line question, “Did Hamas planned to start the round of fighting in Gaza specifically in the month of Ramadan?”
On June 7, 2016, during the month of Ramadan and the day before a terror attack in Tel Aviv killed four and wounded several others, Hamas’s military wing, the ‘Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, published an article on its website Alqassam.ps encouraging jihad and martyrdom during that week, the month of Ramadan. Hamas underscored in ‘Ramadan – The Month of Jihad, Fighting and Victory over the Enemies,’ that Ramadan has always been the time of Islam’s greatest victories. Allah commands Muslims to wage jihad, the very pinnacle of Islam.
- “Ramadan is the month of jihad, fighting, and fasting. Therefore, after the jihad fighter dedicates himself to the study of Islam by day he sets forth to defend his homeland, Palestine, by night. This month has seen the actualization of exceptional Islamic victories . . . The blessed month of Ramadan is the month of jihad, and saw the two most important battles in the life of the Prophet. The first is the great Battle of Badr, which was the divine proof by means of which Allah distinguished truth from lie, and which led to Muslim honor and steadfastness. The second is the Conquest of Mecca, by virtue of which the first renunciation of Islam was defeated, the banners of paganism in the holy city [of Mecca] fell, and Islam became invincible throughout in the Arabian Peninsula.”
The current Hamas War is actually the third one that Hamas has initiated during the Ramadan season, heavy with jihadi undertones and history.
New rocketman strategies
Hamas has been stymied by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile systems. They have come up with two improvised methods to bypass the system’s effectiveness. One is to swarm the system by shooting a wave of 15 or more rockets in a sudden burst. Some rockets manage to make it through as a result.
A second invention involves the development of a rocket that does not fly in an arc, but travels in a straight line of fire. The Iron Dome cannot intercept such a rocket. However, this type of rocket requires a flat terrain, a clear view of the target, and a relatively short distance to travel before the effects of gravity kick in. Two Israeli have been killed in the past few days by this straight-flying rocket.
Thorns – Israel’s unfinished business
The God of Israel warned the Jewish people not to allow mortal enemies to co-exist with Israel in the Promised Land: “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from you, then it will come about that those whom you let remain of them will be like thorns in your eyes and like pricks in your sides, and they will trouble you in the land in which you live” (Numbers 33:55). YHVH saw this as a serious matter with long-term geo-political and military consequences. It should be stressed that the same demonic powers which operated through the Canaanites and Philistines have not disappeared and their hatred of the Jewish people has in no way slackened.
This is an intercessory challenge for those who accept these spiritual realities as still influential and significant.
Curses and bones
Genesis 12:3 prophesies a curse on individuals and nations who try to harm the apple of God’s eye (see also Zechariah 2:8). Hamas and Islamic Jihad definitely fit that definition.
King David treasured his thirty mighty men, his Hebrew Special Operations Forces (2 Samuel 23:8-39; 1 Chronicles 11:1-47). David saw no contradiction between fighting the Lord’s battles and praising YHVH who trained his fingers to fight (Psalm 144:1; 149:5-9).
There is definitely a pacifist and anti-militaristic tradition among some in Protestant and Anabaptist streams. At the same time it is worth remembering that one of God’s main goals in restoring the dry bones of Jewish people back to the Land of Israel is to fill them with His Holy Spirit and to transform them into “a mighty army, much much” (the literal Hebrew of Ezekiel 37:9-10). Those who believe the prophetic word need to start incorporating what it says into our prayers and strategizing.
Our prayers for Israel should not be stepping backwards but forwards. We should not be praying for peace at this time but for the resounding defeat of YHVH’s enemies (see Psalm 83). In Steven Spielberg’s cinematographic masterpiece ‘Hook’ the enemy warns Peter Pan that, unless he decides to decisively fight Captain Hook, Peter’s children and children’s children will be harassed and even perhaps taken out by the Captain in years to come. YHVH the God of the armies of Israel states that same principle simply and in another context: “Because YHVH has sworn, YHVH will have war against Amalek from generation to generation” (Exodus 17:16).
How should we then pray?
- Pray for the defeat of Islamist terror forces, for the disabling of their weapons systems, the frustration of their intelligence and communications (see2 Kings 6:8-14)
- Pray for protection for Israel’s citizens who are facing jihadi terror rocket attacks
- Pray for minimal injuries and loss of life for Gazan civilians trapped under Hamas’ iron hand
- Pray for strategic and political wisdom for Israel’s leadership in every area
- Pray for the raising up of the Ezekiel 37 prophetic army among the Jewish people
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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