Tunnel vision in Gaza

On Saturday evening Israel Defense Forces (IDF) directed intense tank and air power against areas in Gaza opposite Kibbutz Nahal Oz. This was a standard military tactic, a ‘preparing of the ground’ prior to sending in a new wave of infantry and armor into the Gaza Strip – to bolster the forces already fighting against jihadi Hamas terrorists. These reinforcements rolled into Gaza in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Five IDF casualties have occurred so far, four of those in the past 24 hours.

  • What are the direction and strategic goals of the combat?
  • What guidance can the Scriptures give here?
  • What can we pray for?

Hamas Rules

During the Cold War spies operating under deep cover in Russia were acquainted with intelligence guidelines called “Moscow Rules” (Antonio & Jonna Mendez, Spy Dust: Two Masters of Disguise Reveal the Tools and Operations That Helped Win the Cold War, Simon & Schuster, 2003, p. 36). These rules extended the lives of operatives in a hostile and deadly environment.

Some of the ten rules listed in the International Spy Museum located in Washington D.C.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Spy_Museum) include:

  • Assume nothing
  • Never go against your gut
  • Everyone is potentially under opposition control
  • Don’t look back; you are never completely alone
  • Vary your pattern and stay within your cover
  • Pick the time and place for action
  • Keep your options open

IDF infantry, Special Forces, and Special Operations Forces are presently engaging jihadi commandos of Hamas in cat-and-mouse low-intensity urban conflict

  • Pray for the IDF soldiers who are actively hunting down Islamist terrorists, their tunnels, weapons storehouses and command centers

Through our enemy’s eyes

Hamas’ war strategy involves the following points:

  • “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad” (Hamas Charter, Article #13; www.acpr.org.il/resources/hamascharter.html)
  • “I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill’” (Hamas Charter, Article #15)
  • The key to destroying the Jewish state of Israel involves terror attacks which will strike fear and defeatism in the heart of Hamas’ enemies
  • Hamas co-founder Mahmoud az-Zahar says that the attacks are designed to stampede a mass emigration from Israel and to disrupt the daily life of its citizens: “Which do you think is more effective, martyrdom operations or rockets against Sderot? Rockets against Sderot will cause mass migration, greatly disrupt daily lives and government administration and can make a much huger impact on the government. We are using the methods that convince the Israelis that their occupation is costing them too much. We are succeeding with the rockets. We have no losses and the impact on the Israeli side is so much” (Melanie Phillips, President Bush’s visionary hero, The Spectator January 15, 2008).
  • These include rocket attacks, suicide bombers and kidnappings which target (nearly exclusively) Israeli civilian populations
  • Hamas attempts to blunt Israel’s military superiority by placing rockets and launchers in the middle of Gaza’s civilian population. This is a double war crime, and the resulting Arab casualties are used by Hamas as propaganda warfare against Israel
  • Hamas response to the eventual IDF ground incursions involve killing and wounding as many Israeli soldiers as possible, because army casualties strike a painful wound in the hearts of most Israelis – every Israeli family has sons and daughters in the military
  • Hamas’ strategy is to get IDF infantry to enter built-up areas where Hamas cadres of snipers, RPG squads, IED commandos, and those who booby-trap Gazan homes and buildings attempt to achieve these goals
  • A network of Viet Cong-like tunnels honeycombs the soft sands of the Gaza Strip. Some of these are directed against IDF troops in a ‘whack-a-mole’ strategy, while others cross under the security fence into Israel and allow killer/kidnapping squads to attack Israeli kibbutzim and farms

Israel’s war strategies

For the past fourteen years over 11,000 jihadi rocket and mortar attacks have been directed by the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas against Israeli farms, kibbutzim, towns and cities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel,_2014). This development was a direct spin-off of the Oslo Accords, which mandated a staggered Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Hamas increased its terrorist activities over the years, and by 2000 was able to begin active mortar and rocket attacks. Ariel Sharon’s grievous disengagement from Gaza in August 2005 opened the gates of demonic terror to unprecedented proportions.

On Tuesday July 8 Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu twittered, “Operation Protective Edge will continue until it reaches its goal – restoring quiet to Israel’s citizens for a prolonged period, while inflicting a significant blow to the infrastructures of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations.”

Israel’s war strategy involves the following points:

  • Ending jihadi rocket and mortar fire on Israeli citizens by degrading and destroying Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets and rocket launchers
  • Targeted assassinations of military and political leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad
  • Destruction of terrorist command and control center, as well as of the personal homes of terrorist leaders
  • Avoidance of civilian casualties by doing “more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX6vyT8RzMo; British Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, addressing the U.N. Human Rights Council (www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=225172)
  • Destruction of terrorist tunnels

One objective has been left out of the stated operational goals, and this one is much debated in Israel – eliminating the jihadi group Hamas from Gaza’s military, political and social environment. Some in Israel express fear that an ISIS/ISIL or al Qa’eda group would fill such a vacuum. Others declare that Israel has the potential resolve and military ability to fight even the most hardened and murderous of enemies, from Hamas to the ghost of Bin Laden.

  • Pray for the military and political decision-makers in Israel – that YHVH will give them His courage, strategies and wisdom as they prosecute this war against jihadi terror
  • Pray for the Israeli soldiers involved – especially the Messianic believers – that they would be given divine guidance and protection (Psalm 91:5-8) and granted victory (1 Chronicles 11:14). As of the latest reports, 52 IDF soldiers are hospitalized, 11 in critical condition.

Moles and counter-moles

Shakespeare uses the phrase ‘the Old Mole’ to represent the ghost of Hamlet’s father (Hamlet Act 1 Scene 5), while Hegel used the phrase as a metaphor for Spirit (Philosophy of History; Conclusion). In The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Marx applies the metaphor to Communist revolution. Hamas has re-applied this term, engaging in mole-digging tactics in its war against the Jewish state.

At least 12 major terror tunnels are targeting Israel. Five of these have been discovered by the IDF’s Special Operations Forces Combat Engineers unit Yahalom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahalom_(IDF)) and their sub-unit Samur (‘weasel’; www.timesofisrael.com/the-treacherous-task-of-tunnel-demolition/).

Over the past few days Hamas has attempted two kidnapping/murder raids which were foiled – one beside Kibbutz Kerem Shalom and one near Kibbutz Sufa, both bordering the southern Gaza Strip. On Saturday a nine-man Hamas squad emerged from a tunnel beside Israeli Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha (opposite central Gaza), equipped with sleep-inducing drugs and plastic handcuffs for the kidnapping of Israelis, as well as significant amounts of explosives and weapons. Their goal was a mega-attack on an Israeli kibbutz – many casualties and many hostages.

Two IDF jeeps were passing by the entrance to the tunnel just after the terrorists surfaced. The element of surprise caused the jihadi commandos to change their plans. They fired RPGs at the jeep, killing Reserves Major Amotz Greenberg (Nahal,from Hod Hasharon, three children) and Nahal driver Sergeant Adar Barsano (20 years old, from Nahariya). The second jeep engaged the terrorists, killing one, while the others escaped back into the tunnel back to Gaza.

Our dear believing friends who live on an adjoining kibbutz have told us for two years that the IDF is aware of Hamas attempts to dig a terror tunnel which would surface within the kibbutz. It has not yet been discovered.

  • Pray for the Combat Engineers – for divine discernment and success in discovering and neutralizing all the Hamas terror tunnels still functional.

Other casualties

Over the past 24 hours Hamas rockets have been launched against many targets in Israel. Security specialists estimate that Hamas had hoped to have caused between 50,000 and 100,000 Israeli casualties, but thanks to God’s protection, the prayers of the saints and the Iron Dome system, there have been next to no casualties. Yesterday, however, a jihadi missile struck near Dimona, murdering an Israeli Beduin 35-year old father Ouda Wafi al-Waj, severely wounding his three-month old daughter, and moderately/lightly wounding three other family members (www.timesofisrael.com/negev-bedouin-defenseless-as-man-killed-4-injured-by-gaza-rocket/).

Two Israeli combat soldiers were killed in close-quarters combat with Hamas in Gaza over the night. They are Combat Engineer Second Lieutenant Bar Rahav (age 21 from Ramat Yishai) and Paratrooper Staff Sergeant Benaya Rubel (age 20 from Holon).

As the IDF moves in to built-up areas in Gaza where rocket storehouses and launchers are situated, more casualties are certain. Some will be Hamas terrorists, and others will be bystanders who have not evacuated the areas as per IDF requests, leaflets, phone calls and text messages.

Yesterday Hamas loaded a donkey with explosives and sent it as an unwitting suicide bomber in the direction of IDF troops, who regretfully shot the animal before it blew up (www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/10977818/Donkey-suicide-bomb-stopped-by-Israeli-troops-in-Gaza.html).

  • Pray for the IDF to achieve its goals quickly, expeditiously and with minimum loss of life to all sides
  • Pray for the Jewish people to come into the fullness of their calling and gifts as a prophetic and mighty army
  • Pray for the blunting of the enemy’s weapons and goals
  • 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

Demonstrating demonic hatred

The Western world has not seen demonstrations against the mass slaughters being carried out by Islamists in Syria, Iraq and Africa. The streets of London or Paris have not witnessed marches against ISIS/ISIL, Boko Haram or the attempts at mass murder caused by shooting of Hamas rockets against Israeli citizens. But when do violent mobs appear on cue, and when are Islamists, Leftists and extreme Right-wingers joined at the hip in attacking Jews and Israelis on the streets of Europe? Wouldn’t you know it – when Israel decisively decides to put an end to jihadi rocket attacks.

Europe is struggling with a significant hostile Islamist population – whether it be in the banlieue riots of France, in the Shari’a zones in England, street riots in Germany, or jihadi murders in broad daylight in Belgium. Jihadis and their fellow-travelers have instigated violent riots where cries of “Death to the Jews” are commonplace. Hatred of Israel and hatred of the Jewish state are being fueled by jihadi sources, and many Gentiles (including lukewarm believers) are being swept up into this maelstrom.

Pray for revival in the Arab and Islamic world

Not all Arabs are blind to the dynamics of Hamas hatred and to the pitfalls of jihadi madness. Not all Muslims support Hamas. Not all Palestinians want to see the destruction of Israel.

But the Jewish people and the Jewish state are a prophetic sign, whether or not the nations and even some believers recognize this. Turning a cold shoulder, having a condescending heart attitude, directing anger against the Jewish people, cursing Israel, teaching that God has jettisoned the Jewish people in favor of Gentile believers – all of this brings the curse of Genesis 12:3 upon these participants. No matter how large the gang, He who watches Israel is even larger still.

A well known Arab commentator and former Editor-in-Chief of London Arabic language newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi is no friend of Israel. Yet in a television interview with Lebanon’s Mayadeen TV on July 14, 2014, he said that many Arab leaders are profoundly praying that Israel will get rid of Hamas through the current war (http://jerusalemchannel.tv/video/breaking-arab-leaders-praying-israel-will-finally-get-rid-hamas/).

  • Pray for Arab eyes to be opened regarding the reality of Yeshua and the covenant between God and  Israel in our day
  • Pray for the protection and salvation of the Jewish people through revelation of Messiah Yeshua

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,

Avner Boskey

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