You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.

I want to take this opportunity to invite each one who reads this blog to visit Caroline’s blog. A link to it is in the left hand column of this page and this latest article is linked below. This particular article addresses two topics near the top of my personal list for prayer–Israel and the presidency of the United States.

Caroline’s views are intelligent and objective. She writes with honesty and directness. I believe that she is an invaluable source to hear the heart beat of what is going on in Israel for prayer purposes. She is currently Deputy Managing Editor of The Jerusalem Post where she writes two weekly columns. These columns are regularly syndicated. Her articles have also been published in The Wall Street Journal, National Review, The Journal of International Secrutiy Affairs, The Boston Globe, The Washington Times, The Jewish Press, Frontpage Magazine and Moment Magazine and numerous online journals focus on the strategic and political issues challenging the Israel and the United States. She has appeared on MSNBC, FOX News, Sky News, Christian Broadcast Network, Israel Television channels 1, 2, 3 and 10. Caroline is also frequent guest on talk radio shows in the US, Britain, Australia and Israel.

She has written a book, Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad, which is featured on her page and has links here to our online bookstore for your convenience as well.

It isn’t legal for me to repost her articles on this site, but I do have the blog link which I hope you will pay attention to, and add to your own pages as well.

Pray for Caroline Glick. May God continue to use and bless her to get the truth out, as the Day of The  Lord approaches.

Read this latest article by clicking here:  Honest Obama and Iran January 30, 2009

Thank you for praying for the peace of Jerusalem,

Ruth Mayfield
www.ruthmcmillanmayfield.com

Advertisements

http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=87454

FROM WND’S JERUSALEM BUREAU

Obama ‘friend’: End of Israel ‘within reach’

Activist boasts ‘Western support, complicity’ starting to crack


Posted: January 30, 2009
12:20 am Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

 

 

JERUSALEM – Accusing the Jewish state of “genocide,” an  anti-Israel Palestinian activist once commended by President Obama has predicted the end of Israel, which, he boasted, is “within reach, in our lifetimes.”

In a piece earlier this month titled, “Why Israel won’t survive,” Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian online publication, accused Israel of war crimes and gloated, “Now, the other pillar of Israeli power – Western support and complicity – is starting to crack. We must do all we can to push it over.”
(click read the rest of this article at WND)

written by Avner Boskey www.davidstent.org

 

 

George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (The Life of Reason, vol. one, 1905).  Hegel added, “What experience and history teach is this – that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it” (Georg Wilhelm Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of History, 1832).

 

The Apostle Paul brings a more hopeful historical perspective when he comments, “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did … These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come” (1 Cor.10:6, 11). As history speeds up before our very eyes, we want to heed the warnings God is sending us, and apply the wisdom that can be gleaned from history for the situation at hand. Specifically we need to ask God what we can learn from all the happenings surrounding the recent war in Gaza.

 

The Ebenezer Principle

 

Eli was priest of YHVH at Shiloh. His two sons Phineas and Hophni oversaw and administered the sacrifices at the Tent of Meeting. The Scriptures say that Eli’s sons were wicked men, that they had no regard for YHVH, and that they treated the Lord’s offerings with contempt. They violated the letter and spirit of the Mosaic Covenant and set themselves up as a higher authority. Their father Eli rebuked them saying, “‘If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against YHVH, who will intercede for him?’ His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was YHVH’s will to put them to death” (1 Samuel 2:25).

 

Eli’s desire to honor his sons more than fearing the Lord led to the collapse of his own priestly dynasty, the destruction of Shiloh as a spiritual center, the death of his two sons in battle and the “Ichabod” capture of the Ark of the Covenant by the Philistines. The boy prophet Samuel gave his first prophetic word to Eli in fear and trembling, speaking in the name of YHVH: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family – from beginning to end.  For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible and he failed to restrain them. Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering’ ” (1 Samuel 3:11-14).

 

Eli’s lack of due diligence in disciplining his sons caused another terrible tragedy – 30,000 brave Jewish soldiers were slaughtered at the Battle of Ebenezer (1 Samuel 4:1-10), barely one kilometer away from today’s Baptist Village and Tel Aphek. According to writer of 1 Samuel, a leader’s sin in Israel can have disastrous and heartbreaking consequences – not only for himself, but also for his people.

 

Bulldozing The Bulldozer

 

General Ariel Sharon (known in Israel as “the bulldozer”) was an Israeli war hero whose fierce and bold brand of warfare brought Israel back from the brink of defeat in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He established Unit 101, the basis for what later became Sayeret Matkal (Israel’s Delta Force). He later served as Defense Minister and Prime Minister.

 

When Sharon became PM on January 28 2003, he was known for his Joab-like ferocity in defending the people and land of Israel. His life’s work was based on the same principles as his campaign promises –  no withdrawal from Gaza, the West Bank or any part of Jerusalem; no negotiations with the Palestinians as long as terror continued; and a strong counter-terrorist military and intelligence response to Islamic jihad operations against Israelis.

 

Nearly one year later Sharon did a complete turn around. At the Herzliya Conference on December 18 2003 Sharon announced his intention to unilaterally withdraw Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip; to evacuate all Israeli settlements from Gaza and also four other small settlements from a diminutive section of the northern West Bank. Since Sharon had been elected on a platform diametrically opposed to these moves, his own Likud party insisted that his radical new plans be brought to a party vote. Eventually three separate votes were taken, and each time Sharon’s will was blocked by the will of his party’s majority. Sharon then created a new breakaway party called Kadima, while holding onto the reins of power. He pushed through a retreat from the Gaza Strip, using the IDF to accomplish this. This was especially painful for many, since the Israeli army’s mandate is to protect and defend citizens of Israel, not to evacuate them by force from their homes.

 

What caused Sharon to execute such a drastic turn-around, one that flew in the face of his entire military and political career? According to two senior Israeli reporters (Raviv Drucker of Israel’s Channel Ten and Ofer Shelach of Yediot Aharonot), PM Sharon (who at the time was under many criminal investigations) was well aware that the left-leaning media would look more kindly on former rightists if they pushed for compromise with the Palestinians. Sharon’s push for disengagement was a desperate attempt to get the press on his side and so avoid getting indicted for various illegal transactions. Channel Two correspondent Amnon Abramovitz then said that PM Sharon should enjoy the protection of pro-disengagement forces, and should be treated like an etrog (a fragile citron fruit used in ceremonies during the Feast of Tabernacles).  To sum up, according to left-leaning Israeli political commentators PM Sharon retreated from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria in order to gain a temporary postponement from being hit with criminal charges.

 

Sharon’s attempt to cover his own sins led to two tragedies for the Jewish people – Israel exiting Gaza, and the jihadi Hamas terror organization taking over Gaza. One can say that the recent war (Operation Cast Lead) finds some of its spiritual roots in PM Sharon’s reckless and misguided misdeeds. Even as the sins of Eli led to defeat at the Battle of Ebenezer, so did the sins of Sharon lead to the rise of Hamastan and the necessity for Operation Cast Lead.

 

On Thursday Israeli newspapers revealed that Prime Minister Olmert told Senator George Mitchell (Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East) that he had offered a secret peace deal to the Palestinian Authority which would involve the forcible evacuation of 60,000 residents of Judea and Samaria; a nearly full retreat to the 1967 borders; and an internationalization of Holy Places in Jerusalem. In a scenario that looks like history repeating itself, PM Olmert has also been under more than a handful of criminal investigations over the past 3 years.

 

Ø  Pray that the God of Israel would limit the damage done by Prime Minister Olmert through the harmful negotiations described above.

 

Ø  Pray for the incoming Prime Minister of Israel who will be elected on February 10 – that he would be instructed and guided by God on these issues.

 

9/11 and the Saudi connection

 

History is repeats itself in another area – Saudi Arabian threats against the USA in order to turn American policy against Israel.

 

The first of these two events transpired between May and July 2001, when Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Aziz (now King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia) instructed his Ambassador Prince Bandar Sultan to communicate his grave displeasure with America’s support of Israel. In particular Abdullah was infuriated by Israel’s counter-terrorism efforts against Islamic jihadi terror groups, and by American refusal to condemn Israel’s anti-terrorism policies.

 

Deciding that America did not “get the hint”, on August 25 Prince Bandar told the Saudi Chief of Staff General Bin Muhayya to cancel Saudi Arabia’s high-level strategic military review with America’s top brass.

 

Then, on August 27 Prince Bandar delivered a message to President Bush from Crown Prince Abdullah which said, “A time comes when peoples and nations part. We are at a crossroads. It is time for the United States and Saudi Arabia to look to their separate interests”. The message continued, “Therefore the Crown Prince will not communicate in any form, type or shape with you, and Saudi Arabia will take all its political, economic and security decisions based on how it sees its own interest in the region, without taking into account American interests anymore because it is obvious that the United States has taken a strategic decision adopting (Israel’s) policy”. Unspoken (though anonymously leaked at the same time) were threats of drastic cuts in oil supply to America or even an oil embargo; turning to other countries for weaponry; and no intelligence cooperation regarding jihadi terror groups and plans.

 

Less than two days later, a two-page Presidential letter was winging its way back to Riyadh, held tightly in Prince Bandar’s hands. President George W. Bush had for the first time ever officially committed the United States to establish a Palestinian state – to divide the land of Israel – and was planning to announce this sea-change in US policy on September 24, 2001.  The weekend of September 8, 2001 saw Saudi and U.S. officials discuss how the revolutionary announcement would be publicized – would Colin Powell publicize it first, or would President Bush, or perhaps both? Final decisions were put off to the next week.

 

Prince Bandar recollected that “the happiest man in the world that night, on Monday night, was Bandar bin Sultan. I was in the [indoor] swimming pool [of my McLean residence], smoking a cigar. I gave myself a day off because I worked the whole weekend. I had been to Saudi Arabia . . . out with the [Bush] response, back with our response. I worked on the weekend up to 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock in the morning. . . . I worked all Monday. And I said to my office, Tuesday I’m taking the day off.”  But Tuesday was 9/11.

 

The terror attack on September 11 2002 which destroyed the Twin Towers was carried out by 19 Saudi citizens. The resulting confusion and American crisis forced a rescheduling of president Bush’s Palestine policy change. The announcement was postponed until Bush’s Rose Garden speech of June 24 2002. The principles were then further established by the international “Quartet” on April 30 2003 in what is now known as the “Road Map”.

 

The connection between America’s official decision to divide the land of Israel and the most serious terror attack on U.S. soil is sobering.

 

Ø  Though there are many other factors which also influenced the tragedy of 9/11, God’s warnings about cursing Israel and dividing His land in Genesis 12:3, Joel 3:1-3 and Zechariah 14:1-3 call us to serious prayer for the leaders of our nations.

 

The Turki Trot

 

In a historical repeat of Abdullah’s 2001 threats to the USA, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal published an op-ed in London’s Financial Times on January 22, 2009 entitled “Saudi patience is running out”. Al-Faisal was Director General of the Kingdom’s Intelligence Service for 24 years, and has served as Saudi Ambassador to London and Washington.

 

Here are some quotes from this article.

 

Ø  “Unless the new US administration takes forceful steps to prevent any further suffering and slaughter of Palestinians, the peace process, the US-Saudi relationship and the stability of the region are at risk.”

 

Ø  “If the US wants to continue playing a leadership role in the Middle East and keep its strategic alliances intact – especially its ‘special relationship’ with Saudi Arabia – it will have to drastically revise its policies vis-à-vis Israel and Palestine”.

 

Prince Turki lists what is required: a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank; the recognition of an independent state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capitol; a return of all Palestinian refugees to Israel (basically, an event which would lead quickly to the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state).

 

Prince Turki concludes, “So far, the Kingdom has resisted these calls (for jihad against Israel), but every day this restraint becomes more difficult to maintain … Eventually, the Kingdom will not be able to prevent its citizens from joining the worldwide revolt against Israel.” He then prays that President Obama will have the resolve “to rein in the murderous Israeli regime”.

 

The parallels between Prince Turki’s threats in 2009 and King Abdullah’s threats in 2001 are striking. There is no question that Saudi Arabia is applying pressure, trying to manipulate America into cursing Israel big time.

 

Ø  Pray for President Obama and his advisors – that God will give them a different spirit, and guide them safely through these Saudi minefields into being a blessing to and for Israel according to Genesis 12:3.

 

Perverting the Holcaust

 

Seventy years ago Adolf Hitler began his genocidal attack on the Jewish people. From ghettos to killing pits, from gas chambers to crematoria, Nazi Germany focused with a religious zeal on incinerating the apple of God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8). For the most part the nations of the world showed either indifference or cold-heartedness to the Final Solution. Only after the war did some measure of shame push the nations into voting for the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel.

 

Thirty years passed, and slowly the theme of the Holocaust began to surface in films, plays and literature. Children were taught ethical lessons based on the Holocaust, and Holocaust Remembrance Days became part of most Western European official calendars. Nevertheless, the rise of neo-Nazi and skinhead movements in Germany and throughout Europe continued to grow apace. Anti-Jewish attacks became commonplace in France and the former Soviet Union, with Muslims being the religious grouping most likely to engage in these attacks. The cooperation of European Islamist and radical leftist movements in spearheading anti-Israel demonstrations gradually became part of the political scenery.

 

Operation Cast Lead was greeted by this coalition with huge and often violent anti-Israel demonstrations, which were directed against Jews as well as Israelis, and which took perverse delight in using Nazi terminology to describe Jews and the Jewish state. For the first time since WWII violent European street demonstrations called for the destruction of Jews and the Jewish state, accusing Israel of carrying out a Holocaust on Gazan Arabs.  Verbal attacks on the Jews have included threats to gas Jews, taunts calling the Jewish people Nazis, descriptions of Israel as a Nazi state, and equating the Star of David with a swastika.  

 

The Swedish city of Lulea’s municipal board and local church cancelled a planned Holocaust Memorial Day because of anger toward Israel over the Gaza war. In Barcelona the Cataluña government canceled a public commemorative service remembering the Holocaust. A city official stated that “marking the Jewish Holocaust while a Palestinian holocaust is taking place is not right”.  Instead, the city council decided to have a week of solidarity with the Palestinian people, inviting Leila Khaled, a PFLP terrorist (according to European Union definition). The Socialist mayor of Campozuelos, also in Spain, canceled Holocaust Day and replaced it with Palestinian Naqba Day, mourning the establishment of the state of Israel.

 

It is astounding to see how those who condemn Nazi attacks on the Jewish people so quickly end up repeating Nazi sins by targeting the Jewish state and the Jewish people for vilification, attack and destruction. Though calling themselves anti-Nazis, those who engage in such attacks against the Jewish people and their state are blindly repeating Nazi sins, bringing judgment on their cities and nations according to Genesis 12:3 and Zechariah 2:8. The irony of Nazi-like groups attacking Jews and calling them Nazis is LSD-like in nature; it strongly pushes the boundaries of commonly understood reality further into worlds unknown.

 

The Fellowship of Firemen and Arsonists

 

During WWII many Western statesmen and politicians who were anti-Semitic suggested that their Jewish populations were making too big a thing about Hitler’s persecution of the Jews. They also accused their Jewish constituents of panicking and blubbering, while simultaneously suggesting that the Jewish people “had it coming” and were to blame for any attacks that the wider Gentile populace might bring upon them. These leaders tried to establish a “moral equivalence” between the Jewish victims and their anti-Semitic attackers.

 

It has become commonplace for the UN and world media to fall into this same historical black hole, creating a false moral equivalence between Islamist terror and Israeli counter-terror police operations. The oft repeated term is “cycle of violence”, and the feeling communicated is “Here they go again, blaming each other and killing each other. A plague on both their houses, but a special plague on the Jewish part!”

 

There is a world of difference between the terrorist who wants to destroy all unbelievers in general and Jewish people in particular, and the soldier who is willing to sacrifice his own life to prevent the terrorist from killing innocent civilians. To place them on the same moral playing field is as intellectually honest as stating that firefighters and arsonists are basically the same, since they both deal with fire!

 

A recent example of such moral equivalence is found in Senator George Mitchell’s 2001 Report on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which main conclusions were recently repeated in his December comments in Tel Aviv. In both cases he said that Israel and the Palestinians were both guilty: Mitchell called upon Palestinians to make efforts to prevent terrorism, while calling upon Israel to no longer live in the West Bank.

 

In truth, what is actually required is that Palestinians both stop all terror and also recognize that Jews have a right to live anywhere in their own land.  If terror has been chosen as a Palestinian strategy to get Jewish people to move out of parts of the biblical land of Israel, then Mitchell’s policy of moral equivalence, of forcing Jews to move out of parts of their biblical land is actually aiding and abetting the Palestinian terror strategy. No good or blessing can come to America through such a strategy, from a God’s eye perspective.

 

Prophets Asleep At The Wheel

 

Zechariah 1:7-17 describes the vision of the myrtle trees – a fat and prosperous world that couldn’t care less about the spiritual and physical state of the Jewish people. “All’s well, and all’s peaceful,” is what all the nations say, turning a cold shoulder and an even colder heart to the Jewish people in their time of need (see also Jeremiah 25:31; 30:17). In verse 15 YHVH states that He is very angry with the nations that feel secure, because through their indifference and cold-heartedness they have only added to Israel’s calamitous situation.

 

In the Western world, certain streams of the prophetic movement may have something in common with Zechariah’s vision of the nations among the myrtle trees. When daily prophecies abound which focus on personal fulfillment and financial success, while the Scriptures that prophesy revival, restoration and blessing for Israel are allegorized and applied prophetically only to the Church, a corrective is needed. And over the past weeks when Israel’s life has been threatened by war, what is needed is not a steady stream of “feel-good” prophecies. Serious calls for intercession or divine protection need to go out.

 

We praise the Lord for such groups like Mike Bickle’s IHOP (www.ihop.org), Jobst Bittner’s TOS (www.tos.info), Don Finto’s Caleb Company (www.calebcompany.com), James Goll’s Encounters Network (www.encountersnetwork.com), Jane Hansen’s Aglow (www.aglow.org), Chuck Pierce’s Glory of Zion International (www.glory-of-zion.org), Joel Rosenberg’s Joshua Fund (www.joelrosenberg.com) (and others – this is only  partial list) who have taken a courageous stand in intercession, prayer and more – for Israel and for Messianic Jews. But the need is very great; the laborers are few; and many are otherwise preoccupied.

 

The prophetic movement is still in its infancy, and too often it is more concerned about personal peace and prosperity than in Israel, the biblical apple of God’s eye. In time and as the result of intercessory groanings, that maturity will come. In time the prophets of the nations will receive a deeper revelation about God’s passion for Israel and about the urgency of the hour. In time the prophetic movement will grapple with the scriptures referring to Israel and will accept what they teach. In time the prophetic movement will communicate God’s heart and strategies for Israel and the nations with greater accuracy, honesty and humility.

 

 

 

 

 

Ø  Pray for the leaders of international prophetic streams to receive clearer Bible-based revelation about God’s heart and strategies for His people Israel.

 

Ø  Pray that these leaders would become bold and courageous in their preaching and teaching about the need for the body of Messiah to bless, pray for, stand with and evangelize the Jewish people and their state.  

 

written by Avner Boskey www.davidstent.org

“A text without a context is a pretext”. Bible college students are taught this proverb when they begin to tackle the fundamentals of exegesis. Reporters doing a stint on the Middle Eastern beat would surely benefit from similar advice. Often the main actors and leaders on the Middle Eastern stage are misunderstood by the media, their behaviors and beliefs ignored or glossed over. Apart from access to greater depth of analysis, it is hard for the average consumer of news to make sense of what is actually happening in the Middle East.

 

What follows is some context – light and background enabling the reader to better understand the behavior and strategies of five of the recent Gaza-Israel war’s main players: Egypt, Fatah, Hamas, the Arab world and the United States.

 

Egypt

 

On Sunday January 25 Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised Egypt for preventing stockpiles of weapons in the Sinai desert from reaching Hamas in the Gaza Strip. President Obama also recently thanked Egypt for playing a constructive role in developments. On Friday President Sarkozy of France announced that a French helicopter-carrying frigate will now patrol the waters off Gaza, while on Saturday the US announced that it has diverted the Combined Task Force 151 to track Iranian seaborne weapons smuggling in the Red Sea. On Monday Germany sent six Foreign and Interior Ministry experts to assess how to beef up security on Egypt’s border with Gaza. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, “Effectively fighting weapons smuggling is one of the key questions for a lasting truce and the opening of the borders.”

 

What goes unsaid here is something so simple that it seems to be in poor taste for anyone to call attention to it.

 

Gaza does not only border on Israel. It also touches the Mediterranean Sea and Egypt. The Israeli Navy effectively prevents arms smuggling by sea into Gaza. And of course, arms are not smuggled into Gaza overland from Israel, as the borders are protected by Israeli security fences. It is an open secret that all weapons are smuggled into Gaza through Egypt. Egypt physically observes all Hamas smuggling operations, and allows them to continue because it is in Egypt’s interest for such smuggling to occur. Were Egypt to turn off the faucet on the Hamas arms flow, it could achieve near-perfect results overnight. Why has this not happened?

 

Egypt allows weapons smuggling for its own good reasons. It has a large and restive Islamist population which is pro-Hamas and pro-Muslim Brotherhood. As long as weapons flow to Gaza, some of this potential revolutionary anger toward Mubarak’s regime is dissipated.

 

President Mubarak realizes that control of the arms spigot affords Egypt some influence over Hamas as well, specifically making sure that Hamas focuses its jihadi endeavors on the Gazan side of the Egyptian border. Egypt also recognizes that an active Hamas weakens Israel, and this is definitely part of Egyptian geopolitical strategy. When Israel is preoccupied, Egypt has more room to breathe and influence Arab-Islamic politics.

 

The US, Germany and France understand Egypt’s way of thinking. They know that Egypt will never willingly or effectively prevent arms smuggling. As a result, these nations smilingly describe their current activities as “helping Egypt” and (as long as these foreign navies don’t set foot on Egyptian soil) Egypt smiles in return. Even Israel lends faint praise to the “constructive” Egyptian role. The world smiles and forgets about the Middle East for a few days. Everyone is happy.

 

But, as Delaney and Bonnie once said, “Where there’s a will, sure enough honey there’s a way!” Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan declared on Sunday that nothing “will prevent us from using weapons or smuggling arms into the Gaza Strip or the West Bank. No one has the right to prevent the Palestinians from equipping themselves with weapons as long as the occupation continues. From the first day of the ceasefire we began to return what we’d lost and to improve what we have in our hands. No ships, planes, or technology and satellite imagery will prevent the weapons smuggling.”

 

Ø  Pray that Egypt’s leaders and people will receive the biblical revelation that their blessing and safety will come from blessing Israel (Isaiah 19:16-25)

 

Ø  Pray for Egypt’s leadership to have courage to know, speak and do the truth

 

Fatah

 

Yassir Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has had major problems with corruption since its inception. Palestinian communities throughout the world have been very aware of PLO financial sleaze, yet have made sure that their disgust is carefully voiced in private settings alone. It was this disgust with PLO corruption that led to a landslide victory for Hamas in the Gazan elections in January 2006. Gaza’s electorate chose Hamas to lead them, an Islamist political party whose covenantal platform calls for eliminating Israel through jihad, and setting up an Islamist state (“raising the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine”). Its organizational motto is, “Allah is our goal, the Prophet our model, the Qur’an our Constitution, Jihad our path and death for the cause of Allah our most sublime belief”.

 

Though the US and Western Europe accept Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (the new name for the PLO) as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian people (in Gaza, at least) are not quite as sure. Gazans actually chose jihadi terror representation (Hamas) over more secular and corrupt terrorists (PA and Fatah).

 

But it is not only Hamas that engages in terrorism. The PA’s armed wings (Fatah and al-Aqsa Brigades) are up to their hip boots in terrorism, though Western politicians turns a blind eye and don’t let on that the PA’s “naked emperor” is actually sporting terrorist fatigues.

 

Israeli Colonel Moshe Elad served as the head of the security coordination mechanism with the Palestinian Authority during the Oslo Accord period. Today he is a lecturer at the Western Galilee Academic College. Elad remembers a statement made by a senior Palestinian (Fatah) figure at a fateful moment during the Oslo negotiations: “No Arab leader has the right to renounce the right of return, because the return is beyond anything.”

 

This Fatah politician was stating that, even if a future peace deal would divide the land of Israel into two states (one Israeli, one Palestinian), all Palestinians will still insist on the right to settle in any spot within the Jewish state and claim it as their own. If the Jewish state refuses to allow this, then Fatah will once again wage war against Israel until “every inch of Palestine” is conquered by Arab Palestinians. This is the Palestinian Authority’s not-so-secret strategy. And this Palestinian Authority is what the West calls its “Palestinian peace partner”.

 

Ø  Pray that the God of Israel will grant revelation to Palestinians about His heart for Israel the people and the land (Zechariah 2:8-13)

 

Ø  Pray for salvation in Yeshua to come to many Palestinians through evangelism, dreams and visions

 

Hamas

 

Hamas has the unique challenge of being a jihadi group trying to get its message across to a secular Western world. It has hit on a successful media strategy which has evoked world sympathy – its spokesmen champion freedom from occupation; they call for open borders; they stir up the world to hate Israel for civilian casualties in the Gaza war. Hamas has been rather effective in its strategy. But what Hamas does not communicate is even more important.

 

Though it calls Israel an occupier, Hamas does not explain that Israel does not occupy the Gaza Strip. Israel totally evacuated Gaza in August 2005, leaving not even one soldier behind. What Hamas wants Israel to evacuate now is Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheva and Jerusalem – the whole State of Israel. That is what it means by the term “occupation”. It wants the Jews of Israel to fold up their tents and move en masse to Europe or America or to just disappear from the face of the earth. Israel’s existence is what Hamas wants to destroy – not any invisible occupation in Gaza.

 

Hamas’ call for open borders is also a euphemism. It is another way of saying that Hamas wants freedom to continue smuggling in weapons through Egyptian tunnels and unmonitored Egyptian borders. Open borders between Hamas and Egypt would lead to Israel’s destruction – by the same Gazan rockets, IEDs and gunmen who fired on Israel for the past 8 years.

 

Television footage of civilian casualties in Gaza have been used by Hamas to label Israel a criminal and evil state. Yet the context of those tragic pictures must be re-emphasized: civilian casualties occurred because civilian population centers were where Hamas stored its rockets, placed its rocket launchers and from where it fired its missiles into Israel. Hamas chose its battlefield carefully, knowing that Israel would have to respond, and knowing that civilian casualties could turn world opinion against Israel if the images of these casualties were marketed wisely.

 

Casualty figures were inflated by Hamas and the majority of the casualties were described by Hamas as innocent women and children. The IDF’s latest intelligence is that 1,100 to 1,200 Gazans were killed in Operation Cast Lead, out of which at least 700 were combatants, with another 200 fatalities of men in their 20’s whose identities are still being established. IDF’s Military Intelligence believes that most of these 200 will be proved to be Hamas operatives. That is an approximate ration of 3:1, or 75% of the fatalities being Hamas operatives. This is convincing proof that the IDF was targeting Hamas and not civilians. Indeed, significant precautions were taken not to harm civilians. It was Hamas’ strategy of using Gaza’s civilian population as human shields which made the carrying out of surgical strikes with no “collateral damage” an extremely difficult undertaking.

 

But it seems that for Hamas not all news is sad news. Even though Hamas’ locations of firing zones guaranteed that many of their own fellow Gazans would become cannon fodder, on January 22 Hamas spokesman Tahar al-Nunu announced that the families of Palestinians killed in the war will receive 1,000 Euros, and those whose homes were destroyed will receive 4,000 Euros.

 

The Arab world

 

In the Middle Ages, blood libels against European Jews were commonplace. False and vicious charges were often made that Jewish people had captured and then murdered Christian children, draining their blood to mix with unleavened flour for ritual Passover matzot. Even in the Middle East such charges became commonplace. In Damascus, Syria a blood libel was backed by the French Consul in February 1840, and it led to the murder of two Jewish leaders and the torture of seven Jewish citizens, as well as the hostage-taking of 63 Jewish children. Other notorious Middle Eastern blood libels include Damascus (1848, 1890), Aleppo (1810, 1850, 1875), Antioch (1826), Beirut (1862, 1874), Tripoli (1834), Jerusalem (1847, 1870, 1895), Jaffa (1876), Dayr al-Qamar (1847), Istanbul (1870, 1874), Izmir (1872, 1874) and Edirne (1872).

 

The blood libel has been resurrected by Syria’s Vice-President and Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas in his book The Matzah of Zion (1983). Egypt’s government-sponsored al-Ahram newspaper published an article on October 28, 2000 entitled “Jewish Matzah is Made from Arab Blood”. Other modern variations on an ancient theme involve Jews supposedly using Arab blood to make Purim pastries. The false equation of Zionism with Nazism has also been drilled into Arab minds for more than 40 years in succession.

 

In Israel’s counter-terror Operation Defensive Shield (April 2002), Palestinian sources claimed that Israel had massacred more than 500 civilians in Jenin. The numbers were later downsized to between 53 and 56, 6 or 7 of whom were civilians. Hamas’ recent attempts to paint Gazan fatalities as being all or mostly civilians is an up-to-date example of the same libelous strategy.

 

A few days ago I watched a British TV network interview a Gazan man who insisted that he watched an IDF soldier get out of his tank and shoot a number of small Palestinian children with his personal M-16 while two other IDF soldiers looked on, munching on chocolate bars and potato crisps. No evidence was shown, nor was it requested. No IDF reaction was asked for. No other eyewitnesses were interviewed. Yet this libelous “testimony” was broadcast around the world as “gospel truth”.

 

Other deliberately slanderous charges against Israel in the Gaza war involve accusations of using white phosphorus anti-personnel bombs and uranium shells. In each case attempts are made to portray Israeli behavior in battle as sub-human or even demonic. Unfortunately, some human rights groups with a strong anti-Israel bias have taken up these calumnies and used the media to spread these hateful charges against Israel. In this they are unwittingly used by Hamas as willing accomplices in their drive to weaken and destroy the Jewish state.

 

American political strategies

 

President Obama declared on his first day in office that he “will make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a key diplomatic priority from day one”.  He “will make a sustained push … to achieve the goal of two states, a Jewish state in Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security”. Obama stated that he would pursue peace in the Middle East “aggressively” and that he appointed Senator George Mitchell as his new Middle East envoy. Senator Mitchell is supposed to arrive in Israel on Wednesday to begin his mission.

 

Mitchell was the facilitator of the Belfast Agreement (1998) in Northern Ireland. He then “formed the conviction that there is no such thing as a conflict that can’t be ended”. His Mitchell Report, commissioned by President Clinton and handed in to President Bush, became the basis for President Bush’s Road Map concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict. Mitchell’s plan then called for a total freeze on Jewish housing growth and settlement (including natural growth, which means normal population increase through births) between Beersheva and Jerusalem, and between Jerusalem and Afula (the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria).

 

His present perspective is summed up in this quote from May 21, 2001: “Two proud peoples share a land and a destiny. Competing claims, religious differences and many other factors have led to a grinding, demoralizing and destructive conflict here”. Mitchell sees the Biblical prophecies and Islamic claims over Israel as in conflict. He does not believe that the God of the Bible is restoring the Jewish people back to their own homeland. For Senator Mitchell, that train of thought is irrelevant and even potentially destructive. His solution is to sidestep all claims and to attempt to establish peace and stability through American influence and pressure. To Mitchell, “the alternative is unacceptable and should be unthinkable” (this last quote was also given word for word on December 18, 2008).

 

Though perhaps well intentioned, it is clear that President Obama’s aggressive priority to establish peace in the Middle East leads back to the same black hole that swallowed the Bush Administration – a commitment to divide the land of Israel and give part of it to Israel’s enemies. Without truly understanding what he is getting himself into, President Obama is running up against the promises and warnings of the God of Jacob in Zechariah 14:1-3 and Joel 3:1-3. When Yeshua returns, He will judge the nations based on their dividing up of the land of Israel and their re-division of Jerusalem. Dividing the land of Israel (even if one calls it “the peace process”) actually forms the basis for the judgment of the nations at the Second Coming of Messiah Yeshua. Concerted pressure on Israel by any nation will bring the concerted pressure of YHVH right back on that nation.

 

Ø  Pray for President Barak Obama, his advisors and wise men – that the Lord God of Israel will grant him a revelation regarding the land of Israel and God’s strategy for it as the Jewish homeland and world capitol. Pray that the President will only push for the things that will bless America, things that will dovetail with God’s heart and strategies for the Promised Land.

written by Avner Boskey www.davidstent.org

 

Background to the recent war

 

Hamas or ‘The Islamic Resistance Movement’ (for deeper background on Hamas and all archived newsletters on the war see www.davidstent.org, under “words”, newsletters February 2006, June 2007) is linked with the Muslim Brotherhood, a world jihadi group ideologically connected to Osama Bin Laden.  Hamas has fired over 10,000 rockets and mortars against civilian targets in Israel over the past 8 years. Sporadic firing of rockets against Israel continued during a recent temporary “cessation of hostilities”, and that season was used by Hamas to build up forces and weaponry in preparation for the present continued attacks on Israel.

 

On December 19 2008 Hamas refused to extend even that partial cease-fire and began intensive rocketing Israeli kibbutzim, towns and cities on the average of 40-50 attacks a day. On Saturday December 27 Israel Air Force jets attacked Hamas forces in Gaza, finally responding to years of Hamas rocket attacks. On January 3 2009 a land invasion of Gaza was initiated. The war lasted for just over 22 days. A unilateral ceasefire was declared on Saturday evening January 17, going into effect Sunday January 18 at 2 am, after which Israel troops evacuated the Gaza Strip by January 20.

 

Gaza after the cease-fire

 

IDF troops pulled out of Gaza on the evening of Tuesday January 20, President Obama’s Inauguration Day. Their pullout had been delayed by post-ceasefire Hamas mortar fire and sniping. Sporadic Hamas mortar fire continued up to January 24, though most of the mortars which were fired landed within the Gaza Strip.

 

Since the ceasefire Hamas gunmen continue to hijack humanitarian aid trucks and steal much of the aid, as well as to assault UNRWA drivers. They have prevented Gazans from accessing Israeli medical clinics at the Erez crossing (set up to treat Palestinian Gazans).

 

Hamas is currently engaged in a vendetta against Palestinian Authority (PA) members of Mahmoud Abbas’ former PLO/Fatah.  Ehab al-Ghsain, Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman, said that “the Internal Security Service was instructed to track collaborators and hit them hard”. This euphemistic “tracking” refers to Hamas rounding up, torturing and killing PA loyalists. Well over 100 confirmed PA people have been shot in their legs or have had their hands broken; at least three have had their eyes gouged out; many are being tortured at a children’s hospital and at a mental health center in Gaza City, as well as at school buildings in Khan Yunis and Rafah. An unnamed Fatah operative said, “What’s happening in the Gaza Strip is a new massacre that is being carried out by Hamas against Fatah”. It remains to be seen whether or not the world’s media will care that much about Palestinian deaths when they are “only” caused by fellow Arabs in Hamas.

 

Photos of smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza are front page news in Israel. These tunnels are being re-dug and are in busy operation. Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon estimates that it will take Hamas one year to re-arm and make up for its losses before it is ready to attack Israel again. This explains Hamas’ strategy in seeking only a one year lull (tahadiya in Arabic) in the fighting.

 

How “moderate” is Fatah in Gaza?

 

The US and Europe classify Hamas as a jihadi terror organization, while its sister organization the Muslim Brotherhood is illegal in Egypt. Another major Palestinian organization exists in Gaza called Al-Fatah. Fatah is the largest faction of Yassir Arafat’s PLO (also called the PA or Palestinian Authority). It is considered by the Western world to be a moderate Palestinian organization, and most Western aid has been funneled through the PA.

 

Active in terror for more nearly three decades, in September 1993 Arafat gave public commitments to Israel, Norway and the USA that the PLO would abandon terror and armed struggle against Israel. As a result Israel co-signed the Oslo Accords, recognizing the PLO/PA/Fatah as “the representative of the Palestinian people” and “commencing negotiations with the PLO”. 

 

Though the accepted Western perspective is that the PA is now moderate and committed to non-violence, the truth is rather different. Arafat may have publically declared pacifism on the White House lawn, but he continued to fund and administrate terror for a decade post-Oslo. Occasionally Israeli intelligence has been able to present “smoking guns” – incontrovertible evidence – incriminating the PLO and blowing their cover.

 

On May 7 2001 the Santorini arms smuggling ship (loaded with Iranian arms and headed for Gaza) was commandeered by Israel’s Shayetet 13 Navy commandos. On January 3 2002 the Karine A was boarded, again by Shayetet 13, again under control of Arafat’s people, again full of Iranian and Russian weapons (packed in 80 submersible containers to be tossed overboard at the Gaza coast). Documents seized by IDF special forces from Arafat’s Muqata HQ in Ramallah (April 2002) confirmed his paying of terrorists’ salaries for specific attacks against Israelis. The PLO’s declarations of moderation were simply lies 15 years ago, and the Palestinian Authority’s “peace declarations” today are also lies.

 

Arafat’s successor today is Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority. He graduated from Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow in 1982, and his thesis was later published as a book titled “The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism” in which Abbas described the Holocaust as a “the Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that six million Jews were killed”. His conviction is that the “number of Jewish victims (was) only a few hundred thousand”.

 

After Operation Cast Lead, Fatah in Gaza declared that they had fully participated in the jihad against Israel, firing 137 mortars and rockets on Israeli towns, farms and cities.

 

The first phone call that President Obama made (8 am on his first day of work in the White House) was to PA head Mahmoud Abbas. In that conversation Obama pledged to work with Abbas as a partner for a lasting peace in the region.

 

Hamas declares “unilateral victory”

 

Hamas and its allies continue to declare that Israel has been defeated. “With full trust and full confidence I say the Palestinians people and the heroic resistance have won this battle. Hamas today is stronger than any time before”, said Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri. On January 20th banners carried at Hamas’ victory parade read, “The resistance will be victorious; Israel has been defeated”.  Hamas Politburo chief Khaled Mashaal declared that Hamas had “gained legitimacy through struggle” and insisted that the EU should begin dialogue with Hamas.

 

On the other hand, Lt.-Col. Rick Francona, a former US Air Force intelligence officer and military analyst for NBC News, said to Israel, “You’ve won the battle”. It is his perspective that the ceasefire is “just the end of this round, and that seems to be Israeli policy right now. The best Israel can go for is to manage the conflict until Hamas can be made to go away,” Francona said.

 

Lt.-Gen. Thomas McInerney, a 35-year veteran of the US Air Force and a Fox News military analyst, said on January 20 during a visit to Israel, “I think you achieved what one Israeli general called ‘changing the reality’ in which Hamas operates, but I think you were too restrained and could have gone deeper into Gaza … The Israeli public’s support for this war mutes global opinion. When a nation is united in its right to defend itself, it makes it more difficult for Europeans, the Left or the Arab media to counter that … Your leadership is too sensitive about world opinion. I know why Israel didn’t (drive deeper into Gaza) – you have an election coming up and a new (US) president taking office, but you need to gain the freedom of operation in Gaza that you have in the West Bank.”

His take on the Israeli unilateral ceasefire?  “Israel did not want to destroy Hamas. I believe you should have.”

 

Israeli perspectives

 

Dr. Dan Shiftan (head of National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa) recently wrote an article “Limits of Restraint”. In it he analyzes the strategic nature of Israel’s response to Hamas rocket fire targeting its citizenry and originating from within Gazan civilian areas. Israel’s willingness to sow disproportional destruction on its enemies is a clear message to some of its unfriendly Middle Eastern neighbors: “Destruction in Gaza contributes to the prevention of war with Lebanon and Syria, assists Egypt and Jordan in fighting radical elements, and signals Israel’s limits of restraint to Iran”.

 

Colonel Yigal Slovik, Commander of Armored Corps’ 401st Brigade, described how entering his first booby-trapped house in Gaza removed his moral reservations about low-intensity urban conflict. “When you see one house that is laden with explosives, and then the one next to is also booby-trapped or serves as a weapons cache – then there is no dilemma … As a father, looking into the house and seeing a photo of children – then clearly it touches the heart – but if there is a possibility that my soldiers will get hurt as a result of an explosion from inside that house, then I’d rather feel bad over the photo than bury five of my soldiers. We did not destroy homes; we acted against terror infrastructure.”

 

European perspectives

 

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France stated at the Sharm esh-Sheikh press conference, “In our minds, this is the beginning of our journey. We should continue and we should accelerate our efforts in order to achieve a settlement based on the creation of two states, a Palestinians state living side-by-side with an Israeli state that has the right to its security”. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner added that this should happen “very quickly”.

 

Trine Lilleng, First Secretary of the Norwegian Embassy in Riyadh, sent out a newsletter juxtapositioning Holocaust pictures of Jews alongside of color photos of Operation Cast Lead. She stated, “The grandchildren of Holocaust survivors from WW II are doing to the Palestinians exactly what was done to them by Nazi Germany”. Does Lilleng actually believe that death camps and gas chambers exist in Gaza?

 

The amount of anti-Jewish attacks has risen more than 300% since the same time last year. Most of these anti-Semitic attacks have focused on the Gaza war, and have involved verbal and physical attacks on Jewish people and Israel supporters.

 

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on the leaders of eight countries – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland (where recent demonstrations were starkly anti-Semitic in nature) to publicly condemn “the explosion of anti-Semitic rhetoric”. Posters and banners with Nazi imagery, as well as genocidal chants comparing Jewish Holocaust victims to Gazans have been widely used at anti-Israel demonstrations in the past three weeks.

 

The ADL statement said, “Blatantly anti-Semitic displays have contributed to an unacceptable wave of anti-Semitic threats of violence, intimidation and attacks against Jewish communal institutions and individuals in many countries … While it is important to take immediate steps to increase security measures for the Jewish community for the protection of property and the personal safety of individuals, there is also an urgent need for your government to publicly and forcefully speak out against such anti-Semitic attacks to make it clear that anti-Semitism, hatred and bigotry of any kind has no place in your country”.

 

The Time of The Hunters

 

The prophet Jeremiah described a time (yet future in his day) when God would bring the Jewish people back to Israel in an Ingathering greater than the Exodus from Egypt (Jeremiah 16:14-15). At that time there will be a movement of fishers – people who benignly participate in and catalyze this return (verse 17). As well, Jeremiah said that there will be a last-days movement of hunters – men and women who will hunt down and destroy the Jewish people in a scenario very similar to Hitler’s Final Solution.

 

A dear prophetic friend James Goll told me of how God spoke to him on the morning of September 11 2001. The Lord told James, “Turn on your TV”. He did so and saw the second jet crash into the Twin Towers in NYC. Then the Lord told James, “The time of the hunters has begun”.

 

We are now in the season where anti-Semitism is increasing exponentially, and it will grow until it even outstrips that of Hitler’s Nazi Reich. The war in Gaza is being used by Satan to catalyze and jump-start a European and Western anti-Semitism that has merely lain dormant, and an international Islamist anti-Israel movement that daily prays and strives for a jihadi vision of Israel’s future.

 

Ø  Pray for the protection and salvation of the entire Jewish people; that Diaspora Jews will wake up to the growing danger of world anti-Semitism; and that believers in Yeshua worldwide will be ready to stand with the Jewish people and the Jewish state, having counted the cost.

 

http://www.ifapray.org/MidEastAlerts/MEA2009/MiraclesarehappeninginIsrael.html
By Dena Gewanter, M.D., Kiriat Yam, Israel

January 21, 2009

While the media in the West are lambasting Israel for killing women and children, and are saturating their viewers with horrific photos of bloodied corpses, Israel as a nation is undergoing an astonishing spiritual awakening as a result of this conflict. It is a pity that the world is unable to be witness to the miracles that are occurring here daily. Even the most jaded person would be amazed at the transformation of the people in this country. After many years of feeling the underdog and fearful of the approbation of the outside world, Israel is undergoing an absolute renaissance on a personal and national level.

First and foremost, Israel as a nation has finally decided to throw aside the fear of being rejected by the nations and embrace its sovereign right to defend its citizens from terrorist attacks. What is so astonishing, for those who know Jews and particularly Israelis, is that a whopping 92% of Jewish Israelis actually AGREE that the war is necessary and just. The adage of 2 Jews, 3 opinions and 4 political parties has vaporized in the face of the national crisis we are in. Not only is there agreement among the populace, but also the left wing and the right wing of the political spheres agree. Even more amazing is the concordance among the various religious factions: Ashkenazi, Sephardic, reform and conservative, Zionists and anti-Zionist Jews are all joining together in prayer and supplication to the Almighty for salvation, protection and victory over our enemies. There are calls to prayer everywhere, regardless of denomination or ethnic background, everyone is united in looking towards the God of Israel to keep our soldiers safe and help us win against an evil enemy who has sworn never to stop until Israel as a nation is destroyed.

The soldiers themselves seem to have a huge spiritual hunger, and are unified in not only asking for prayer but also praying themselves, wearing tzitzit (prayer tassles) into battle and carrying the book of Psalms with them. The Rabbis are calling the tzitzit “heavenly flak jackets!” Tent synagogues on the battlefield have no less than 10 sessions every morning, and it is reported that soldiers who never attended synagogue are now praying with tefillim. They have reason to cry out to God, since everyone is aware of the years of preparation of the bloodthirsty Hamas militants, their desire to kill, maim or kidnap Israeli soldiers is greater than their desire to live; they have been financed by Iran and supported by Syria and Hezbollah. Yet, we are defeating them, and there are reports daily of amazing miracles of protection and Divine direction during the battle. The following are just a few examples: A Hamas map was found, with booby-traps, landmines and sniper positions clearly spelled out. The IDF was able to counter each installation due to the information given. A large platoon of soldiers not realizing they were resting in a school that was booby-trapped, (discovered by a soldier relieving himself in the night), disarmed the bombs with no one hurt. A single soldier successfully fought off several Hamas terrorists trying to drag him into a tunnel, and all were captured. Hundreds of tunnels, hidden in homes under beds and kitchen cabinets, all full of live explosives and ammunition, yet none have exploded with IDF soldiers inside. While there have been soldie rs wounded, there are miracles there as well. A young man who moved here alone from England less than 2 years ago to serve in the army was in an explosion, and thrown into the air. After being carried off the field by other soldiers and transported on a tractor to helicopter and then to hospital, the doctors were utterly stunned when they saw that a piece of shrapnel that went completely through his neck, missed the carotid artery, the jugular vein and the spinal cord by millimeters. After they removed it, he needed only stitches. Another soldier was shot through the back but the bullet missed his spinal cord and exited from the front. A young newlywed, in grave condition, inexplicably turned for the better and will recover to go home to his wife.

On the ground level, bombs continue to fall, but here again, miracle after miracle is reported even on the local news. One hears the word “nes” (miracle) over and over by the reporters and the bystanders. A bomb heading toward 4 apartment buildings goes into a sewer pipe and explodes underground, damaging nothing above ground. An elderly woman caught in an apartment completely demolished by a bomb, walks out with scratches on her ankle. The mayor of Beersheva felt he should cancel school one day, and a rocket completely destroys an empty kindergarten. The elder housing complex that was hit in Nahariya had the sleeping quarters destroyed, but everyone had just gone to breakfast, so no one injured. A man leaves his car with his young daughter, and the car is blown up moments later after they entered a bomb shelter. If they had taken a few more seconds, he and his daughter would have been burned to a crisp. He was televised saying again and again it was a miracle.

Similar stories like these were heard during the second Lebanon war, reported on Israeli radio and television, but no one in the west ever heard; only negative propaganda from the terrorists was reported, whose aim was to malign Israel and make us look like a nation of bloodthirsty killers. One has to grieve over the terrible destruction of the cities in Gaza and the horrific human tragedy going on there, but the responsibility for the suffering and death is directly on the doorstep of the Hamas leadership. These deluded people think that their god, Allah, will give them victory, and have entered into a battle with the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that they will never win. We are literally living in times like those of the scripture, when the Lord told Elisha all the plans of the enemy, until they began to wonder if there was a spy in their ranks.

There is hope here, not despair and unity of resolve. Even the parents of Yoni Natanel, killed by friendly fire, were quoted as saying that their son died “for the sanctification of God’s name”, and forgave and blessed those who accidently fired at his unit. There is such heroism and courage here, one wishes that the world could see it, but as one of our journalists said, the media have left their brains at the door of Ben Gurion Airport. They are many miles away from the actual battle, wear flak jackets and helmets for the cameras, and then take them off to have cappuccino at the local restaurant!

Fortunately, Israelis are accustomed to being misunderstood and maligned by the outside world. At this point, everyone knows we have a job to do, and we are becoming more and more aware that there is a greater Power than us is on our side. We are fulfilling our commission to be a “Light to the Nations”. Israel learned from the failure of the Lebanon war, and prepared well to fight the terrorists who clearly said they wanted to destroy us. The rest of the nations have not remembered the threats of Hitler, and how the Jewish people were almost wiped out because no one wanted to believe he actually meant what he said. Contrary to those who want to hide their heads in the sands of political correctness, there is a right and a wrong side in this conflict. It is a battle between darkness and light. Fortunately, we have a God who was never wishy-washy about defending Israel against her enemies, when His People cried out to Him for help. The outside world is missing the miracle of a righteous God who hears the prayers of His People.

“If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

SOURCE:

AOL News
 

© 2009 Intercessors For America. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1232265973374&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

A historic natural gas reservoir found offshore from Haifa is poised to meet Israel’s natural gas demand for about 15 years and reduce the country’s dependence on gas imports from Egypt and offshore from Gaza. The discovery of the natural gas field 90 km. offshore from Haifa, known as Tamar, was made by a US-Israel consortium including the Delek Group, through its subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration, Isramco Negev 2, Dor Gas Exploration and US oil operator Noble Energy Inc.

Preliminary estimates indicate that the Tamar field might contain over 88 billion cubic meters of gas.

“If the Tamar site opposite the Haifa coast succeeds in producing the significant quantities of natural gas predicted, we are talking about a revolution which will have an impact on the Israeli economy for the coming generations,” said Dan Halman, CEO of Halman-Aldubi Group. “The vast reservoir is poised to bring down electricity prices, reduce the country’s dependence on gas from foreign countries, in particular from Egypt, and thereby turn Israel from a gas importer into a gas exporter.”

Yoav Burgan, analyst at Leader Capital Markets, believes in the possibility of long-term deals resulting from the Tamar well which could generate a potential value of $15.5 billion.

However Halman cautioned that despite the optimism it was too early to celebrate.

“Big celebrations are still premature,” said Halman. “It needs to be remembered that the drilling is complicated and production possibilities are not yet completely clear. In addition, gas transportation is a much more complex and expensive process compared with oil transportation.”

Similarly Yuval Zehira, head of the research department at IBI Investment House, raised doubts over the economic viability of the project.

“For the time being it remains very difficult to assess the profitability of the project given that we don’t have figures regarding the initial cost of drilling, production costs, the time it will take to sell the gas, and at what price, and the effect of competition with Egyptian gas,” said Zehira. “At this point it seems that the project is more of a strategic asset than an economic one.”

The Tamar prospect, located under 1,676 meters of water, was drilled to a total depth of about 4,900 meters. Production testing at Tamar will be performed after the well is completed.

Gal Reiter, analyst at Clal Finance Batucha estimated that the production tests would cost about $20 million and should be completed in about three weeks.

Noble Energy, which operates the well with a 36% working interest, and its Israeli partners said that they might keep the rig to drill two additional wells in the basin.

“This is one of the most significant prospects that we have ever tested and appears to be the largest discovery in the company’s history,” said Charles D. Davidson, CEO and chairman of Noble Energy Inc.

Following the announcement of the discovery, shares of Delek Drilling, which holds 15.6% of the Tamar prospect, jumped 41.7%, and shares of Avner Oil Exploration, which holds another 15.6%, surged 21.4%. Both companies are owned by billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva. Shares of fuel exploration company Isramco, which owns 28.7%, leaped 123.8%.

Additional reporting by John Benzaquen.

[This is in English–recorded prior to the cease-fire Jan 15, it is worth listening to. It contains a perspective of what it is like to fight a war against people who do not value life, victory or death as we are accustomed. This is not all Palestinians, nor are they all Hamas. Excerpts it is written out below, but it is worth listening to the entire 48 minute interview available at the bottom of this message.]

IDF Soldier in Gaza Speaks
by Hillel Fendel


Aryeh, a Jewish reserves soldier down in the Gaza war, shares his real-life experiences – including old men with suicide belts, booby-trapped kindergartens, and secular soldiers stocking up with mini-Psalms for protection. And a surprise: It’s the children’s letters that keep our army going! An IDF soldier in Gaza speaks of enemy attempts to kidnap soldiers into tunnels, the incredible motivation displayed by his comrades-in-arms, and more.

Aryeh, a former hesder yeshiva student and a soldier in reserves who spent a week fighting terrorists deep inside northern Gaza, spoke with IsraelNationalRadio’s Yishai and Malkah Fleisher on Thursday about his personal experiences during the war.

Email readers: click here to listen to the IDF soldier from Gaza

Excerpts:

I’ve been in Gaza for a week; medics and others in my unit went in a week earlier to get the lay of the land. We’re in an armored reconnaissance unit, which means we are infantry that goes in front of the tanks, first of all to clear a path, either in open area or clearing houses in built-up areas, making sure there are no anti-tank forces against us, and secondly, we scout ahead and point out targets for the tanks…

The army was very tight with us about security – they took away our cell phones, made sure we don’t have cameras, etc.

No Atheists in Foxholes

[Asked what it is like when they actually enter Ga Right before we went in, there were a lot of jokes, black humor, like, ‘I’ll leave you my boots,’ etc. And you know how they say there’s no atheist in a foxhole – it’s really true. Rabbis were giving out Tehillim [little books of Psalm, and every soldier took one, or two, or three, or four – even the guys who just two days ago were arguing with me against religion. They act as if the Tehillim are bullet-proof, and they put them all over their body, saying I don’t want to get hit here, and here, and here… Anyway, before we went in, there were jokes – but then, when we actually start going on, it gets very, very quiet, people thinking their own thoughts, like who might not be coming back, or about their families, or whatever.

When we actually went in, it was very surreal. On the Israeli side, even with all the rockets and shells falling around us, you sort of feel safe – but when you cross over, you feel like you have left the safe cover of Israel. … You hear a lot of booms, mostly from our jets and copters and tanks and things. The first kilometer or two was open area, and then, when we got to the built-up areas, it really was pretty scary. There are snipers and stuff – but there were two things that were particularly hard for me. One is that almost every single house is booby-trapped – even with families inside! Because it looks good on the news [against Israe to have a whole family killed… the people are forced to stay there, or sometimes they stay on their own – this is insane, we can’t comprehend this… It’s scary kicking in a door and thinking that the entire house might collapse on you.

Fear of Being Snatched

But even more scary is the fact that there are tunnels everywhere in Gaza – not just the ones that people know about in southern Gaza. I don’t know how many there are, but there are tunnels between houses and headquarters and the like, not only for reinforcements but also because one of their main goals is to kidnap soldiers. That is really terrifying. You see a bush and suddenly the bush moves and a hand sticks out, trying to grab a soldier’s leg and pull him inside. It happened a lot… Or we’re in a house trying to get some sleep, and you don’t know if a floor tile will suddenly move and someone will try to grab you. So on the one hand, you try to sleep very little, but we also work very closely together, looking after each other, helping each other, and certainly not doing anything by oneself…

The Old-Man-and-the-Cane Trick

The top Hamas guys are dug-in and hiding pretty well under hospitals and schools, and they don’t even know what’s going on outside. We’ve cut their phone lines, including cell phones, and they communicate by sending children with notes to each other; we’ve caught kids carrying notes. We once saw an old man hobbling down the street with a cane, looking very bent over and wretched, and when he saw Israeli soldiers, he suddenly threw away the cane, ran over to them and tried to blow himself up on them; the soldiers were able to shoot him first.

No Concern for Life

[Asked what the feelings seem to be among the Arab The mindset of the enemy is so alien to us; by us, the death of any one soldier is terrible, a national tragedy – but by them, it seems that they want as many deaths as possible. In Israel, schools even dozens of kilometers from Gaza are closed in order to minimize the risk, which is pretty small – but in Gaza, where there are bombs all over the place all the time, we’ve seen kindergartens filled with 150 or 200 children, and the kindergartens are boobytrapped! They even shoot rockets from inside mosques and these places…

We Want to Finish the Job

The soldiers’ morale is very high, and all of them definitely believe that the war is just and important. No one likes fighting; people want to be with their families. I’ve seen some 35-year-old guys almost crying about how much they miss their families – but at the same time, no one wants to leave now. Of all sectors, it’s the soldiers who do not want a ceasefire, not because we want to fight but because we know the job is not finished yet. We don’t want to have to go back again in a year or two or three. The soldiers want to stay and finish the job, they really do… I think there has to be a hard push against Hamas, even harder than we have done until now; this will take a real sacrifice, we know – but to think that we might leave and the rockets will still fall, what did we do??! Killing 900 terrorists out of 20,000 is just not enough, we have to really decimate their ranks in order that they should know that they should leave us alone…

True, Gaza is now largely in ruins, but they’ll get lots of money to rebuild, and they’ll use a lot of the money to get more weapons as well. We have to go in deeper and stronger, and make them understand that it’s just not worth it. In addition, I think we can’t leave without Gilad Shalit; it would be terrible if not.

We Feel the Hand of G-d

[Asked about how spirituality and faith in G-d plays ou Well, I would say that everyday religion is one thing; we take things for granted, we pray every day, some people concentrate more and some concentrate less… But here – you live it, you absolutely live it. Secular soldiers are whispering prayers, everyone wants G-d to be there, and we do feel it – we have seen the hand of G-d; we have been very fortunate, you can see it and feel it… [Regarding packages of sweets that the soldiers receive from the home fron Even though we’re often hungry, the first thing a lot of soldiers go for in the packages that is not the food, but rather the letters and words of support. You can’t imagine what it does for us to read them… I have about nine of the really special ones, and when I had a little time, I would go over to some corner and pull them out and read them… They give so much strength…

I just want to tell this really special story that happened to me: Some of the letters have phone numbers on them, so I called one of them to thank her for her letter – an 8-year-old girl named Eden. Eden told me that she was so happy I called and that she had just been in the hospital for an ear operation… But then her mother got on and she was all emotional and told me, “It’s so amazing that you called because Eden’s two older sisters received calls of thanks from soldiers, and she was feeling sad that no one called her – and now you called!”

Click here to listen to Aryeh’s entire talk.

This report contains details of Saturday and Sunday’s events, a brief analysis, and specific prayer requests.

 

Ø  The Israeli cabinet declares a unilateral cease-fire late Saturday evening

Ø  22 Hamas rockets and mortar attacks after Israeli cease-fire declaration

Ø  IDF begins partial redeployment Sunday afternoon

Ø  On Sunday afternoon Hamas announces gradual cease-fire

Ø  Majority of Israelis opposed to cease-fire

Ø  Double press conferences of 6 European leaders (Sharm eh-Sheikh, Jerusalem)

Ø  The Obama factor

 

Background to the present hostilities

 

Hamas or ‘The Islamic Resistance Movement’ (for deeper background on Hamas and all archived newsletters on the war see www.davidstent.org, under “words”, newsletters February 2006, June 2007) is linked with the Muslim Brotherhood, a world jihadi group ideologically connected to Osama Bin Laden.  Hamas has fired over 10,000 rockets and mortars against civilian targets in Israel over the past 8 years. Sporadic firing of rockets against Israel continued during a recent temporary “cessation of hostilities”, and that season was used by Hamas to build up forces and weaponry in preparation for the present continued attacks on Israel.

 

On December 19 2008 Hamas refused to extend even that partial cease-fire and began intensive rocketing Israeli kibbutzim, towns and cities on the average of 40-50 attacks a day. On Saturday December 27 Israel Air Force jets attacked Hamas forces in Gaza, finally responding to years of Hamas rocket attacks. On January 3 2009 a land invasion of Gaza was initiated.

 

IDF activity

 

Throughout Saturday IAF planes bombed 100 smuggling tunnels on the Gaza-Egyptian border, as well as targets throughout the Strip. Firefights between IDF and Hamas gunmen erupted throughout Gaza. Booby-trapped buildings and homes were disarmed or blown up by IDF sappers.

 

On Sunday 170 truckloads of humanitarian aid (including fuel, food and medicine) were allowed through IDF checkpoints from Israel into Gaza.

 

Unilateral Israeli cease-fire

 

Just after 2300 Saturday night Prime Minister Olmert announced that the cabinet had authorized a unilateral cease-fire, which would come into effect on Sunday at 0200.

 

Olmert said, “Our targets, as defined when we launched the operation, have been fully achieved, and more so”. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “We’ve met our military objectives”. On Sunday morning Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi added “The objectives set for the operation have been achieved in full”.

 

Fine-print on the cease-fire

 

There are some troubling aspects to this cease-fire which are not being emphasized in the news.

 

PM Olmert added, “This is not a ceasefire with Hamas … These understandings do not guarantee a ceasefire of Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israeli civilians”.

 

DM Barak said, “Hamas may fire at (IDF) forces and the home front”.

 

Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said, “No-one expected (Hamas) to stop firing immediately after the ceasefire had gone into effect”.

 

C.O.S. Ashkenazi added, “We have created conditions to fundamentally change the security realities in southern Israel”. Note the fluid and amorphous (and extremely non-military!) definition that does not allow for clear or definable benchmarks in judging military success. No wonder; that strategic aim was devised by the cabinet and given to the IDF just prior to the Operation’s inception.

 

Hamas responses

 

Hamas’ immediate response to Olmert’s ceasefire declaration was to fire 22 rockets into Israel over the next 18 hours. Cities hit included Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheva, Kiryat Gat, Netivot and Sderot. IAF strikes took out some of these rocket launchers and cells.

 

Hamas released reports on Sunday morning that IDF choppers were firing on civilians near a Palestine Bank branch in Jabalya. These reports were immediately picked up by world media. Only later, after a few hours, did the facts come out: six hours after the Israeli ceasefire declaration, Hamas gunmen fired on IDF soldiers, who returned fire and called in tank and IAF reinforcements.

 

Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan responded to the ceasefire with these words: “Either we hear what we want or the result will be continuing the confrontation”.

 

Abu Ubeida, Hamas spokesman for Izz ed-Din al-Qassam, stated “Do what you like, but the manufacturing of holy weapons is our goal. Bringing arms into Gaza is not smuggling. The natural situation would be for all Arab and Muslim countries, along with the rest of the free world, to formally allow weapons into the Strip… Meanwhile, we believe it is our right to bring arms in any way we find fit.”

 

Though Hamas had secretly communicated to Egypt that it would accept a ceasefire, Hamas sources declared with bluster, “Rocket fire is intended to send the message that we are the ones who decide when there is a ceasefire, not some unilateral decision in Israel”.

 

Ayman Tahu, Hamas spokesman in Cairo, declared at 1431 on Sunday that Hamas would accept a limited ceasefire: “Hamas and the factions announce a ceasefire in Gaza starting immediately and give Israel a week to withdraw.” From the tenor of these words it sounds like Hamas had pummeled Israel into submission and not vice-versa.

 

Gaza’s “victorious” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh spoke from his secret bunker hidden under Shifa Hospital, declaring that “the enemy has failed to achieve his goals” and that Hamas had pulled off “a popular victory”. Hamas’ sponsor Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that “this is only the beginning of victory,” while Mushir al-Masri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza said “We are in a powerful, victorious position. Israel will soon learn that the balance of power has changed in Hamas’s favor.”

 

In an unintentionally dry comment on Sunday, Hamas sources added, “The Palestinian organizations have no intention of drawing IDF fire that could harm Palestinian populations”.  There might be some Gazans who are thankful that this statement was made although, since it came after a ceasefire and after 22 days of Hamas’ totally opposite strategic war policy which made use of Gazan civilians as human shields, it is probably a moot point.

 

David Horovitz, Editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, notes that Hamas will never “fundamentally change a mindset that emphatically places the destruction of Israel above the well-being of Palestinians”.

 

Egyptian responses

 

Egypt, like Johnny Cash, is trying to “walk the line” between scorning and yelling at Israel (on the one hand) and insisting that it is a viable peace partner with Israel and America (on the other hand); between placating Islamist popular forces which could overthrow or assassinate President Mubarak (on the one hand) and arresting and imprisoning Hamas’ sister organization in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood (on the other hand).

 

On Saturday Mubarak (who already had spoken with Israeli representatives and knew that Israel would declare a ceasefire within a few hours) proclaimed, “I demand Israel today stop its military operations immediately. I demand from its leaders an immediate and unconditional cease-fire and I demand from them a full withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Strip”.

 

On Sunday Egyptian security sources announced that they had detained 620 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest roundup of MBers in recent months. The arrests were due to pro-Hamas demonstrations and “membership in illegal organizations”. It seems that Mubarak considers the MB to be a threat to Egypt’s stability, but feels that Israel should not at all be heavy-handed in dealing with its own home-grown MB organization – Hamas.

 

At the Arab Economic Summit in Kuwait on Sunday, Mubarak spoke approvingly of Islamist armed resistance (to the State of Israel), saying “We support the right to resistance, but feel it should be responsible. We believe that resistance, like the decision to start a war, should be responsible, and should be subject to profit and loss calculations. There are factions that admit the balance of power leans very much in Israel’s favor, and it will take many years to reach a balance of power. Should the Palestinian people wait that long?”

 

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit commented on the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Israel and the United States (which is supposed to impede Hamas smuggling of rockets through Egyptian territory) in these words: “We have no commitment towards this memo whatsoever”. The US and Israel can “do what they wish with regard to the sea or any other country in Africa, but when it comes to Egyptian land, we are not bound by anything except the safety and national security of the Egyptian people and Egypt’s ability to protect its borders”. Aboul Gheit reiterated that no weapons were being smuggled into Gaza from Egypt; he again stated that Hamas was rearming by sea. It seems that the Foreign Minister feels that the Israeli Navy is simply falling down on the job.

 

Aboul Gheit added that Israel is the main obstacle to an Egyptian sponsored peace, and that “Israeli intransigence” is due to that Jewish state being “drunk with power and violence”.

 

Israeli responses

 

A poll taken by the War and Peace Index after the first week of fighting showed that 90% of Jewish Israelis surveyed believed that this war should continue until it has achieved its goals – total cessation of rocket fire and terror attacks, and a total halt to smuggling of weapons into Gaza. Polls taken Sunday indicated that approximately 40% of Israelis are in favor of a ceasefire. This is due to the fact that the two main objectives listed by the cabinet were not totally achieved.

 

Knesset Member (MK) Avigdor Lieberman commented, “The Israeli people cannot live in peace while Hamas is in control of Gaza. Any armistice will surely be used by Hamas to prepare for the next conflict.” He stated that what was needed was “crushing Hamas’ motivation to fight us”; “Past experience shows us that ceasefires become deathtraps”.

 

SHABAK (Israeli FBI) Chief Yuval Diskin stated that “if Israel doesn’t deal with the problem of the Philadelphi route (ed., the smuggling tunnels), the situation will go back to the way it was within a number of months”.

 

MK Yuval Steinitz (former Chairman of the following Israeli Government Committees – Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee; Subcommittee for Intelligence and Secret Services; and Joint Security Committee Between the Knesset and the US Congress) said, “I fear that the main objectives of the IDF operation in Gaza have not been met. It is not clear what mechanism will prevent the arms smuggling into Gaza or why we can rely on Egypt”.

 

Likud whip MK Gideon Sa’ar added; “We assume Hamas will continue to arm itself, and we will find ourselves in another conflict with the organization in the near future after it has obtained long-range rockets”.

 

The Jerusalem Post’s David Horovitz says that “a definitive result has not been achieved” in this war.

 

Former Prime Minister MK Bibi Netanyahu noted that “the IDF has dealt Hamas a severe blow, but unfortunately the job has not been completed. Hamas still controls Gaza and will continue to smuggle improved rockets through the Philadelphi route. We cannot show any weakness in the face of the Iranian-backed Hamas terror and must act with an iron fist to defeat the enemy”.

 

Televised interviews with two mothers whose sons were recently killed in Operation Cast Lead revealed that both mothers were opposed to stopping the operation, and both felt that their sons would have wanted the operation to continue until the rockets are stopped, Hamas control over Gaza is broken, and Staff-Sergeant Gilad Shalit (kidnapped by Hamas and held incommunicado for nearly 940 days) is freed.

 

An article in Yediot Aharonot (Israel’s leading Hebrew paper) noted that “many soldiers in the field” see the unilateral ceasefire as “a missed opportunity to crush Hamas”.  “We could have done a lot more. There’s a feeling the operation ended too early” said soldiers.

 

Avi Farhan, a resident of Sderot (who had been evacuated from Yamit in 1982 under PM Begin’s Camp David pullout, and again from Gaza in August 2005 under PM Sharon’s disengagement) commented, “We have witnessed a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and we’ve seen what has happened since then. Now they decide on a unilateral ceasefire with no one asking what part Egypt has played so far in the smuggling of all the weapons to the Gaza Strip. All we want and demand is to let the IDF win. We don’t want decisions to be made now for election considerations and other political considerations”.

 

European responses

 

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said, “Hamas must halt rocket attacks on Israel and the smuggling pf weapons into the Gaza Strip”.

 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, UK PM Gordon Brown, Spanish Premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi and Czech PM Mirek Topolánek all flew in for a whirlwind series of press conferences and photo opportunities at Sharm esh-Sheikh, Egypt and Jerusalem, Israel.

 

British PM Gordon Brown said, “We are prepared to provide British naval support to stop arms trafficking … At the same time, we’re prepared to provide European support for monitoring at the (Gaza-Egypt) crossings”. Considering that Hamas’ rockets enter Gaza by land through Sudan and Egypt, even the Royal Navy may find that assignment somewhat challenging.

 

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Walner declared that the “ceasefire should be followed by the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip”.  Would it have been too much to have hoped for some comment about peace being somehow connected to Hamas no longer attacking Israel?

 

France‘s Nicolas Sarkozy stated, “Israel should state immediately and clearly that if rocket fire will stop, the Israeli army will leave Gaza. There is no other solution to achieve peace.” French Foreign Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier added that “an international conference should be quickly organized” for launching “a dynamic for negotiations” on creating a Palestinian state. Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair said that the Arab initiative for peace between the Palestinians and Israel is “not dead” but requires a new endorsement of the two-state solution from all parties involved.

 

Most Israelis do not think that now is a good time for peace, and that a continuing Hamas presence in Gaza will do nothing to aid tranquility in the region. And of course, from a biblical perspective, the dividing up of the land of Israel (as Blair and Sarkozy et al advocate) is a rather dangerous assignment for any world power to attempt.

 

The Obama factor

 

Having surveyed the significant glitches and strategic problems inherent in a unilateral ceasefire, one must ask what compelling reason might there be in favor of ending Operation Cast Lead so suddenly. The compelling reason is the calendar date of January 20 – the Inauguration Ceremony of President Barak Hussein Obama, soon the 44th President of the United States of America.

 

According to senior Israeli cabinet officials, Israeli PM Olmert decided to withdraw from Gaza prior to the inauguration “as a gesture to the incoming President”, not wanting to “embarrass” President Obama as he takes office. These senior officials added that the cabinet reached its decision approving a unilateral ceasefire because political considerations began to outweigh the military considerations. As well,  intense international pressure to stop the fighting was brought to bear on Israel.

 

Ø  As we pray for the continued safety of Israel and the defeat of her enemies, we need to lift up Israel’s political and military leadership, asking for the God of Jacob to grant them courage, strength, clarity, discernment and revelation, and for the fear of God to triumph over the fear of man.

 

Riots and anti-Semitism

 

A Saturday demonstration in Paris organized by EuroPalestine brought 2,600 demonstrators marching towards the Israeli Embassy before they were stopped by the local gendarmerie. Israeli and US flags were burned, and for good measure the windows of a nearby McDonald’s were shattered. London, not to be outdone, witnessed the shattering of a local Starbucks shop window on January 10 in an anti-Israel demonstration. These two rather powerful examples of political activism spilling into pseudo-revolutionary violence find their common ground in pogrom-like anti-Semitism. An excellent and penetratingly prophetic piece of writing by Liat Collins of the Jerusalem Post is recommended to you in this regard (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1232100170492&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull).

 

On Sunday, 200 violent Beirutis were stopped with water cannons and tear gas as they attempted to cut through the barbed wire perimeter surrounding the US Embassy.

 

Also on Sunday Indonesian Islamist cleric Abu Bakar Bashir (founder of Islamist terror group Jemaah Islamiah – see www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/ji.htm), called for a jihad against Israel in his sermon to 500 at a local mosque in Bekasi, east of Jakarta: “The war in Palestine isn’t a war between one country and another, it is a religious war. The Jews try to destroy Islam, and so Muslims must join, to fight in their own capacity”.

 

On Saturday a Berlin court struck down an administrative ban on demonstrators using Hamas flags, clothing and banners, but felt constrained to prohibit calls to murder Israeli or Jews at public demonstrations. Recent demonstrations in Germany have been marked by calls to “kill, kill Israelis”, “kill, kill Jews” and “Juden raus!” (“Jews out!”, a Nazi slogan). Though Hamas is on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations (September 2003), freedom of speech for anti-Semites won the day in Berlin. 

 

In an article in the German Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger entitled “Vom Wegsehen und Vergessen” (“About averting one’s gaze and forgetting“), political commentator Tobias Kaufmann notes that in today’s Germany “blatant anti-Semitism is blossoming. Germany is currently experiencing perhaps the largest anti-Jewish manifestations since World War II. Jews are called child-murderers, and Israel is compared with the Third Reich”.

 

Precedents, jihad and Arab shame

 

Three thoughts in closing:

 

1. Israel took unilateral steps in its withdrawal from West Bank cities (1994) after which Yasser Arafat’s PLO filled the vacuum; in its withdrawal from Lebanon (2000) after which Hizbollah filled the vacuum; and after its withdrawal (“disengagement”) from Gaza (2005) after which Hamas filled the vacuum. In each case terror was subsequently directed against Israeli civilians as the relinquished territory became a jihadi base for killing Israelis. Unilateral withdrawals have an abysmal track record in this part of the Middle East.

 

Ø  Pray for Israel’s leaders to have the veil of fear lifted from their eyes and hearts vis-à-vis the displeasure or opposition of the nations.

 

2. Islamic jihad is a powerful spiritual force. Most Westerners are far too secular to appreciate this, and have ignored jihad to their national detriment. Until the power of jihadi Islam is broken over the Middle East and Central Asia, there will be no peace for the Western world and no peace for the Middle East. That, and not  a Palestinian state, is the real deal-breaker.

 

Ø  Pray that the God of Israel will cause the anti-Christ religion of jihadi Islam to collapse, and for a new harvest to take place throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

 

3. Embedded deep with the Arab and Islamic culture is a life-and-death polarity between honor and shame (highly recommended is The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs, by David Pryce-Jones; Ivan R. Dee Publishers, Chicago 1989). Leaders in the Arab world know that their survival depends on their supporters’ honoring them, and these leaders’ demise is directly connected to the level of shame they tolerate. So Hamas boasts that it has won the recent war, because if it admits the truth (that it has been decimated by Israel, a non-Islamic power) it will lose its status, its influence and eventually its head in Gaza. Mubarak refuses to stop smuggling on Egypt’s Gaza border because he knows that if he allows foreign forces to operate on Egyptian soil, he will be targeted by Osama Bin Laden and his followers – as another apostate Arab ruler who has allowed the “Western infidel” to obtain another foothold on Islamic soil.

 

Ø  Pray for deliverance and salvation for President Mubarak of Egypt, for the Hamas leadership, and for Mahmoud Abbas and the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. While you’re at it, pray for the salvation of many Hizbollah adherents, and for many Syrian and Jordanian seekers of truth.

 

Ø  And end your prayers with one penultimate prayer for the salvation and deliverance of Israel and the Jewish people!

 

In Messiah Yeshua,

 

Avner Boskey

 www.davidstent.org

 This report contains details of five days of fighting, a brief analysis, and specific prayer requests. 

Ø      The IDF encircles Gaza City and eliminates Hamas’ #3 leader

Ø      More than 113 Hamas rocket attacks against Negev cities

Ø      IDF keeps opening humanitarian aid corridor for 3-4 hours per day

Ø      Egyptian brokered ceasefire nears

Ø      Anti-Semitic attacks continue internationally

Background to the present hostilities

Hamas or ‘The Islamic Resistance Movement’ (for deeper background on Hamas and all archived newsletters on the war see www.davidstent.org, under “words”, newsletters February 2006, June 2007) is linked with the Muslim Brotherhood, a world jihadi group ideologically connected to Osama Bin Laden.  Hamas has fired over 10,000 rockets and mortars against civilian targets in Israel over the past 8 years. Sporadic firing of rockets against Israel continued during a recent temporary “cessation of hostilities”, and that season was used by Hamas to build up forces and weaponry in preparation for the present continued attacks on Israel.

On December 19 2008 Hamas refused to extend even that partial cease-fire and began intensive rocketing Israeli kibbutzim, towns and cities on the average of 40-50 attacks a day. On Saturday December 27 Israel Air Force jets attacked Hamas forces in Gaza, finally responding to years of Hamas rocket attacks. On January 3 2009 a land invasion of Gaza was initiated.

Hamas rockets 

Over the past five days Hamas fired more than 113 at civilian targets. Over 800 rockets have been fired so far in the last 21 days of hostilities.  

On Thursday at 4:55 pm two Grad Katyusha rockets were fired at Beersheva. One hit a civilian car which had pulled over to the side of the road upon hearing the air-raid sirens. Six people were injured, 2 seriously. One of those was 7-year old Uriel Elazarov, who was comforting his mother as they huddled, saying “Don’t be scared, Mom, it’ll be alright!”. Uriel is in serious condition at Soroka Hospital in Beersheva. This rocket fell approximately one mile away from our home.  

Other rockets have recently landed only meters away from believers in the Western Negev.

Here is a day by day breakdown of the number of Hamas rockets fired at Israeli farms, towns and cities since the war began: 67 (Dec 27), 31 (Dec 28), 71 (Dec 29), 54 (Dec 30), 77 (Dec 31), 53 (Jan 1), 38 (Jan 2), 40 (Jan 3), 47 (Jan 4), 40 (Jan 5), 35 (Jan 6), 28 (Jan 7), 27 (Jan 8), 29 (Jan 9), 26 (Jan 10), 20 (Jan 11), 24 (Jan 12), 22 (Jan 13), 17~ (Jan 14), 30 (Jan 15), 22 (Jan 16).

One of the main objectives of Operation Cast Lead is to stop the firing of rockets at Israeli civilians. Another is to stop all violent terror attacks coming out of Gaza. If war is another method of communicating to the enemy, it seems that Hamas has not fully accepted the message. Here are some relevant quotes showing that Hamas is determined to keep opposing a ceasefire, and is quite willing to use Gazan civilians as human shields in the process. 

Hamas declarations in the past days have said that they “will not agree to harm the tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt … As long as there is occupation, the resistance will continue” (January 14, Rafaat Nasif, senior Hamas official). “The resistance won’t stop, and Gaza won’t surrender. Victory is near” (January 15, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, Islamic Jihad Secretary-General). Hamas states in its covenant that the “the occupation” means the existence of the State of Israel anywhere. The tunnels referred to are those used for smuggling Iranian and Chinese rockets into Gaza.   

“Gaza is writing a new chapter in history today, and the future will be different from the past … Israel thought it would end the situation with a blow from the air, but this is the 20th day and Israel hasn’t achieved a thing. It hasn’t broken the resistance, hasn’t dictated its conditions. Our losses are fewer than the ones on the Israeli side” (January 15, Khaled Mashaal, Hamas Politburo chief). Losses to date (fatalities) in Operation Cast Lead are ten Israeli soldiers, and between 500 and 700 Hamas gunmen.  

“We will not accept Israel’s conditions for a ceasefire” (January 16, Khaled Mashaal, Hamas Politburo chief). “Don’t suggest that we surrender because we haven’t been defeated and won’t be defeated. Our determination grows stronger every day, because our debt to the shahids (ed., jihad martyrs) whose blood has been spilled is bigger. We shall continue fighting, so don’t suggest that we surrender … Just like the resistance was victorious in Lebanon in 2006, (ed. Hamas) will win in January 2009″ (January 17, Osama Hamdan, senior Hamas spokesman in Lebanon). 

Ø      We are so thankful for how God’s angels have pushed rockets and mortars off-course and spared many Israeli lives. Pray that this continues to happen (Hebrews 1:14). 

Israeli intelligence in Gaza 

Since the start of Operation Cast Lead the Israel Air force has carried out more than 2,500 sorties. This includes the bombing of 250 smuggling tunnels. On January 15 the number three Hamas leader, Sa’id Siam was successfully targeted, along with his brother Ayad and Salah Abu Sharah (head of Hamas’ security organization). Siam was head of Hamas’ internal security department, and was responsible for the murder of hundreds of Palestinian Authority workers in Hamas’ violent putsch of June 2007. He oversaw the kneecapping of any Gazans who expressed public opposition to Hamas rule in recent days. He was also the most hard-line of the Hamas political leadership. 

The IDF has eliminated more than 400 known Hamas operatives, and at least 200 more who were not wearing battle fatigues (deliberately hiding their military affiliation, as per explicit Hamas instructions). It is worth pausing for a moment and considering the deep penetration that Israel’s SHABAK security services have done in Gaza, to be able to have such comprehensive details on Hamas gunmen all the way up the chain of command. It also reveals the ignorant lack of professionalism of most media reports who willingly accept Hamas casualty figures without understanding the propagandistic nature of these twisted casualty reports. 

IDF engineers discovered a terror tunnel dug underneath the border fence from east-central Gaza to the Nahal Oz fuel terminal. The purpose of the tunnel was to attack the Israeli fuel trucks which have continued to bring diesel fuel into Gaza for years and have continued to do so throughout Operation Cast Lead. On April 9 2008 Hamas terrorists fired mortars and small arms fire on an Israeli mechanic and a driver at the Nahal Oz terminal readying trucks for fuel deliveries in Gaza, killing two. This fuel terminal exists for the benefit of ordinary Gazans. The level of self-destructive hatred which motivates Hamas is staggering to most Western minds. 

Misleading media charges – phosphorus shelling

 

Charges have been made by some human rights activists regarding Israel’s supposedly illegal use of white phosphorus shells against civilians. Peter Herby, the head of the Red Cross’s mines-arms unit said “In some of the strikes in Gaza it’s pretty clear that phosphorus was used, but it’s not very unusual to use phosphorus to create smoke or illuminate a target. We have no evidence to suggest it’s being used in any other way.” Illegal uses of phosphorus armaments would include burning down buildings or consciously putting civilians at risk.  

All the major media carried the false charges against Israel, and most did not refer to the clear Red Cross denials. The same media outlets chose not to carry verified reports of Hamas firing phosphorus mortars at civilians in the Eshkol area of Israel on Tuesday, one of them landing very close to a farm owned by believers.

 

Tightening the ring around Gaza City 

Starting on Tuesday IDF forces began tightening the ring encircling Gaza City, where Hamas’ main command center operates in bunkers under the large Shifa Hospital building. On Thursday 80 tanks made their way into the suburb of Tel al-Hawwa, in southwest Gaza City. Thousands of Gazans began to flee their homes and seek safer ground. The home of senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar was struck on Thursday, killing five of his personal bodyguards. 

Hamas mortar and RPG squads targeted IDF forces from UNRWA facilities (the UN HQ in Gaza City). IDF forces returned fire, and one of the major UN warehouses was set ablaze. This prompted a cry of outrage from visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Prime Minister Olmert responded, “This is a sad incident, and I apologize for it, but our forces were attacked from there and the response was harsh. We did not wish for such an incident to happen, and I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Hamas attacked from within the UNRWA building during our humanitarian pause in Gaza,” 

During WWII George Orwell once noted that “we sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm”. He added, “War is evil, but it is often the lesser evil”.  

Ø      Pray for the brave soldiers in these units who are risking their lives many times a day – that the Lord of hosts would give them steady hands, cool nerves and total protection as they confront Hamas gunmen throughout Gaza (Number 10:9). Pray that the God of Israel would give them a saving revelation of Yeshua (1 Kings 8:37-44; Zechariah 12:10).

Ø      Pray especially for the close to 50 believing Messianic soldiers participating in these battles (Galatians 6:16). Ask God to strengthen them, grant them victory, and strengthen their families with His power, love and confidence.

Humanitarian aid 

For the past five days the IDF has allowed convoys of humanitarian aid to reach Gaza for three hours per day, contingent upon Hamas also holding their fire. Hamas in fact broke this mini-ceasefire every day. On Tuesday 100 truckloads of humanitarian aid were allowed in to Gaza through Israel, while on Friday 130 trucks entered. More than 1,136 truckloads of aid, supplies, fuel and medical equipment have been allowed into Gaza by Israel throughout Operation Cast lead.  

Proportionality and international duplicity

Each Gazan civilian killed or wounded is a tragedy, and each one is precious to the God of Israel. Though the IDF and IAF are taking pains that NATO forces never took in the Kosovo conflict, Hamas is spoon-feeding the world media vicious, false and misleading spins on the matter of civilian casualties. Civilian casualties are a factored-in part of Hamas’ war strategic planning. 

The reason for civilian casualties (perhaps 25% of the 1,200 fatalities and 5,000 wounded to date) is unfortunately simple – the Hamas High Command  were cowardly and callous when they decided to establish their rocket bases in the midst of Palestinian urban areas. 

Between March and June 1999 NATO led 90 air attacks (the air forces of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Holland, Italy, Turkey, Spain, UK, and US) which caused between 500 and 1,500 civilian fatalities. Cluster bombs were used in civilian areas and these caused a minimum of 150 deaths. Operation Allied Force struck old-age sanitariums, hospitals, markets, columns of fleeing refugees, buses, trains, etc. No casualties were suffered by NATO forces, since they chose to “remain above the conflict” by primarily using high-altitude bombing – a decision that led to a drastic increase in civilian fatalities. Certainly a comparison of NATO and Kosovar fatalities in that air force operation would be a textbook example of “disproportionately“.  

Yet the NATO spokesman Jamie Shea declared on BBC News  (May 13 1999), “There is always a cost to defeat an evil. It never comes free, unfortunately. But the cost of failure to defeat a great evil is far higher”. He added that NATO planes had bombed only “legitimate designated military targets … We try to do our utmost to ensure that if there are civilians around we do not attack; NATO does not target civilians…let’s be perfectly clear about that.”

 

The Israel Defense Forces are actually defending their own country against Hamas rocket attacks – terror which is targeting Israeli civilians. The ten national air forces listed above were never physically targeted by any side in the Kosovo conflict prior to the air sorties. Another outstanding comparative difference between NATO conduct in 1999 and IDF conduct in Gaza 2009, is that IDF troops have chosen to walk into extreme physical peril in order to limit Gazan civilian casualties. The IAF continues to abort bombing runs when innocent civilians accidentally stray directly in front of strategic targets.

 

World responses

 

President Evo Morales (a close friend of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez) has broken relations with Israel, saying that the IDF’s activities have “seriously threatened world peace”

 

Turkish PM recap Tayyip Erdogan called for Israel to be thrown out of the UN, “How is such a country … allowed to enter through the gates of the UN?” 

Syria‘s Bashar Assad and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashar have called for “Arab efforts to put an end to the barbaric massacre that Israel is carrying out against the Palestinians people”. 

Libya attempted to have the Security Council condemn Israel attacks, but withdrew its push when told that it would have to also allow a discussion of Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians.

 

Britain and other EU UN ambassadors attempted to pass a resolution declaring Israel responsible for the situation in Gaza. Gerald Kaufman, a British Labour Party legislator who is Jewish (though not kindly disposed toward Israel) declared during a House of Commons debate that “the present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians”. 

Dozens gathered in Teheran, burning posters of President-elect Obama and crying “Death to Obama” while waving Palestinian flags.

 

Anti-Semitic attacks against Jews in France (Molotov cocktails and spraying of Nazi slogans) continue apace, with synagogues attacked in St-Denis, Lille, Mulhouse, Paris and Villeneuve-Saint-Georges. A Jewish man was stabbed on Friday in Paris; French police believe that anti-Israeli motives are involved.

 

On a more positive note, over 1,000 people demonstrated in Vienna in a pro-Israel rally on Monday, while last Saturday in Germany there were three pro-Israel demonstrations of approximately 1,000 each in Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich. In the kingdom of God numbers are not the ultimate test of power, influence or significance. We remember that One Man’s death – whipped, naked and abandoned by His friends – continues to bring salvation to untold billions.  

Ø      Keep praying and keep blessing Israel! The God of Israel watches and makes not of ever positive and significant blessing of His people Israel. 

Ø      Pray fervently that the Holy Spirit, God’s Heavenly Restrainer, will suppress and foil this explosion of Jew-hatred in our day (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Pray that He would increase revelation concerning His heart for the Jewish people, the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8).  

 

Cease-fire deliberations

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday in Washington. The US agreed to help prevent Hamas’ smuggling of weapons through Egypt. Perhaps this step will help, since Egypt is also an American ally, and it is Egypt’s passive approach to this issue (by allowing Hams to smuggle weapons and rockets into Gaza) which is one of the main causes for this war. At the same time, Livni stated that Israel reserves the right to respond with fire if Hamas attempts to re-arm itself. 

It is rumored that discussions between Israel, Egypt and the US will lead to a declaration of a temporary ceasefire. That ceasefire (if honored by Hamas) might lead to further discussion regarding the establishment of an apparatus to prevent weapons smuggling. Such a step might in turn lead to a staged Israeli withdrawal parallel to a Hamas guarantee not to attack Israel for a certain period of time (a renewal of a tahadiya, or lull in the battle – see www.basicsproject.org/terrorism/ideology/tahadiya_houdna.htm). 

This potential ceasefire is shot full of problems. If carried out as diplomats are hinting at, it would not remove Hamas from being a potential “spoiler” and major player; it would leave Hamas with sufficient rockets to re-initiate hostilities at a later date (and potentially extend the range of its rockets in a future battle); it would leave Hamas terror in charge of Gaza; it would leave Staff-Sergeant Gilad Shalit (the kidnapped Israeli soldier – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilad_Shalit) still in a dank Hamas secret prison – where he has languished for more than 930 days. 

Ø      Pray fervently that God will guide Israel’s and America’s leaders, showing them how to pull the plug on Hamas’ abilities, influence and control in Gaza.

 Ø      Pray that Israel’s leaders would have great courage to insist on Staff-Sergeant Gilad Shalit’s release, and that he would be released now.

In Messiah Yeshua,

Avner Boskey
www.davidstent.org

Click Books for More Info