Special Alert #3
As the fighting in Gaza enters the third week Israel is once again at a crossroads where it must make strategic choices. At this point, it seems clear that while Hamas has taken a major blow to its infrastructure, weapons stockpiles, and the loss of a small number of its fighters (their force was estimated to be 15,000-20,000 fighters), this terror organization is still active, in place, and ruling Gaza.

Israel has mobilized about 10,000 reservists who have spent the last week training and are now ready to go. As we said in the last Special Alert, you cannot keep troops in a high state of readiness indefinitely.

Israel must make a decision: Withdraw from Gaza either unilaterally, or with some kind of truce mechanism in place. Both of these are bad choices. At best, Israel will only achieve a “victory on points, not the conclusive victory it is aiming for. Hamas continues to pound Israel with rockets, now hitting as far inland as Beersheva, and according to some reports, as close as 17 Km. south of Tel Aviv.

Expanding the ground operation to the next stage might include taking over the Philadelphi corridor (between Egypt and Gaza), where the smuggling tunnels are situated. Other options to “stage 3” are expanding the fighting to the central part of Gaza (Khan Yunis) and even house to house fighting in the center of Gaza City. The army estimates that stage 3 would take an additional 20 days to accomplish. That would bring us to 31 January, 10 days before elections.

Meanwhile, on the streets of the nations and in the U.N., calls for an unequal “cease fire” are being heard with greater frequency and violence. U.N. resolution 1860, calling for a cease fire in Gaza, basically puts Israel, a sovereign nation, and Hamas, a terrorist organization, on the same level. It does not call for disarming the terrorists in Gaza and it does not even mention Israel’s captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Israel appealed directly to President Bush to veto the resolution, but he declined to do so. While this resolution is not “binding”, and Hamas rejected it outright anyway, it is a bad harbinger of things to come.

This past weekend demonstrations were held all over the world blaming Israel for a “massacre” of the Palestinians; not one word was mentioned of the constant terror southern Israel has been experiencing for the last three years. The dictionary defines a massacre as: “The act or an instance of killing a number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty. A cruel or wanton murder.” None of these definitions applies to what is happening in Gaza. Yes, some children and civilians are dying in Gaza, but we must ask and answer the question, why? They are dying because Hamas is fighting in the midst of this civilian population and using these civilians as living shields to protect them from the Israeli Army. (There are documented pictures of Hamas terrorists holding children in front of them to keep Israeli soldiers from firing at them, and pictures of Hamas mortar squads firing from U.N. schools which are supposed to be places of refugee for the Palestinian civilians.) Many of these fighters are wearing civilian, not military clothes, and they are fighting from Mosques as well as schools. The Hamas leadership is in hiding, reportedly in a bunker under Shifra Hospital in Gaza.

While the children are innocent victims, most of their parents do not qualify as innocent. Two thirds of the population of Gaza voted for Hamas in the last elections. They voted for a terror organization who has promised never to recognize Israel, never to make peace with her, and to fight with all means (including suicide bombers) until Israel is totally destroyed.

Although Israel is far from perfect, and in war accidents do happen, what other nation has both dropped leaflets from the air and even called Gazans on their phones calling on them to move out of areas that are occupied by the terrorists or have weapons caches. Did Germany warn London before the V2 bombs dropped? Did the USA and UK warn Dresden before it was firebombed? Did the USA warn the Iraqis before the “shock and awe” bombing of the Second Gulf War?

In the midst of this battle, Israel has agreed to a daily three hour cease fire (1-4 PM) so that food and medical supplies can be brought into Gaza. As Israel “ceases,” Hamas continues to “fire” rockets into Israel. What other country in the history of warfare has ever done something like this? Yet, we are maligned and condemned in most of the nations of the world.

At Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, P.M. Olmert said it very well: “No country in the world, including those that preach morals to us, would have shown restraint as we have. We knew this wouldn’t be simple, and what is acceptable for every other country in the world is barely accepted when it comes to Israel. We have never allowed anyone to decide for us whether we are allowed to strike those that hurl bombs at our kindergartens and schools and we never will agree to that in the future. No resolution that was made or will be made in the future that will deprive us of our basic right to defend the residents of Israel.” Let us pray that these will not just be nice sounding but empty words, but that they will be a standard of operation that Israel will be committed to.

Our prayer points come from Special Alerts 1&2 and this Friday’s Prayer Points:

Pray for:

  • Clarity, courage, and sound judgment for Israel’s political and military leadership. That they have the strength of soul and spirit, as well as the determined resolve to see this battle through to the proper conclusion.

    “And said to the judges, ‘Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment.'”

    2 Chronicles 19:6

  • That the end of this conflict will also include the release of our prisoner in Gaza Gilad Shalit. That this will be a non-negotiable demand of Israel.
  • That Israel will take over the “Philadelphi Route.”
  • Protection of the innocent on both sides of the battle lines especially the children.

    Thus says the LORD: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”

    Jer 31:15

  • Israel to strike a hard and decisive blow on the Hamas infrastructure and terrorist leadership.

    God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day. If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts. Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood. He made a pit and dug it out, And has fallen into the ditch which he made. His trouble shall return upon his own head, And his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown. I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness, And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

    Psalm 7:11-17

  • Israel to have an anointing and ability to explain to the world why this is happening and to remain committed to finishing it properly, in spite of the worlds condemnations and accusations.

    Let Your mercies come also to me, O LORD — Your salvation according to Your word. So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I have hoped in Your ordinances.

    Psalm 119:41-43

  • The Israeli elections: that they will not be postponed, nor that this long overdue Israeli response to the ongoing terror will shift the election into the hands of those who are responsible for the condition in the first place. We ask for an overwhelming victory for Likud and Netanyahu — because they are the one major political party much closer to Your revealed will for this nation. Anoint Netanyahu and the rest of the Likud team with real wisdom and sharpness to lay out the situation clearly once election campaigning restarts. Awaken Israelis to truth. Give us a government through whom You can glorify Yourself.

    “And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.”

    Ezekiel 36:23

  • Extreme vigilance for Israel’s intelligence services so we are not surprised by an attack by Hizbullah or Syria. Pray also that there would be clear communication between the intelligence services and divine wisdom as to what to act on and what not to. In addition, pray that policy would be driven by what’s truly best for the nation and not by politics or personal ambition.

    And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”

    2Kings 6:12

  • While we pray for the safety of all of Israel’s soldiers, please remember that many Messianic believers are serving at this time and more may be called to the battle.
  • Pray that Israel will not have any more “friendly fire” incidents.
  • Ultimately, that God’s will is done.

    For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

    Jeremiah 29:11

    For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”

    Romans 11:25-27

The IFI Team
11 January 2009