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

 

Ø  The IDF kills over 50 Hamas gunmen in central and northern Gaza

Ø  IAF continues to bomb strategic targets, eliminates head of rocket forces

Ø  More than 100 Hamas rocket attacks against Negev cities in three days

Ø  IDF again opens humanitarian aid corridor for 3 hours per day

Ø  Two Muslim countries recall ambassadors from Israel

Ø  US Congress and Senate pass resolutions supporting Israel’s right of self-defense

Ø  Anti-Semitic riots & demonstrations 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.

 

Seeing the forest and the trees

 

Understanding events is more than simply scanning a list of facts. These reports attempt to give accurate, up-to-date facts – necessary information which often is unreported by the “fast food” media matrix. But there is also a need for perspective – what do these events mean –a need to communicate background dynamics which decisively influence developments on the ground. Today and tomorrow two newsletters will be sent out – this first one focusing on the fast moving events, and a second newsletter laying out seven mini-perspectives to help the reader obtain a better grasp of what is going on.

 

Ground operations

 

For the past three days IDF ground operations focused on the destruction of Hamas’ terror infrastructure – tunnels, weapons caches and weapons labs.  More than 50 Hamas gunmen have been killed in close-quarter firefights. Heavy fighting has occurred in Sheikh Ajleen, a northern suburb of Gaza City, where ten Hamas gunmen were killed in an ambush on Sunday. The IDF is clearing a security zone close to the border with Gaza, removing buildings which could serve as forward command posts and tunnel exits for any future attacks on Israel. Israeli reserve soldiers are beginning to be enfolded into the order of battle.

 

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.

 

Air operations

 

Since the onset of Operation Cast Lead, over 2,200 air sorties have been carried out by the IAF. Friday saw 70 sorties, while Saturday and Sunday each saw 60 sorties. The home of Ahmad Ja’abari (commander of Hamas’ military wing) was bombed Saturday in northern Gaza City suburb of Saja’iya. Amir Mansi, commander of all Izz ed-Din al-Qassam rocket squads, was successfully targeted as well.

 

IAF planes dropped Arabic leaflets throughout the Gaza Strip which said, “Strip residents … In the near future, the IDF will continue to attack tunnels, arms caches, and terror activities with greater intensity all across the Strip. For your safety and the safety of your families, you are required to refrain from staying near terror elements or sites where weapons are being stored.” Other leaflets asked Gazans to call an Israeli phone number and pass on the locations of rocket launchers, weapons warehouses, tunnels and terror groups operating in the area – confidentiality guaranteed.

 

Hamas rockets

 

Over the past three days Hamas fired 104 rockets (Friday 32, Saturday 49, Sunday 23) at civilian targets. Over 700 rockets have been fired so far in the last 16 days of hostilities. The cities Sderot, Kiryat Malachi, Ashdod, Beersheva, Ashkelon and Kiryat Gat were hit, along with moshavim and kibbutzim. Kindergartens and school buildings were struck in some of these rocket attacks. Recently small orange and black billboards have been erected around the Negev, warning civilians to listen for air raid sirens on certain radio frequencies.

 

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).

 

Hamas casualties

 

Close to 400 Hamas gunmen have been killed since the war began. Israeli Military Intelligence had stated that over 200 of these corpses are being kept in morgue refrigerators and are not being buried, in order to keep these losses hidden from ordinary Gazans. Media reporting from the Gazan side are not showing any Hamas fatalities due to Hamas censorship.

 

An amazing answer to prayer was revealed Sunday, when video was released of a school and zoo in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City that had been booby-trapped by Hamas. A group of 150 Givati soldiers spent the night there, and one Israeli soldier answering the call of nature at first light discovered an explosive trigger with suspicious wires – left on the grass by a Hamas operative who had fled the building the previous evening. A major disaster was avoided, and much of this is connected to prayer.

 

Ø  Keep praying for safety for the Israeli soldiers! God is answering your prayers.

 

Hamas’ strategy of civilian casualties

 

The following is an excerpt from a speech delivered by Hamas MP Fathi Hammad, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on February 29, 2008. Hammad explains that using civilians as a human shield is not an accident on Hamas’ part; it is a strategic military and propaganda tactic.

 

 “[The enemies of Allah] do not know that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahidin (ed., jihad warriors) and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahidin, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘We desire death like you desire life.’ ” (www.memritv.org/video.html).

 

Karam Jaber, Egyptian editor of Roz al-Youssef magazine, recently stated that Hamas has “inflicted death and destruction on the Palestinians … We hope the Hamas leaders will realize that they are fighting a destructive war on behalf of the Iranians and Syrians”. A Fatah (Palestinian Authority) official in Ramallah was quoted Monday regarding Hamas, “Ever since they came to power, they brought death and destruction to our people”.

 

Ø  Pray for the defeat of Hamas, its leadership and its ideological hold over many Gazans.

 

Humanitarian aid

 

For the past three 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 on Sunday, firing mortars at the convoys coming through the Kerem Shalom crossing, and again on Monday when they rocketed Ashdod and Beersheva during the temporary hold-fire times.

 

The IDF conducted two internal investigations regarding recent UN charges concerning IDF conduct, and revealed its findings on Monday. Regarding the 39 deaths in a recent mortar attack, it was found that a Hamas rocket attack was launched on IDF troops from beside the UN school. IDF mortars responded with 3 shells, two of which struck their targets, killing approximately 10 positively identified terrorists. The third shell went off course and struck the school. Regarding the UN driver of a humanitarian aid truck, it was ascertained that he was killed from non-IDF fire, and not from tank fire (as was originally charged by the UN). Nevertheless, the charges made against the IDF were widely circulated around the globe by world media, though the careful IDF investigations and their results have not been so widely disseminated.

 

Poll on Israeli attitudes

 

A poll taken by the War and Peace Index 6 days ago discovered 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. A high 93% have strong confidence in the IDF’s abilities and 87% believe that Israelis in the Negev and South have the stamina to bear up under the rocket attacks. However, 93% of Israeli Arabs surveyed want an immediate ceasefire and open borders for Hamas.

 

Since the outbreak of the war more than 700 Israelis (mostly Arabs) have been arrested in riots. Over 600 events (demonstrations or riots) have taken place in Israel over this time period, mostly in the Arab sector, with over 90 police injured.

 

Cease-fire deliberations

 

Hamas politburo Khaled Mashal responded to UN Resolution 1860 in Damascus on Saturday, rejecting any security arrangement “that infringes on the right of resistance against Israeli occupation”.  He added that Hamas “rejects the presence of international forces or inspectors in the Gaza Strip”. As mentioned in our last newsletter, this is due to Hamas’ Islamist beliefs never to recognize Israel and always to work for its destruction through jihad.

 

An Egyptian government official said on Sunday. “This conflict serves the interests of the Iranians,” he said. “They are satisfied because the violence in the Gaza Strip has diverted attention from their nuclear ambitions”. Magdi Khalil, an Egyptian political analyst, said that Hamas was weakening Egypt’s national security: “By endorsing the Iranian agenda, Hamas has brought the Iranians to Egypt’s eastern border.”

 

World responses

 

Mauritania and Jordan have recalled their ambassadors from Israel, These are two of the four Islamic countries which have diplomatic relations with Israel, the others being Egypt and Turkey.

 

Anti-Semitic riots and demonstrations are spreading across the Islamic world and Western Europe. Here is a partial list of events in the past three days:

 

Israel

ü  Hebron (1,000 people)

ü  Nazareth (3,000)

ü  Baqa al-Gharbiya (10,000)

 

Islamic world

ü  Amman (2,000)

ü  Beirut (2,500)

ü  Nabatiya, Lebanon (20,000)

ü  Jakarta (20,000)

ü  Alexandria (50,000)

 

Western Europe

ü  Berlin (8,500)

ü  Duisberg (10,000)

ü  London (12,000)

ü  Paris, Brussels and Barcelona (30,000 each)

ü  Madrid and Seville (100,000 total)

 

In London 2,000 violent demonstrators were stopped by police before they attacked the Israeli embassy, with 15 arrests. Outside of Paris 2 Molotov cocktails were thrown at a Jewish synagogue Sunday night at Seine-Saint-Denis, while a Toulouse synagogue was rammed by a flaming car last week. In Brussels violent mobs overturned cars and broke shop windows.

 

In Milan white sheets with bloody handprints, and swastikas turning into bloody Stars of David were paraded. An impromptu Islamic prayer service was carried out in the main square across from Milan’s Cathedral a week ago, and on Saturday another call to prayer was carried out across from the main train station. Italy’s Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said, “I say enough of the provocations of Islamists in Milan. In Milan, a legitimate demonstration ended in a deliberately provocative mosque under the open sky. What would have happened if a group of Christians gathered together to pray with a rosary before Mecca? They probably would have been stoned”. 

 

In Duisburg Germany 10,000 people marched with placards reading “Down with the murdering of children”, while in Barcelona blood-stained blankets and mock dead babies were carried,

 

America also witnessed crass anti-Semitic displays. In New York‘s Times Square, anti-Israel marchers carried placards reading “Israel: the Fourth Reich”, Stop Israel’s Holocaust”, “Stop the Zionist Genocide in Gaza”, and “Holocaust by Holocaust Survivors”.

 

On December 30 the Israel Consulate in Los Angeles was picketed with signs including “Every Israeli committing the genocide in Gaza is a ‘Hitler'” and the swastika/Star of David morph above the words “Upgrade to Holocaust Version 2.0”.

 

Tampa had demonstrators on the same day who carried placards reading “Zionism is Cancer; Radiate it” and showing an Israeli flag with the word “Nazi” written on it. Calls were made by Tampa Muslims in hijabs, “Jews go back to the ovens” (a reference to Nazi crematoria).

 

Chicago has seen four synagogues attacked in the past three days with anti-Jewish spray-paintings, bricks and death threats. These include Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation; Young Israel of Roger’s Park; Congregation Anshe Motele; and the Lubavitch Mesivta. Earlier, on December 29 Temple Shalom in Lakeview IL had a Molotov cocktail thrown at the building.

 

These very serious events show an explosion of anti-Semitic words and deeds. The Director of the Yad Vashem Libraries Dr. Robert Rozett, commented, “By accusing us of being Nazi-like, Europeans alleviate some of their own feelings of guilt and responsibility for the Holocaust … Moreover, by saying that the Jews are acting like Nazis, they are delegitimizing the very existence of the State of Israel”.

 

The National Director of B’nai Brith’s Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Araham H. Foxman, added, “Anti-Semitism in Europe was never really rooted out, just contained”.

 

Though this may partially explain European manifestations of anti-Jewish hatred, there are roots darker and deeper still that have also infected Islamic and American societies.

 

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).  

 

In Messiah Yeshua,

 

Avner Boskey

 

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