Ok... so I have received a bunch of emails from people asking me about what is going on in Israel at the moment. Since the news here is barely skimming the issue, and is extremely biased, let me just give my (reasonably short) take on things. The questions I've been asked all revolve around the same three things:
"who is Hamas?" "why are they attacking Israel" and "where is the gaza strip?"
Hamas is a terrorist organization.... an "Islamic resistance movement" and they have risen to power in an area of Israel called the Gaza Strip. This is land that belongs to Israel and is considered a part of Israel but has been sectioned off for the Palestinians to live in. Their "beef" with Israel boils down to the fact that they think it's their land and continue to try and take more and more of it. This conflict really dates back to Bible times when God gave the land to Abraham and his descendants, Israel... BUT for those who would rather me use another example, we can look at history. There have been NUMEROUS times when the boundaries of Israel were outlined. One example is the Balfour Declaration which was established in 1917. Over the course of time the boundaries of Israel have gotten smaller and smaller as she (Israel) has been urged, time and time again, to give up more land. Now... if you look at a map for just one second...
....You'll see little Israel over there on on the left bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Well notice how she is surrounded ON ALL SIDES by Arab nations.... and STILL, she is being told to give up more land. Not only that, but she's being told to give up land to a general people whose main goal is to "drive Israel into the sea." That's pretty scary...
[I want to be clear here, before I go on, that i'm in NO WAY saying that all Palestinians or Arabs are affiliated with this terrorist organization, however Hamas and those involved have not only risen to power in the communities, but actually hold majority in Palestinian government. A lot of people living under their authority want badly to be out from under it. As a quick example, when this recent fighting with Israel erupted up a couple weeks ago, Hamas actually captured many local leaders who they thought might aid Israel and shot them in the legs, chopped off their hands, THEN released them... Hoping that they'd be too scared or unwell enough to offer Israel any help.]
Anyway, back to the current situation. For the past couple years... the Hamas has been launching rockets from Gaza into the Israeli areas. To the small town of Sderot, this has pretty much become a way of life. Israel has done nothing.... under the encouragement from pretty much every other country (and the UN) in the world. This would be like Canada shooting rockets into America every day... killing people on a regular basis, and America just sitting back watching. Pretty crazy to think about, but this has been the growing situation over there.
Well... hundreds of rockets, and ignored "cease fires" later... Israel decides to stand up for herself. NO they are not just dropping bombs all over the Gaza strip trying to kill innocent civilians.... as many of the news stations would make it seem, but they are strategically planning every step. They are in an especially tough situation because the Hamas fighters don't all just "hang out" in the same area. They disperse into neighborhoods among families and children... As a result, it becomes extremely difficult to take them out while avoiding the innocent. One way Israel has tried to prevent as many civilian deaths as possible is by warning those living in these targeted neighborhoods of incoming attacks. They not only called many residents, but they followed those phone calls up with "sound bombs" as a second warning.... something that is pretty commendable in my opinion.
So, that's a semi-brief summary of things going on. I will be the first to admit that I have some pretty strong views on this stuff, but that's because I not only have history, but the Bible to back me up. There are many layers to what is happening in Gaza and the Middle East, and I honestly haven't even skimmed the surface here, but I wanted to share my thoughts. I hope this has been helpful!
Please continue to pray for God's protection on His people... Arab or Israeli. My heart really goes out to all of the Christian Arabs who are caught in the middle of this horrible mess...
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet,
till her righteousness shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.
The nations will see your righteousness,
and all kings your glory.
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