Warfare has again fallen upon our nation. After over two hundred rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel over the past two weeks and over two thousand over the past three years, Israel has finally invoked its right to protect its citizens.
A Backdrop to the Current Fighting
Over three years ago, in what was an incredibly traumatic event, Israel abandoned its nearly forty year presence in the Gaza Strip. In a few short days, Israel displaced thousands of its citizens and destroyed numerous beautiful towns and settlements in what was a radical and impassioned move for peace. Israel, along with much of the world assumed that the residents of the Gaza strip would finally end their hostilities, now that they were freed of the supposed cruel “Israeli occupation”. Huge amounts of funding were made available by the international community to help them begin the long and difficult process of nation building. It was hoped that Israel’s bold move would finally set the stage for peace between these two warring peoples.
But peace and nation building is not what happened. Instead, the terrorist organization Hamas immediately used their new freedom to smuggle in arms to further their sworn goal; the total destruction of the State of Israel. The areas that had been evacuated by the Israeli settlers, which had been funded to be transformed into new neighborhoods for the Palestinian people, instead became rocket launching sites for attacks against Israel.
In June of 2007, the terrorist organization Hamas, in a bloody takeover in which hundreds of their fellow Palestinians were killed and wounded, drove the weaker and supposedly less radical Fatah movement from the Gaza Strip. This cemented their radical, hate filled control over the 1.5 million inhabitants of that area.
Since that time, Israel has patiently suffered as the southern cities of
Israel have been increasingly held prisoner to this terrorist group’s ongoing rocket attacks.
Even before the official end of the “cease fire” between Israel and Hamas on Dec 19th, the attacks upon our soil had increased. Over the past two weeks over 200 rockets, mortars and more advanced missiles fell in southern Israel; wounding, killing and disrupting normal life in this area. Last week, Prime Minister Olmert gave an impassioned speech in which he pleaded with Hamas to stop their attacks. His clear warning to them was that Israel was much stronger than its enemies and if these attacks did not stop, then Israel, like every other nation on the earth would have to use the might of their armed forces to end them.
The Outbreak of War
Yesterday morning at precisely 11:30 AM, Israel retaliated. The army had carefully prepared for this attack for months; gathering intelligence on Hamas targets, terrorist infrastructure, leader’s homes, arms storehouses, etc. In an amazing 3 minute time period, over 100 targets were destroyed in the Gaza Strip. By this morning, over 230 Palestinians were killed, thousands wounded and there was a massive destruction of the Hamas infrastructure. According to military reports, 97% of targets and people killed were Hamas buildings and militants.
This is the first time since the Six Day War in 1967 that Israel has carried out an attack of this magnitude in the Gaza Strip. Our government has announced that this will be an ongoing operation and that it may also include a ground offensive.
- Please cover the current struggle of this nation in prayer. It is such a vulnerable time and the response of the Arab world is at best unpredictable.
- Pray for Israel’s protection. In the past 24 hours over 60 rockets have fallen on Israel. Yesterday, one scored a direct hit on an apartment building, killing one person and injuring 4 others.
- Pray against Hezbollah involvement. There is always a grave danger that Hezbollah which now has significant control over Lebanon will use this situation as an excuse to attack northern Israel with some of the 45,000 rockets that it has amassed.
- Please pray for right understanding by the nations of the world. Already the usual accusations of “massacre”, “disproportionate use of force” and “collective punishment” are being heard. Please pray for the exposure of the foolishness of these accusations.
- Please pray for wisdom for right strategy for those in the government and military who are carrying the responsibility for this battle.
- Please pray for the protection of our pilots and soldiers as they struggle to defend this nation.
- Please also pray for the Palestinian people. Our hearts break as we see their pain and suffering and we know that God has something so much better for them. Pray that the lie that has been fed to them by their leaders that their hope and future is in a military struggle with Israel would be exposed as the groundless fantasy that it is. Pray that the believers who are ministering the truth of Yeshua to the Palestinian people would find a fertile field for the planting of “new seed” in the hearts of the people at this time. Please also pray for the protection of the believers in the Gaza Strip and throughout the West Bank.