Russ Jones | ReligionToday.com Contributor | Wednesday, July 09, 2014
A dramatic escalation in Hamas rocket fire in recent days has forced Israel to take military action against terrorists in Gaza.
Gaza terrorists have launched more than 450 rockets at Israel capable of reaching deep into the country since the beginning of 2014. The attacks have sent thousands running into bomb shelters, threatening 3.5 million Israeli lives.
Tuesday morning Israel launched what it calls “Operation Protective Edge.” Government officials say the aim is to secure an end to weeks of Hamas rocket fire.
Understanding the motives behind the violence can be confusing without proper knowledge of the root causes contributing to the aggression as well as the religious issues, which shape life in the Middle East.
5 Things Christians Need to Know about the Israel-Gaza Conflict
1. How did the recent attacks escalate?
Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship, disappeared on June 12 while hitchhiking home.
Last week the Israeli government confirmed the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teens had been located. Volunteer searchers found the bodies in the West Bank near the town of Hebron. Officials claim, the teens that were abducted by Palestinians, were shot at least ten times simply because of their Jewish faith.
In an act of retaliation, three Israeli suspects confessed to killing a Palestinian teenager, Mohammed Abu Khdeir.
2. The Birth of Israel Results in Major Wars
With the birth of Israel in 1948 also came enhanced conflict between the Arabs and Jews. The Arab–Israeli conflict has resulted in at least five major wars and a number of minor conflicts. It has also been the source of two major Palestinian uprisings, known as intifadas. Some predict a third intifadas could be eminent.
The Arab nations are represented by 21 separate nations. There is only one Jewish nation with a tiny country, Israel. Even with an overwhelming geographic territory claimed by Arabs, Palestinians have consistently demanded Israel to give up land for a Palestinian state.
The combined territories of Arab countries are 650 fold greater than Israel. Some question why one of the Arab nations hasn’t provided land for the Palestinians.
3. The Palestinian Authority has signed an agreement with Hamas forming a terrorist Unity government
In April, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas signed a “reconciliation” agreement that seeks to establish a unity government.
“Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk predicted that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would return to the Gaza Strip after the formation of the unity government,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
The US Conference of Presidents was among several groups that condemned the alignment and urged "the United States and other governments to be vigilant in their judgment of and dealings with the newly declared government.”
4. The U.S. is now violating its own laws by funding a known terrorist regime
In 2006, a law was established which prohibits aid from the U.S. to flow to an entity sharing power with the Palestinian government, including Hamas or any members of the terrorist group. Entitled the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, the law also bans aid to any government, which Hamas is provided “undue influence” over political decisions.
Lawmakers from both parties believe the Obama Administration is violating the bill with its continued support of a known terrorist regime.
In recent days Democratic and Republican lawmakers of the US House of Representatives Middle East subcommittee have demanded from the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry an explanation of why the US would continue dealing with the Palestinian Authority, knowing that the Hamas terror organization has become formally integrated into the government.
Several senior lawmakers contend the U.S. government should suspend the annual aid, which requires authorization by Congress.
"Funding for the Palestinians is off-the-table until it is clear that the unity government is committed to peace and security," said Republican US Representative Kay Granger of Texas, chairwoman of the House of Representatives State and Foreign Operations subcommittee.
Laurie Cardoza-Moore, President of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN) and Special Envoy to the United Nations for the World Council of Independent Christian Churches is urging members of Congress to withhold funding to the new unity government of the Palestinian Authority and the acknowledged terrorist organization, Hamas.
“As in any battle, the supply lines are critical for the defeat of any enemy,” said Laurie Cardoza-Moore, president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations. “They provide the weapons the jihadist's use against Israel and the U.S. and other democratic countries.
Unfortunately, it is the U.S. taxpayer, along with the taxpayers of other Western countries that are paying the salaries of the jihadist's like Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to continue to wage this war against our Jewish brethren, Christians, and other people of conscience who will not bow to Islam.”
5. Death to the Jews
In Genesis 12:3 the text implies God’s desire to bless Israel and the multitudes that have come through Abraham.
"I will bless those who bless you and him who curses you, I will curse." -Genesis 12:3
This scripture serves as a stern warning to those who preach a “Replacement Theology” which teaches that the church is the substitute for Israel along with the many promises made to Israel in the Bible are fulfilled in the Christian church and not through Israel.
On any given day, Israeli’s live with some 200,000 rockets and missiles aimed in their direction. For extremists the intentions of those rockets aren’t simply to destroy a nation, but to primarily annihilate an entire population because of their faith.
“President Obama is bringing judgment on this nation because we are cursing Israel,” said Moore. “This strategic plan by world leaders like Obama is to bring down the West by targeting Israel and trying to reverse what the United Nations did in 1947.”
While some cry “death to the Jews,” many pro-Israel advocates maintain that if not for Israel very little peace would exist in the Middle East.
“As a democratic, Western-aligned country and the Middle East’s preeminent military power, Israel has done much over the decades to keep the region from being worse than it is,” P. David Hornik writes in PJMedia.com. “Israel has used its might—sometimes openly, sometimes discreetly—not only to safeguard its own interests but also those of the West and the more moderate Arab states.”
Russ Jones is co-founder of Christian News Service, a content creation and news distribution firm. He's also a media consultant to a number of cause oriented campaigns and organizations. Russ has been a guest on such programs as the Mike Gallagher Show, the Dennis Prager Show and Sandy Rios in the Morning. He holds degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a masters degree from St. Paul School of Theology. He is married to Jackie and together they have four children.
Publication date: July 9, 2014