The talk of the day is about the rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel, and many have asked what is going on. Particularly with a tour group preparing to go to Israel in November, I want to address the reality of the situation.
A key question is “Why now, and what triggered the latest barrage?” These attacks are following a similar pattern of past attacks. Foreign aid has decreased due to US influence, and Hamas’ “sugar daddy” in Qatar has failed to come through. The truth is that even Israel generally sends tax revenue as humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. However, they reduced the amount they would send by the same amount Hamas pays “martyrs” (those who kill Israelis). In a temper tantrum, the Palestinians have rejected all aid from Israel.
So, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad reacted as they typically do: they began firing rockets into Israel. Why? Because they get the world’s attention, and unbelievably, they blame Israel.
Here are a couple of tale-tale signs of the insanity surrounding the attacks. First, some Palestinians are celebrating in the streets to celebrate rocket attacks.
While evil reigns in the hearts and minds of those who celebrate such atrocities, it is important to maintain balance of thought. There are 2 million Palestinians in Israel, most of whom simply want to live in peace. So, while there are definitely those who strive to destroy Israel, that is not representative of all Palestinians.
Secondly, the God of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:4). At the time of this writing, over 700 rockets have been fired into Israel. Incredibly, only 4 Israelis have lost lives in the barrage. Losing 4 is no trivial matter, and I hope you will join me in praying for the families of those who lost lives. By ironic contrast, one of the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip misfired, hitting a building in the Gaza Strip and killing a pregnant Palestinian woman and her 14-month-old daughter. One single rocket took out 3 Palestinian lives.
Israel has responded to the rocket attacks by targeting over 280 Hamas military facilities. While the IDF does not target civilians (and in fact aborts missions in which innocent lives may be lost), they have successfully carried out at least one assassination on a top Hamas military commander. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Egypt is brokering yet another ceasefire, for which Hamas typically pleads following strong Israeli response to senseless aggression.
Now, to the second topic of conversation, particularly among tour guests: is it still safe to travel in Israel. While travel near the Gaza Strip is not recommended, the nation of Israel is otherwise a safe place. Things are well in hand. Not to trivialize what residents near the Gaza Strip encounter, the attacks from Gaza are simply a distraction. In reality, Israel could absolutely destroy Gaza in a matter of minutes. However, Israel has no desire to take over or rule the Gaza Strip. Thus, they deal with the distraction when necessary, and uses Hamas’ aggression as an opportunity to strike major targets.
If you are interested in a respected perspective from a Messianic Jewish leader in the Christian world, take time to hear Amir Tsarfati’s commentary on the Gaza conflict. Enjoy!