Weekly Update: Wars and rumours of wars

Rita Quartel - 19 August 2022

War – and the endless discussion in the media about war – seems to be a sign of the times. Take Israel’s ongoing war with the organizations that represent the Palestinians. The official organisation is the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), which is and remains a terror organisation. The PLO is perpetuating its armed conflict with Israel by promoting the killing of Jews and denying the legitimate existence of the Jewish State. And yet the EU (and its member states) continue to give millions of euro’s annually to prop up the regime that is riddled with corruption and has lost all legitimacy in Palestinian society. The latest fiasco is PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who claims to be President of the non-existing State of Palestine. In Germany on Tuesday, standing beside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Abbas accused Israel of committing “holocausts” against Palestinians over the years. Instead of apologizing for the massacre of Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympics (a massacre for which Abbas was personally responsible), he launched into a tirade accusing Israel of the “holocaust” of Palestinians. Scholz did not react verbally to Abbas’s comment in the moment, though he grimaced at the use of the word, which Abbas uttered in English. Scholz later said the use of the term in such a context was “unbearable.” The remark triggered outrage in Israel, and Abbas later withdrew his use of the word holocaust.

It is time for the EU to withdraw all support for the PLO, and abandon its commitment to the “two-state solution”, until such time as it abandons its absolutist political claims, demonization of Israel and incitement to terror and killing of innocent Israeli citizens.

On a positive note, Israel and Turkey announced a full renewal of diplomatic ties on Wednesday, following a recent phone conversation between Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Relations between the countries deteriorated drastically in 2010 when Israel intercepted the flotilla Mavi Marmara in off the coast of Gaza, and 10 Turkish activists were killed after attacking Israeli soldiers. In 2018 Erdogan accused Israel of “genocide” when Palestinians in Gaza were killed. Relations started to thaw earlier this year. Erdogan has likely been seeking to thaw relations with Israel to reduce Turkey’s growing political and economic isolation. The Turkish currency has plummeted in recent years, leaving Turkey in economic turmoil with an election slated for 2023.

But the current authoritarian regime in Turkey is anything but peaceful, and its hegemonic expansionist ideology remains a threat to the region. Turkish forces have shelled many villages in the North-East Syria, in some cases using drones. A drone attack on the village of Sanjak Saadoun this week is the 68th drone attack on NE Syria in 2022, in which at least 41 people have been killed and 77 injured. Contrary to some reports, there has been no Turkish land invasion.

Iran remains one of the biggest threats to world peace. The regime in Tehran sent a response on Monday night to the European Union’s “final” draft text to save the 2015 nuclear agreement, known also as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. This spells the end of the attempt to revive the agreement, following the US withdrawal under President Trump in 2018. Iran has threatened the advance to “Plan B” if no agreement can be reached. Many analysts say that Iran is playing for time, to enable it to pursue its agenda of producing nuclear weapons.

Iran is largely responsible for increasing tensions on Israel’s northern border. As Lebanon slips into further economic and political chaos, Iranian proxy Hezbollah has escalated its rhetoric and provocations against Israel. The organization launched unarmed drones toward Israeli offshore natural gas facilities on June 29 and July 2. Its leader Hassan Nasrallah warned: “If the objective is to prevent Lebanon from extracting oil and gas, no one will be able to extract gas and oil, no matter the consequences,” noting that potential future targets included “all fields, wells, and platforms across Palestine.” He then declared that “threatening with war and going to war would be more honorable than what the enemy wants for us.” On July 31, Hezbollah released a video threatening Israel’s gas vessels with antiship missiles.

What are we to make of the conflict and tension around Israel, and beyond? Are they signs of the times Jesus told us we should look for, in order to be ready for His coming again? One of these signs is “wars and rumors of wars.” Of course, there have always been wars, but can there be any doubt that the world is witnessing more wars and conflicts than any time in history? Every continent is in upheaval. Nation against nation, people against people. Even established Western nations, like the US, are marked by increasing internal conflict and violence. Jesus said these signs are “birth pangs”: which are both evidence that the birth is about to happen, and the means for the birth to be achieved.

Yes, we are witnessing the birth of something new: out of conflict in the world will be born the Kingdom of Christ when He comes to reign on earth.

Brothers and sisters, when we see so much conflict, we should of course pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We should also be led to repent for the failure of the church to be a real witness of the love of Christ in the world. 

But let us also hold up our heads, for our redemption draws nigh: the coming of our Lord and Saviour. 

The Editorial team Israel & Christians Today


In Berlin, Abbas says Israel committed ‘holocausts’; Scholz grimaces but silent

Times of Israel reports: Chancellor later tells outraged German media such use of the term is ‘unbearable’; PA leader makes comments while declining to express regret for Munich massacre.

> Read more..

Fast Deteriorating Security Situation in Lebanon 

Assaf Orion writes at the Washington Institute that Hezbollah’s current wave of new positions in operationally commanding locations and undisguised training activities indicate a wider military buildup.

> Read more..

Turkey’s occupation of NE Syria

According to Royava Information Centre, the Turkish army shelled the city center of Kobane, and the villages of Boban, Siftek, Zour Maghar, Bayadiya, Kour Ali, Sheikh Tahtani, Sheikh Fawqani, Sheikhler,Selim, Zorava, and Ashme, Khirabisan, Qaramokh, Goran, Hiho, Alisher, and Mersmil, and Kaniya Kurdan neighbourhood.

> Read more..


Grafted in | Romans 9-11 with Johannes Gerloff #59
As Gentile believers in the God of Israel, according to Paul, we are grafted into the olive tree “among them”, never ever “in their place”.



Matthew 24:6-8

 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.All these are the beginning of birth pains.