Weekly Update: Despite the ceasefire, there are many uncertainties

editor - 27 May 2021

“If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza,” António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said in the UN General Assembly on 20th May.

He’s quite right. Gaza is a humanitarian tragedy. The tragedy is not just the loss of lives and destruction of property. It is that, with the millions of dollars of foreign aid it receives annually, Gaza could have become the Singapore of the Middle East. Instead, the money has gone into building tunnels and rockets, and the people have been misused and used as human shields in Hamas’ ideologically-driven wars against the Jewish people.

Let us hope and pray that the lives of the people of Gaza will be rebuilt, but even more importantly that they will be liberated from the terror regime of Hamas, backed by Iran.

The implications of this conflict are much wider, and far deeper, than Gaza. It has revealed deep-seated divisions in Israel, in the region and globally.

Hamas’ pre-meditated attacks on Jerusalem have caused the Temple Mount to become more and more the focus of attention. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been reported as saying that the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas must include banning visits by Jews to al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount. This outrageous demand just proves why Israeli sovereignty over the whole city of Jerusalem is necessary to ensure protection of the Holy Places and equal freedoms for Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Despite the ceasefire, there are many uncertainties, and many choices to be made.

As a church, let us pray that our national and global leaders receive much wisdom in order to deal with what remains an extremely volatile situation.

The Editorial team
Israel & Christians Today

Hamas spends foreign aid on weapons, not the well-being of the people of Gaza

JPost reports: “International donors to the Palestinians, such as the US and EU, are working with Israel on a mechanism to give humanitarian aid and rebuild Gaza without it getting to the Hamas terrorist organization. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Jerusalem: “If we do this right, reconstruction and relief for the people of Gaza, far from empowering Hamas, has the potential to undermine it. I say that because Hamas thrives, unfortunately, on despair, misery, desperation, on a lack of opportunity… Hamas’s foothold in Gaza will slip. We know that, and I think Hamas knows that.””
> Read more..

Hillel Frisch writes that most people in Gaza do not support Hamas. They “are tired of being the only Palestinians to suffer 95% of the brunt of fighting that gets them no closer to “liberating” Jerusalem.”
> Read more..

Hamas is a proxy of IranTheir common goal is destruction of Israel and the West

Political analyst Johannes de Jong writes: “The current situation is also a result of Iranian expansion in the region. Both Iran and Turkey are trying  to increase their influence by manipulating local conflicts, and often at the expense of the local populations. Iran is using Gaza as a front against Israel, and Iran has confirmed this strategy. EU member states, as well as the EU and the USA, must make serious efforts to stop the supply of rockets, rocket production and remove rocket launchers in Gaza as a condition for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”
 > Read more..

Efraim Karsh writes: “Do Hamas’s supporters in the West know what this organization really stands for? The reality is that Hamas is no liberation movement in search of a Palestinian nation. Instead, it seeks the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state on its ruins.”
> Read more..

Hamas is igniting civil war in Israel

Caroline Glick reports: In a speech in Doha, Qatar on May 15, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh declared that obliterating the very notion of true peace between Arabs and Jews in Israel was Hamas’s chief goal in this war. In his words, “Jerusalem unites us. Today the geographical barriers within historic Palestine have been removed. Today Palestine is waging an intifada from Rosh Hanikra to Eilat.“They have thought that 70 years or more could kill the spirit of belonging of our people within the occupied land in 1948 [sovereign Israel, CBG]. They thought our people there would lose their identity and would assimilate in the Zionist entity… “But today our people within the 1948 borders are the ones defending the Al-Aqsa mosque. They are the ones waging an intifada against the occupier and the settlers.”
> Read more..

David Koren writes that “The recent clashes in Israel attest to the depth of national conflict between the country’s Arab and Jewish citizens. Alongside a police response, a complementary civil response is required.
National authorities have invested heavily in the Arab sector in recent years, but it seems that there is no integrative approach or government coordinator who has a view of the complete picture and who channels resources appropriately and effectively. Additionally, the government has failed to broadcast the diverse work it has undertaken to benefit the Arab community, something that might slightly restore the current low level of trust between Arab citizens and government authorities.”
> Read more..

Israeli control of the Temple Mount and Al Aqsa Mosque could trigger regional war

David Wurmser writes: “At the end of the ceasefire, Hamas issued the claim that Israel had yielded on Jerusalem issues and surrendered both the Temple Mount and Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. It would be a grave mistake to simply dismiss this as face-saving rhetoric. Indeed, we, Jordan and Israel are walking into an extremely dangerous trap on Jerusalem which Hamas has laid in the framework of this ceasefire. The ceasefire may enable Hamas not only to assert its dominance over the Palestinian Authority, but also to threaten and potentially even unravel the Jordan-Israeli peace treaty using the issue of Jerusalem. … In short, Hamas has positioned itself in a win-win position over all its enemies, presenting the world with the final verdict in this 11-day war and positioning itself to gut Judaism and threaten both Jordan and the P.A.”
> Read more..

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that any violations of Jerusalem and sites holy to Muslims would spark a regional war.Speaking publicly for the first time since the ceasefire ending the 11-day war between Hamas and Israel, Nasrallah said Gaza’s terrorist groups had won a great victory, and warned that Hezbollah could get involved in the next round. “When holy sites face serious threats there are no red lines,” said Nasrallah. “The Israelis must understand that breaching the holy city and al-Aqsa mosque and sanctuaries won’t stop at Gaza resistance,” he added. Jerusalem, said the Hezbollah leader, “means a regional war. All the resistance movements cannot stand by and watch this happening if the holy city is in real, grave danger.”
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Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs reports: “Iran is once again trying to leverage the latest round of escalation in Jerusalem and present itself as the main power fighting for the Palestinians, in particular, and the Muslim nation, in general. Events in Jerusalem – the disturbances at the al-Aqsa Mosque and tensions in Sheikh Jarrah – corresponded this year with the Iranian International al-Quds Day. This day has been marked every year since 1979 by the decision of Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Iranian revolution, and the Iranian government to mark the “longing” of all Muslims for the “liberation of Jerusalem” and the “restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians in Palestine.” Iranian media is giving full coverage to the clashes on the Temple Mount and the ongoing rocket fire on Israel by the “Resistance Organizations.”
> Read more..

Arab “Abraham Accords” states support Israel 

Caroline Glick: “Despite the massive pressure that has been exerted against Abraham Accords member states to disavow their ties with Israel since Hamas opened its offensive last week, so far they have not wavered. The UAE, Bahrain and Morocco have put out mild statements on the Hamas war. Morocco sent humanitarian aid to Gaza. There have been no anti-Israel demonstrations in the streets of any of the Abraham Accords member states.
Sudan’s leader, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, discussed the issue in an interview with France 24 in Arabic earlier this week. The interview was translated by MEMRI. In his words, “The normalization [of relations between Sudan and Israel] has nothing to do with the Palestinians’ right to establish their own state. The normalization is reconciliation with the international community, and with Israel as part of the international community. Making clear that Sudan would not be bullied into ending its relations with Israel, al-Burhan added that the decision to maintain relations with Israel is a sovereign Sudanese decision. It is “the prerogative of the state institutions,” he said.”
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Why western mobs are now sticking it to the Jews

Melanie Philips writes: “Anyone who imagined that with the Gaza cease-fire the antisemitism that erupted around the west would correspondingly die down has been sorely mistaken. It has not only continued to become ever more brazen and intimidatory but, astonishing this may seem, it has now morphed into something even more chilling. The toxic core of it, the Israel libel that fuels the onslaught, has become an axiomatic lie and a supposed marker of public conscience.”
> Read more..


Scripture for the week: Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”

The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”

I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father.
Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.