Essentially, it boils down to an age-old war over land—in this case, in eastern Jerusalem in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Disputes about legal ownership escalated into riots provoked by political agendas. Although Jewish and Palestinian residents struck a compromise enabling Palestinians to remain on the land as tenants, Palestinian Authority (PA) lawyers forbade it. Manipulating the facts, the PA preferred eviction as a pretext for war (the case is before the Israeli Supreme Court but on hold). In protest, Hamas launched the first shot… a barrage of rocket fire unlike anything seen in Israel for more than 20 years, raining down 3,100 missiles in Jewish communities in just six days (compare that to 2,500 rockets in 50 days in 2014).
If that’s not enough, the narrative propagated by the PA and the media, who tend to lean far left, condemns Israel for defending itself against terrorists, who establish their infrastructure in and among civilian facilities—hospitals, schools, mosques, even media offices. When Israel strikes back, “surgically,” with advanced warning to people on the ground allowing time for evacuation, a new narrative emerges vilifying Israel for targeting innocent citizens.
In the meantime, back home in the States, our own battle is brewing over the issue. Congress approved a $735 million weapons sale to Israel while an aide, speaking for Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit and the only Palestinian member of Congress), urged Biden to cease “unconditional support” for Israel. Posturing, she insisted, “Atrocities like bombing schools cannot be tolerated, much less conducted with U.S.-supplied weapons.” Add to that BLM’s (Black Lives Matter) recent announcement of “solidarity” with the Palestinian position.
In all the political posturing, we must not lose sight of the fact that there is no moral equivalency between Hamas and Israel—the former a terrorist organization, the latter a democratic state. Israel, like any independent state, must defend itself against terror.
All that said, it’s important to note that, as Christians, we love and pray for both Israeli AND Palestinian citizens, who just want to live life but find themselves in the crossfire. Our concern is not with the Palestinian people, because we know God loves them and wants them, as well as all people, to find Christ. Our problem is with terrorist organizations that blatantly admit their mission to annihilate the Jewish people. In this pursuit, they put Palestinian citizens—even children—in harm's way, then, blame Israel.
What does all that have to do with you and me?
God said to Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation… I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse… and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3, NIV).
Through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God birthed the nation of Israel to bring salvation to the world, which He did in Christ Jesus. But God is not done with the nation of Israel. As the apostle said, “… as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” and “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:25-29).
Our promise-keeping God—who is the same yesterday, today, and forever—is not a man that he should lie and, to this day, watches over His promise to perform it. Prophetically, we see events aligning toward the return of Christ at God’s direction.
As Christians, we’re involved because God’s involved… intimately involved. What happens on earth does not happen apart from His notice. In fact, what we see with our eyes is a direct result of what we can’t see with them—spiritual warfare. The apostle Paul told us, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12, NIV).
The Divine plan for the return of Christ and the redemption of mankind is playing out on the world stage. Although it has been for ages, prophecy tells us we’re living in the “last hour” (1 John 2:8). And Israel is a principal actor.
So, what should we do?
Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23, NIV). So, as members of Christ’s body, we work as He works:
- Stand with Israel or risk finding ourselves fighting against God, who blesses those who bless Israel and curses those who curse it (Genesis 12:2-3).
- Pray unceasingly for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).
- Boldly speak the truth in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).
- Be awake, sober-minded, and keeping watch as children of the day knowing the day of the Lord comes quickly, like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5).
As vigilant Christians, we recognize the signs of the times, keeping watch with joyful expectation for Christ’s return. Until then, we must work “while it is still day,” because “a night is coming when no man can work” (John 9:4).
Recall the warning of statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
For more history and information on the Hamas-Israeli conflict, visit:
Understanding Israel’s War, Parts 1-7 at WellVersedWorld.org