The Two Sides of the War: Background of the Israeli – PLO Conflict
Since Israel and the PLO signed the Declaration of Principles in 1993, Hamas has perpetrated more than 80 suicide attacks, murdering some 1,000 Israelis. Ever since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has used the territory as a staging ground for rocket attacks, launching over 9,000 rockets and 5,000 mortar bombs. Today, Hamas possesses over 10,000 rockets that threaten 40% of the Israel’s population.
Long-range Iranian-made missiles are being used by Hamas. In 2014, the IDF captured the Iranian weapons ship Klos-C with its Syrian-made M-302 missiles, which was only the tip of the iceberg of Iran’s involvement in supplying Hamas organizations in Gaza. Despite Iran’s tension with Hamas stemming from the Syrian crisis, recently the ties between Iran and Hamas have been renewed, with the former supporting Hamas’ attacks against Israel.
Why after nine years since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip and handed full control over to the PA, has the Palestinian leadership not turned Gaza into a model of freedom and opportunity, rather than a place of such suffering and sadness and a base camp for terrorism? Why did Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) recently make a peace agreement with Hamas, a terrorist organization affiliated with the Radicals of the Muslim Brotherhood?
What about the moderate Palestinians who do not want war but seek peace? We do not see their leaders making wise choices to help their people. Rather, we see the Palestinians in Gaza as sheep without a shepherd, feeling harassed and helpless. Both sides are caught in the crossfire, and we should even have more compassion, as we watch the current crisis unfold. We are deeply concerned for Israeli civilians, especially those who live in the south and on the Lebanon border which is now under fire. As Christians, we need to find ways to bless and care for both sides.
Prayer is a beginning. As people who love Christ and care about the people of the epicenter, we must start by praying for peace. However, let us not stop there. Now, more than ever, we need to be seeking peace in the epicenter. Because people on both sides are suffering, and God loves the Arabs and the Jews. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).
The Bible is clear that governments are instituted by God to establish justice and protect people from all enemies, foreign and domestic. So followers of Christ should pray for all people to be governed by honest leaders who can establish safety, security and environment of hope, growth and opportunity. This is all part of our Biblical commitment to seeking peace, making peace, and not letting ourselves become cynical when peace is disrupted.
Compiled by Ruth Schofield
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