PRAYER ALERT: After seven years of constant rocket attacks against Israel from the Gaza Strip and a recent escalation of those attacks last week—when Hamas fired more that 120 rockets and mortars into Israel in a 4-day period—Israel finally struck back. In their first counterattack in four years, the Israel Defense Forces hit at least 20 military targets with surgical strikes on Nov. 14, including the car of Hamas’ top military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, who died immediately. Jabari was known to Israelis as “the mastermind of virtually every attack to come from Gaza in recent years” (NY Times, 11/14/12).
Palestinian Arabs in Gaza quickly retaliated by firing 379 rockets at cities in Israel, hitting cars and breaking windows but causing no known injuries. Iran and Egypt are already showing their support for this latest offensive. On Nov. 15 the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad group in Gaza fired two missiles at Tel Aviv, Israel’s second-largest city, without known casualties. The new Islamist President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, sent his prime minister to Gaza today to demonstrate solidarity with Hamas, which has the same jihadist Muslim Brotherhood origins as Morsi’s political party. Morsi posted on his party’s website a video “of what was described as the burned body of a Palestinian child said to have been killed in the Israeli attacks, in an attempt to stoke anger at Israel” (NY Times). Yet Israel has a long record of warning Palestinian civilians of impending attacks, and hitting military targets with surgical strikes—as it did on Nov. 14—to avoid civilian casualties. In contrast, Israel’s jihadist enemies have consistently struck at civilian targets in Israel and have used their own civilians as human shields to protect their military installations.
After intensifying its air attacks in response to the strikes on Tel Aviv, Israel agreed to a temporary cease-fire while the Egyptian prime minister is visiting Gaza, hoping to maintain its strained peace treaty with Egypt. But Israel is also calling up 16,000 army reservists in case it decides to invade Gaza for the second time in four years. The Gaza Strip is the very land that Israel gave to Palestinian Arabs in 2005 in exchange for peace, which Hamas turned into an opportunity to launch hundreds of rocket attacks every year against Israel.
PRAY WITH US: Father God, You are a stronghold for Your people in times of trouble. You say that Israel is Your land (Joel 3:2) which You have given to the Jews, Your chosen people. You showed this was true when You brought millions of Jews back to this land after World War II, and You have been faithful to protect it from many wars and attacks ever since. Now Israel’s enemies are stronger and more numerous than ever. Hamas to the west in Gaza, Hezbollah to the north in Lebanon and Syria, and now Egypt’s ruling party to the south all belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, which vows Israel’s destruction. Iran seeks to use this present conflict to carry out the nuclear annihilation which it has long been planning. The US, which has often stood alone with Israel against its enemies, no longer guarantees its support.
But You say whoever blesses Israel will be blessed, and whoever curses Israel will be cursed. For their own sake, move on the US and Belize and all the nations of the world to bless Israel, so that they may not be cursed and fall into deeper economic and spiritual distress. Expose the deceit of those who have taken Your land from Your chosen people only to use it to try to destroy Israel. Release Your Spirit of truth and justice to overcome and frustrate the plans of her enemies. Protect civilians on both sides that they may have more opportunities to be saved. Restrain leaders on both sides from unnecessary escalation of this conflict. Be Israel’s sure stronghold so that You may accomplish what You have promised—to turn Israel back to You once the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and to exalt Jerusalem so that “all nations will stream to it…and He will judge between the nations, and render decisions for many peoples…and never again will they learn war” (Isa. 2:2-4). Let those increase who seek the increase of Your government and of Your peace, and let them prevail over Your enemies. In Jesus’ name, amen.