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Friday, August 9, 2019

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Every week, we post seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

Israeli Teenager Stabbed to Death in Terror Attack 

by Yoav Zitun and Elisha Ben Kimon

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The region of Gush Etzion where Dvir Sorek was murdered (illustrative).

Thursday, 8 August 2019 | A 19-year-old soldier was stabbed to death and his body found near Kibbutz Migdal Oz in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] in the early hours of Thursday, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] said.

The soldier was later named as Dvir Sorek from the West Bank settlement of Ofra. He was not in uniform at the time of the attack.

Security forces launched a large-scale manhunt for his killer after his body was discovered. The army was working on the growing assumption that the soldier had first been abducted and that he had not been murdered at the site where his body was found.

Troops conducting searches of the area on Thursday morning entered the West Bank town of Beit Fajjar, close to where Dvir’s body was found.

The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization welcomed the murder, calling it “heroic and sending an important message.”

The IDF has launched an extensive investigation together with the Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] and the police, working on the assumption that attack was carried out by an as-yet unidentified terror cell.

Sorek had been missing since Wednesday evening.

“In the early morning, a soldier’s body was found bearing stab marks near a settlement in the (Gush Etzion) area,” the IDF said.

“The soldier was on a (joint) track of yeshivah [religious school] studies (and military service),” the army said. “The IDF, the Shin Bet security service and the police are on the scene and searching the area.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying that security forces were “in pursuit now in order to capture the despicable terrorist and bring him to account.”

IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Menalis said: “During the night, we received a report of an 18-year-old boy whose relatives had been unable to contact him since late evening.

“They reported this to us very late at night. We gathered forces from the Etzion Regional Division, including trackers,” he said.

“During the night, around 2:30–3:00 a.m., soldiers found the young man’s body near the entrance to Migdal Oz (and) his death was pronounced. He had been stabbed and killed,” Menalis said.

“We understand that this was a terror attack. The slain youth is a resident of Binyamin and a yeshivah student in Migdal Oz. He had begun his recruitment into the IDF but had not yet served. He was still in the studying stage at the yeshivah. He is from a well-known family in Judea and Samaria,” he said.

Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman said in response: “Gush Etzion awoke to a difficult morning of innocent blood being spilled by despicable murderers. We are a steadfast settlement, having endured bereavement and heroism. We will not weaken as a nation or as an enterprise.

“Our bitter enemies will repeatedly try to hurt us, but our response is the response of the Gush Etzion fighters in the War of Independence, to be ever more determined,” he said.

“We send our condolences to the dear family who are in pain, and to the settlement where the hero studied,” Ne’eman said. “And to the Israeli government we say again—bring this war to an end in victory.”

Rabbi Shlomo Vilk, head of the yeshivah at which Sorek studied, told Ynet that the 19-year-old had been out buying gifts for his teachers when he disappeared Wednesday evening.

“He was found with the books that he had bought for his rabbis,” Vilk said.

“He chose not to buy religious books, but the most recent novel by David Grossman, which he was clutching when he was discovered. One of our challenges is to be careful not to translate this murder into feelings of hatred, fear and isolation. We cannot let them drag us down and become like our enemy.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on August 8, 2019. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yair Aronshtam/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for God’s comfort to engulf those that are mourning the loss of Dvir Sorek. Pray that the perpetrators of this heinous crime will be caught and punished, and that Rabbi Vilk’s words of caution be taken to heart by all of Israel, keeping the people from succumbing to fear and discouragement.

Scripture

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”


- Joshua 1:9

Hamas, Islamic Jihad: “The Circle of Fire is Expanding”

by Khaled Abu Toameh ~ Gatestone Institute

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The Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigade develops rocket launchers as one of the group’s major achievements (illustrative).

Wednesday, 7 August 2019 | As Egypt, the United Nations [UN] and other parties are pursuing their efforts to prevent an all-out military confrontation in the Gaza Strip, Hamas and its allies are forging ahead in their development of various types of weapons with which to attack Israel.

The Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad, the second largest armed group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas, recently revealed how it has managed to upgrade the rocket launchers that are being used to attack Israel.

According to the Islamic Jihad’s military wing, Al-Quds Brigades, it began developing its rocket launchers in 2007, when Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip after overthrowing the regime of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Twelve years seem like a good time to take stock. What are the achievements of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip? They boast about three: improving military capabilities, smuggling weapons and investing millions of dollars in constructing terror tunnels. Iran’s money goes to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad war machine—nothing else. Not hospitals, not schools, and not jobs for unemployed Palestinians.

Take, for example, a report released this week by Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades, which presents the development of rocket launchers as one of the group’s major achievements in the past 12 years. “The rocket launchers of the Al-Quds Brigades will remain one of the most important elements of the power we possess,” the report boasts. “The rockets will continue to serve as a nightmare haunting the leaders of the [Israeli] enemy.”

The report says that since the inception of the Islamic Jihad, it “has used many weapons and missiles, including knives, bombs, submachine guns, explosive belts and homemade rockets.”

The report adds that the group has over the years made significant achievements in the field of manufacturing and developing missiles to a point where it is now capable of using modern rocket launchers to attack “Zionist cities and settlements.”

According to the report, the Al-Quds Brigades conducted its first test on the rocket launchers in January 2007, six months before the Gaza Strip fell into the hands of Hamas. “The engineers of the Al-Quds Brigades have since been introducing improvements on this weapon,” it said.

Four years later, the report reveals, the group introduced its advanced truck-mounted rocket launchers. Then, it used the trucks to launch five Grad missiles at Israel.

In 2012, the Islamic Jihad says it upgraded the missiles to include C8K rockets that were fired at Israeli towns and cities near the border with the Gaza Strip. Two years later, the group managed to increase the range of its rockets, and for the first time targeted the city of Netanya, north of Tel Aviv, according to the report.

Islamic Jihad says that its rockets are today capable of striking Ben Gurion Airport, the Nuclear Research Center in Dimona, the Haifa Oil Refineries and Ashdod Port. The group’s message to Israel: “The circle of fire is expanding.”

Islamic Jihad’s latest threats coincide with statements by the group’s leaders that Israel had better abide by the terms of ceasefire understandings reached earlier this year with the Gaza-based factions. This is interesting. On the one hand, Islamic Jihad wants Israel to commit to these understandings. On the other hand, the group is saying that it is continuing to manufacture and upgrade new types of weapons that will be used to attack Israel.

It seems, then, that for Islamic Jihad and Hamas, the ceasefire understandings, reached under the auspices of Egypt and the UN, are meant to give the Gaza-based groups a chance to continue building their military capabilities without having to worry about Israeli retaliatory measures.

Apparently, Islamic Jihad and Hamas do not perceive the ceasefire as an opportunity to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. From all accounts, they are not planning to seize the lull in the fighting to brainstorm on ways to lower the crippling unemployment rate or raise the abysmal standard of living.

Such features of basic decent governance have not found their way onto the agenda of these two groups for the past 12 years. And evidently, they are not making it onto the agenda in the foreseeable future. No time for that: The leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are otherwise occupied—with the destruction of Israel; the Palestinian people be damned.

While Hamas and Islamic Jihad are talking to Egyptians and UN envoys about a ceasefire with Israel, the leaders of the two groups are also continuing to seek financial and military support from Iran to prepare for war against Israel.

Last month, a senior Hamas delegation, headed by military leader Saleh Arouri, visited Tehran and met with Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iranian media quoted Khamenei as expressing satisfaction over the “progress” the Palestinians have made in the past few years. The “progress” Khamenei is talking about is not related to the building of a new hospital or school or a medical breakthrough in the Gaza Strip. Instead, the “progress” the Palestinians have achieved—according to Iran’s Supreme Leader—is that “while the Palestinians used to fight [Israel] with rocks, today they possess precise rockets.”

Arouri, for his part, was quoted as saying during his visit to Tehran that the “Palestinian resistance and Iran are in one front in facing Israel.”

Obviously, Hamas and Islamic Jihad believe that they can have it both ways and continue to play everyone for fools. The same Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders who are telling the Egyptians and UN envoys that they are keen on maintaining the ceasefire understandings with Israel are also begging Iran for the resources to step up their attacks on Israel. Yet the Egyptians and UN envoys prefer not to see the double-dealing.

The Egyptian and UN mediators, in failing to call out the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for their deception and conflicting messages, are permitting the two groups to deploy the ceasefire with Israel as a cover to prepare for the next war.

If and when the next war erupts in the Gaza Strip, the mediators will not be able to say that they were surprised. All these mediators have to do is turn half an ear to what the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and their patrons in Tehran are saying to understand that the Gaza-based groups are dead-set on inflicting as much damage on Israel as possible. As per standard operating procedure, the biggest losers of all in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip will be the Palestinians.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Source: (Gatestone Institute originally published this article on August 6, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ruptly/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Pray for God’s protection over the land and over all of Israel’s military and security forces as Islamic Jihad increases its threats and its potential to reach strategic targets throughout the country.

Scripture

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.


- Psalm 91:5–6, 11

Iran Threatens to Further Escalate Nuclear Program Conflict with Third Step

by Joshua Spurlock

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The Shazand thermal power plant in Iran

Monday, 5 August 2019 | Having already increased their nuclear fuel stockpile and the quality of their nuclear fuel enrichment beyond the limits imposed under the nuclear deal, Iran is now warning that their third step in withdrawing from commitments in the deal is coming up. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was quoted by the Fars News Agency as telling the Iranian Parliament on Saturday they would “assuredly” take that next step if the world powers fail to boost economic benefits to Iran. What that third move would be was not made clear.

The Iranians in recent months began reneging on their commitments under the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), warning that they would continue to expand their nuclear program if the Europeans didn’t effectively mitigate United States’ sanctions on Iran. While the nuclear program remains solidly in the civilian range—Iran has announced that 4.5% uranium enrichment quality has been achieved, whereas 90% is needed for nuclear weapons—there are threats of advancing that element further to medical research levels and even beyond.

The Fars News report noted that recently Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said there wouldn’t be “any problem” for Iran to advance to 20% enrichment quality—the level needed for medical research—and that there are “options even higher than that.” He did claim that they would act based on Iran’s needs and not just go for higher levels as a scare tactic.

Fear and threats are still in offing, however. The Fars report also quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Moussavi as calling Iran’s imposed two-month deadline for the world powers to act their “last opportunity.”

Meanwhile, the situation is so serious, Iran was the first item of interest mentioned in the press release recapping Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first call with the new leader of the United Kingdom. The statement from Netanyahu’s office said he spoke with new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnston on Saturday evening and “told him that it was important to take a strong stand against Iran.”

The tensions with Iran remain very high. Iran and the US have each shot down a drone from the other’s forces, the Iranians have sabotaged the oil industry and captured foreign ships, and on Wednesday the US authorized sanctions on Foreign Minister Zarif.

A press release from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted on the US State Department website called Zarif a “key enabler” of Iran’s malignant policies and the Foreign Ministry “a means of advancing many” of those policies.

“Instead of using Iran’s precious resources to invest in the brave and rightfully proud people of Iran, the Iranian regime facilitates and supports terrorism, jails and tortures innocent Iranians, fuels foreign conflicts in Syria and Yemen, and, in recent weeks, has expanded its nuclear program,” said Pompeo in the statement.

“Foreign Minister Zarif, a senior regime official and apologist, has for years now been complicit in these malign activities.”

Despite the tensions, the US continues to extend an olive branch to Iran. “The United States continues to seek a diplomatic solution that addresses the Iranian regime’s destructive behavior,” said Pompeo. “The only path forward is a comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of its threats. Until then, our campaign of diplomatic isolation and maximum economic pressure will continue.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on August 4, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Mohsan Dabiri-e Vaziri/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that the international community will unite to apply maximum economic pressure on Iran while diplomatic options are explored. Beseech the Lord that a solution will be found that addresses the full range of Iran’s threats to Israel and the nations.

Scripture

For thus says the LORD of hosts: “He sent me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.”


- Zechariah 2:8

The Invisible Palestinian

by Itamar Marcus

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Palestinians suffer in crowded, impoverished neighborhoods while their corrupt leadership uses the economy for nationalist endeavors (illustrative).

Thursday, 8 August 2019 | American leaders visited Israel this week, following up on the US-sponsored Bahrain economic workshop. The goal of America’s continued expenditure of diplomatic time and energy has been to create financial backers to invest $27–50 billion in the floundering Palestinian economy.

While many were surprised when the Palestinian Authority [PA] condemned, boycotted and even arrested Palestinians who participated in the event intended to jump-start the economy and benefit thousands of individual Palestinians, the rejection was consistent with ongoing PA strategy.

For PA leaders, individual Palestinians are invisible; they exist only as tiny pieces of the large nationalist agenda. The individual has no personal rights and is of value only as a tool for advancing the PA leaders’ politics.

One tragic illustration of this is when President Mahmoud Abbas left Palestinians to die in Syria during the height of the civil war, prioritizing his nationalist agenda over the individual’s right to life.

Palestinians were being killed daily in refugee camps, and Abbas asked Israel to allow them into PA areas. Israel agreed with the stipulation that the transition had to be complete: The refugees from Syria had to be absorbed into the PA as citizens and taken off the UN [United Nations] refugee lists.

Any leader who minimally cares about the lives of his people would have embraced this offer and welcomed the thousands of new citizens. What was Abbas’s response? Complete rejection!

His spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh explained: “Abbas rejected the condition set by Israel… that anyone who enters the territories of the occupied state of Palestine [West Bank (Judea and Samaria) or Gaza Strip] renounces his right of return [to Israel], which President Abbas absolutely refuses” (official PA daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida, January 22, 2013).

In other words, when Abbas was given the choice to either save individuals’ lives or promote the PA’s agenda—which includes forcing refugee status on all descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948–49—Abbas chose the agenda over saving lives. As refugees, they have value as important pieces of the PA political plan. However, as individuals they have no value, are invisible to Abbas, and so nothing was lost by leaving them to die. And many did: 4,000 of those invisible Palestinians were slaughtered by Syrian bombings, sniper fire and torture.

Abbas did not initiate this policy: He learned it from Yasser Arafat, the founding Palestinian patriarch. Arafat bragged about sending Palestinians, even children, to die to promote the PA’s nationalist agendas.

During the authority’s terrorist campaign (intifada) from 2000 to 2005, Palestinian Media Watch reported that the PA was promoting suicide terrorism, honoring all terrorists, and even naming sporting events after suicide bombers. These activities were condemned by the international community. Arafat’s answer was to try to balance murdered Israelis with dead Palestinian children.

His controlled PA TV-ran music videos to brainwash Palestinian children into believing that death as “martyrs” is “sweet,” even better than life. One music video, broadcast hundreds of times, showed the famous child “martyr” Muhammad al-Dura, depicted by a child actor, playing joyously in Child Martyr Paradise, which had kites and amusement parks. The famous child “martyr” called to other children to die as well: “I’m waving to you not in parting but to say, ‘Follow me.'” (Signed) Muhammad al-Dura.”

Arafat was proud of this strategy, even telling PA TV that child “martyrs” are the “greatest” PR: “The child who is holding the stone facing the tank: Isn’t it the greatest message to the world when that hero becomes a martyr?” (Official PA TV, January 15, 2002).

With brazen cruelty, the PA was enticing its children to commit “heroic” suicide in order to rush to show the world dead Palestinian children, accuse Israel of war crimes and balance the damage to Arafat’s image caused by his suicide bombers.

Arafat could send Palestinian children to die, because he saw them as pawns who could best advance his Palestinian nationalist agenda through dying. Abbas left civilians to be slaughtered in Syria because he saw them as pawns who had to remain refugees even if it meant dying. When people are invisible, PA leaders use them, abuse them and then throw them away.

At a recent ceremony for first-year university students, senior Fatah leader Abbas Zaki, a close confidant of Abbas, addressed the 18- and 19-year-olds. Did he tell them to thrive in school? Did he encourage them to work hard and achieve? No. He told them they are cowards if they choose life over death.

Allahu akbar [Allah is greater]! Cursed is anyone who does not sacrifice for Jerusalem!… What did [Arafat] say? He said: ‘Arise! The gates of heaven have opened.’ He who seeks death—life will be given to him. Those who die [naturally] are the cowards. But real men approach death with a smile… Rush toward death.” (Facebook page of Abbas Zaki, November 19, 2018)

Zaki was giving a booster shot to the Arafat–Abbas doctrine. He was demanding that young Palestinians see themselves void of inherent value and self-worth as individuals but rather only as tiny cogs for promoting Palestinian nationalist goals. So he ordered them to die for Jerusalem or be branded as cowards.

The greatest tragedy for the Palestinian man, woman and child was and remains that, for their leaders, they become visible only if they are refugees, commit terrorist attacks, become “martyrs” or can be used in some other way for the leaders’ agenda.

Now it is clear why the PA rejected the offer of billions of dollars in aid to its people. Its nationalist agenda has always dictated distancing itself from economic cooperation with Israel, from prosperity, and even from life itself. The PA fears that economic prosperity for Palestinians would be at the expense of its nationalist agenda. A prosperous Palestinian family may not bring up its sons to commit terrorist attacks. A 23-year-old Palestinian graduate with great job opportunities who is planning a future may turn his back on terrorism and martyrdom, the values that the PA has been promoting as nationalist goals.

The Americans made this offer because to them, the Palestinian individuals’ predicament is visible. The PA leaders rejected this offer because to them, the individual Palestinian is invisible. In order help people, you have to first actually see them.

It is time the Palestinians themselves and the international community recognize that Palestinian suffering is caused by the selfish actions, corrupt values and twisted nationalist priorities of their own leaders.

As long as this Arafat–Abbas agenda continues to be the unchallenged force driving Palestinian leaders, individual Palestinians have no hope for a better future—for they are, and will remain, invisible.

The writer is founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch.

Source: (Palestinian Media Watch originally published this article on August 6, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Almonroth/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for a miraculous and complete turnaround in Palestinian leadership. Pray that God will replace the current leaders with those who would actually exhibit genuine leadership by truly committing to peace with Israel and by putting the needs of the Palestinian people before any other agenda.

Scripture

Like a roaring lion and a charging bear is a wicked ruler over poor people. A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor, but he who hates covetousness will prolong his days.


- Proverbs 28:15–16

IDF Aids US-led Mission in Strait of Hormuz

by Kate Norman

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A US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz (illustrative)

Wednesday, 7 August 2019 | Israel will participate in a US-led security coalition in the Persian Gulf, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a closed Knesset (Parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee session, according to a Hebrew Ynetnews report.

The Jewish state, Katz said, will provide intelligence and other unspecified operations in the area, according to the report. The foreign minister recently returned from a visit to the United Arab Emirates [UAE], one of the Gulf states which lies very near the Strait of Hormuz—the hotbed of the current tit-for-tat tanker skirmishes between Iran and the rest of the world.

After returning from the UAE, Katz directed his ministry to integrate the Jewish state into the operation. He acknowledged that the move would be in Israel’s best interests to curb Iranian aggression and strengthen ties to the US and the Gulf states, who are more and more coming to view the Islamic regime as a common enemy. This move comes with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s support.

The naval security coalition calls for the US military to monitor and control the Gulf, with any other countries involved providing military escort for ships in the waterway. The US introduced the idea for the operation in June, a month after several attacks on tankers and ships in the same waterway. Washington blamed Tehran for the attacks, though the Islamic Republic has denied involvement.

More than a year has now passed since the United States pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal, which was enacted to curb Tehran’s nuclear development program in exchange for lifting the sanctions chokehold on the regime’s oil exports. The US called the accord flawed and asserted that it was ineffective in halting Iran’s nuclear development. Then the States reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic, plunging it into a financial crisis—and tensions are now soaring.

Iran has already begun to operate outside of the limitations set in the 2015 accord, pointing the finger at the nations remaining in the deal for being unable to curb the effects of the US sanctions. The Islamic Republic again this week threatened to step further away from its nuclear limitations in a month if European countries are still unable to sooth its financial woes, a tactic Israeli and American officials have called “extortion.”

The rising tensions don’t manifest merely on paper and in the banks—the friction is coming to a boiling point in the Persian Gulf, specifically in the Strait of Hormuz. This 24-mile (39-km) wide waterway is the most important oil passageway in the world—even more so now as the eyes of the world watch the tit-for-tat tanker skirmishes between Iran and the rest of the world. With Iran to the north and Oman to the south, the waterway connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman. The strait is the only link for the Persian Gulf to the rest of the world—and more than one-sixth of the world’s oil passes through the route.

Last month the UK seized an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar—British-controlled territory on Spain’s southern coast—accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria. Two weeks later, Iran seized a UK-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The British-flagged Stena Impero remains under Iranian control, even having its British flag replaced with the Iranian flag.

The British Ministry of Defense thus announced that it will participate in the American naval security coalition in the Gulf. Other countries are still hesitant or have already declined participation.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 7, 2019)

Photo Credit: US Marines News/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Pray that God will protect the security coalition as they strive to keep shipping lanes open and ships protected, as well as maintaining peace in the Persian Gulf. Pray that Israel’s contribution to their success will be noted, as will God’s supernatural protection over the State of Israel.

Scripture

The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in.


- Psalm 121:5–6, 7a–8a

There Might Be Something Great to the “Deal of the Century” 

by Ben-Dror Yemini

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump shake hands during a press conference as Israel is a strategic ally to the US in the Middle East (illustrative).

Friday, 2 August 2019 | As time goes by, it seems there might be something to the Trump plan [known as the “Deal of the Century”] after all.

Circumstances in the region have changed and are continuing to change. Iran has assumed the role of enemy for most of the Arab world. Israel has become a strategic alley thanks to Iran, a situation for which it should be grateful.

The Palestinian position is being criticized more and more in the Arab world, both on social media and by journalists and bloggers. Even some politicians are expressing such views—which would have been unthinkable just a decade ago.

The outline of the deal is being revealed bit by bit. It is not just the economic plan whose gist was presented at the Bahrain summit in June.

There is no Palestinian statehood in the “Deal of the Century,” only autonomy, as US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a silent member of the administration’s Mideast peace team, has revealed.

Friedman warned the Palestinians that the Clinton, Olmert, Kerry and Obama proposals are no longer on the table.

This is a blow to Saeb Erakat’s vision of Israeli–Palestinian peace as told to the Jordanian Ad-Dustour daily newspaper in 2009: “At Camp David (in 2000) we were offered 90% (of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria]) and Olmert offered 100% (in 2008).”

Now the architects of the peace plan are making clear that all those proposals are a thing of the past and there is no better deal on its way.

When Arab countries are disintegrating because of jihad [Islamic war with unbelievers] on one hand and Iran on the other, no stable Arab government would see the formation of a new Arab state as a dream come true. A bold new peace plan should propose taking a completely different direction.

Given all of the above, there may be some logic to holding a summit at Camp David as a continuation of the Bahrain conference. And maybe, just maybe, some Arab states would be supportive of that.

Jordan will continue to release statements in support of a Palestinian state, but it is actually the last thing Abdullah’s kingdom needs. Such an entity would be prone to expansion to its east as well as its west and could threaten Jordan.

Additionally, Hamas would try and most likely succeed in seizing control of such a state.

Netanyahu’s plan to build 700 housing units for Palestinians in Area C can be seen as a gesture of good will, if a proposal of autonomy is considered.

Regardless of whatever left-wing or right-wing political views its population may hold, a proposed peace settlement that would ensure Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish and democratic state—and prevent a bi-national state down the road—is the best option.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in Ynetnews on August 1, 2019. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.) 

Photo Credit: The White House/Public domain/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for this peace initiative that claims to ensure Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish and democratic state and to prevent a binational state in the future. Pray that all parties involved will receive revelation from the Lord that Israel is not just some piece of real estate to be divided at the caprice of men, but rather is His holy possession that He in His sovereignty has given to the Jewish people as an everlasting possession.

Scripture

Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (the LORD of hosts is His name): “If those ordinances depart from before Me,” says the LORD, “then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.”


- Jeremiah 31:35–36

Did Netanyahu Own Up to Daytime Strike on Hezbollah Terror Targets?

by Kate Norman

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The Syrian Golan Heights

Friday, 2 August 2019 | Israel launched a rocket yesterday that struck the Syrian Golan Heights, according to Syrian media. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported Thursday that “the Israeli enemy” struck the Quneitra province, causing material damage but no injuries. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has not commented on its involvement—but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did yesterday.

“We’re defending ourselves at all times,” the prime minister proclaimed Thursday at a ceremony.

After giving his well wishes to three soldiers who were injured yesterday morning by a terrorist who breached the Gaza border and opened fire before he was shot and killed, Netanyahu shifted to Israel’s tension in the north with a thinly veiled implication.

“We’re also fighting on other fronts. On the northern front, we’re acting against Iran and Hezbollah, and you’re hearing about that now as well.”

Saudi Al Arabiya TV said Hezbollah militants were seen in the area prior to yesterday’s rare daytime attack. Throughout Syria’s civil war, Israel has openly acknowledged that it launches strikes against Iran and its allies, mostly weapons shipments from Tehran to its terror proxies in the region.

Israel reportedly expanded its range on Sunday, striking an Iranian missile shipment and advisers in Iraq, just 80 kilometers [50 mi.] from the Islamic regime’s border.

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have made their policy of blocking Iranian aggression clear. He often accuses the Islamic Republic of using its involvement in the Syrian Civil War in order to get its foot in the door to Israel’s border, using it as a launching pad to attack the Jewish state.

Last week, the prime minister declared that “Israel will not allow Iran, which calls for our destruction, to entrench on our border.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 2, 2019)

Photo Credit: Masterpjz9/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel will be successful in protecting its northern border from Iran’s determination to establish itself in Syria in order to have a “launching pad” from which to attack God’s chosen Land. Pray for great wisdom as well as a supernatural sense of optimism for Israel’s leaders and all security and intelligence forces involved in this on-going battle.

Scripture

Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, the shield of your help and the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you and you shall tread down their high places.


- Deuteronomy 33:29

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