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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.
Likud Leadership Battle Heats Up
Tuesday, 17 December 2019 | What happened: The battle for the Likud leadership has intensified as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main challenger, Gideon Sa’ar, launched their campaigns ahead of the December 26 primary election.
Context: Most polls currently predict that the right wing bloc of parties led by Likud would win slightly more seats under Sa’ar than Netanyahu, improving its overall electoral prospects—although under Netanyahu the Likud itself would do significantly better.
Looking ahead: The Likud primary is the strongest internal challenge to Netanyahu for more than a decade. Since the 2005 primary vote, Netanyahu has never received less than 73% of the vote. In 2002, Netanyahu lost to then-prime minister Ariel Sharon, 56% to 40%. Netanyahu is still considered the favorite to beat Sa’ar this month, although most analysts are looking at the strength of the Sa’ar challenge to gauge Netanyahu’s overall political standing—with most saying that Sa’ar receiving 40% of the vote would be a major blow to the prime minister.
Photo Credit: יעקב/wikimedia.org
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Pray as Jesus (Yeshua) instructed His disciples, that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. Remind the Lord of His promises to protect Israel and beseech Him to install leadership that will hear His voice and lead the nation in the way He desires it to go.
The King’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Israel, US Pledge Better Cooperation as Iran Boasts of Advanced Centrifuges
by Joshua Spurlock
Thursday, 19 December 2019 | Iranian President Hasan Rouhani announced on Wednesday that Iran is testing their next round of advanced centrifuges—the IR-9, which are used for the enrichment of nuclear fuel. The same day Israel and the United States discussed enhanced cooperation to push back against Iran. Rouhani, according to the Iranian Presidency’s website, was quoted as telling Iranians living in Malaysia, “today, our new IR6 centrifuges are working and the newer IR9s are being tested”.
In the Russian news agency Sputnik’s report on Rouhani’s comments, it was noted that the IR-9 is 50 times faster than the original IR-1 centrifuges according to the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi. The announcement comes as Iran has repeatedly stepped away from commitments under the tottering Iran nuclear deal with the world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran’s withdrawal from restrictions under the JCPOA are intended to pressure Europe into making economic concessions for Iran.
Meanwhile, the same day Rouhani made his announcement, the national security advisors for Israel and the US met to discuss their joint work against Iran.
US National Security Advisor [Robert C] O’Brien and Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat “agreed to continue close coordination on countering Iran’s destabilizing influence and activities in the region, as well as monitoring the ramifications of unrest within Iran,” according to an Israeli press release.
To that end, the two national security heads “agreed on the mutual goal of making the United States–Israel relationship even closer as both countries pursue shared interests in the region.” The sides are continuing joint working groups to “dramatically improve bilateral relations in a number of areas,” such as cyber, intelligence and telecommunications security to “counter the threats posed by Iran and other actors.”
The US exited the JCPOA last year and has engaged in a “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign against Iran in an effort to force the regime to curb its malignant activities in the Middle East. On Wednesday, Rouhani continued to sound defiant, quoted by his website as saying that “Americans have no choice” but to turn from the sanctions approach. “We will force them to do so with our resistance and steadfastness,” said Rouhani.
However, Iran is facing more than just the US. In addition to Israel, Ambassador O’Brien on Wednesday noted that “common interests between Israel and Arab states…have made new regional partnerships possible to counter Iran’s malign influence and create a more prosperous and peaceful future for all.”
So while Rouhani was making boasts in one part of the world, over in Washington DC, Israel and the US were feeling confident in their own right following the meeting of their respective national security heads.
Said the Israeli press release, “Today was another great day for the United States–Israel relationship, defined by a responsible approach to the challenges and opportunities our two countries face in the Middle East.”
Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on December 18, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)
Photo Credit: Leslie N. Emory/The White House/flickr.com
Photo License: flickr.com
Seek the Lord for great wisdom for both Israeli and American leaders as they work to bring an end to Iran’s influence and activities in the region. Pray that the nations of the world will recognize the threat and join Israel and the US in these efforts.
For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice and preserves the way of His saints.
Brazil Pledges to Move Embassy to Jerusalem
by Joshua Spurlock
Monday, 16 December 2019 | Brazil opened a trade office in Jerusalem on Sunday, and if that move wasn’t enough to re-confirm Brazilian plans to move their embassy to the Holy City, the son of Brazil’s president explicitly reaffirmed those plans at the office’s opening ceremony.
“I was with President Jair Bolsonaro before I came here. He told me that for sure [Brazil will keep] the commitment. He’s going to move the embassy to Jerusalem. He’s going to do that,” Eduardo Bolsonaro, himself a Brazilian legislator and Brazilian International Affairs and National Defense Committee chairman, was quoted by an Israeli press release as saying.
“We want to do a movement to Jerusalem, not only for Brazil, but to be an example to the rest of Latin America.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted by the same press release as calling the opening of the Brazilian trade office in Jerusalem “part of something that we have agreed upon in the tightening of relations between Israel and Brazil. And here it’s happening today as part of President Bolsonaro’s commitment to open an embassy in Jerusalem next year.”
The trade office itself is an important movement to bringing the two nations closer together, Netanyahu emphasized.
“The [Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency] office can help Brazil and Israel realize the potential of cooperation between us,” said Netanyahu. “Israel is the most dynamic innovation nation in the world. This is not what I say, but many others who are saying it. The markets are saying it. If we merge the great potentials that our two countries have, we can benefit each other unbelievably.”
In addition to the physical move of the embassy, Eduardo Bolsonaro said on Sunday that he wants his nation to back Israeli interests in the diplomatic arena as well by recognizing the Lebanese Hezbollah group as a terrorist organization. He reminded of his own country’s experience with Hezbollah bombings in the 1990s.
“Sooner or later we are going to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist group, especially after what they did in Argentina, in 92 and 94,” said the Brazilian lawmaker. He also noted that Israel and Brazil would “reach together to fight back against” terrorists. “If you want to avoid a terrorist attack you have to show power,” he said.
Beyond terrorism, Brazil has also backed Israel in international forums, something Netanyahu said he much appreciates.
“President Bolsonaro immediately changed policy and said, ‘We stand with Israel. We stand with the truth,’” said Netanyahu, noting that the Jewish state had supported Brazil in dealing with tragedies such as the fires in the Amazon. “Israel was there, and Israel will always be there for the people of Brazil and for our common friendship,” he said.
While the two countries are growing closer together now and in the future, Netanyahu noted that when he visited Brazil for President Bolsonaro’s inauguration last January, Brazilians showed “unbelievable” friendship toward Israel then too.
“We came and we were so deeply impressed with not only with [President Bolsonaro’s] friendship, and your friendship Eduardo and so many others in your government and in the congress, but also in the friendship with the people…We saw this everywhere, everywhere we went, including in the inauguration itself in Brasília, where crowds were cheering for President Bolsonaro, but those same crowds cheered the prime minister of Israel,” said Netanyahu.
“It was very moving for us because we cherish our friends. We have no better friends than the people and the government of Brazil. Know that you have no better friends than the people and the government of Israel.”
Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on December 15, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)
Photo Credit: Alan Santos/PR/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Thank the Lord for the incredible support for Israel that exists in Brazil. Pray that the relationship between the two countries will continue to grow and strengthen. Praise the Lord for Brazil’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital and ask that great blessing will fall on the nation as it moves its embassy to Jerusalem in 2020.
In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Mossad to the Rescue! Israel Helps Denmark Thwart Series of Terror Attacks
by Ilse Struass
Monday, 16 December 2019 | Say the word “Mossad” [Israeli intelligence agency] and mental images of daring, heroism and bravery come to mind. Israel’s formidable intelligence service is, after all, synonymous with seemingly impossible missions, shake-your-head-in-wonder exploits and off the charts bravery—all conducted covertly to secure the safety of the Jewish state and its people.
Israelis are, however, not the only ones who owe a debt of gratitude to the Jewish state’s clandestine intelligence services. According to Israel’s Channel 12 news, the Mossad played a pivotal role in helping Denmark thwart a series of terror attacks by providing the police and intelligence services of the Scandinavian country with the necessary information to stop the attacks at the last moment.
According to the report, the Israeli intelligence enabled the Danish police to nab a cell of 22 suspected jihadists in the final stages of planning a wave of terror attacks. Various weapons were also confiscated. The authorities have, however, remained mum as to the potential targets in the terrorists’ sights.
Of those arrested, six remain in custody on charges of attempting to buy guns, silencers and ammunition and producing bombs. If found guilty, the suspected terrorists face the possibility of a lifetime in jail.
This is but one episode in a long series of the Mossad swooping in to rescue a people and a country not their own, and adds the Danes to a growing list of nations that can thank Israel’s intelligence service for preventing a bloodbath on its soil.
In July, Channel 12 reported that the Mossad and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Intelligence branch have thwarted a whopping 50 terror attacks in 12 countries over the past three years by passing on crucial information regarding operatives, targets, dates and prospective hits to local authorities, doubtlessly saving countless lives. The architects behind the majority of plans to sow death and destruction are the Islamic State and the world’s foremost sponsor of terror, Iran, the report said.
Twelve of the foiled attacks targeted Turkey, a country where relations with Israel is at best coldly unfriendly and at worst openly hostile. One of Israel’s fiercest and most outspoken critics, Turkish President Recep Erdoğan embraces every opportunity to blast the Jewish state and often takes to social media to lambast Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Despite the blatant animosity, Israel faithfully passed on the intelligence Turkey needed to thwart no less than a dozen attacks on its soil—even during times when diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Ankara were nonexistent.
The July report echoed a statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in June telling the audience of a cyber security convention that Israeli cyber-intelligence helped foil “major” terror attacks in “dozens” of countries, including Australia.
Also in June, the Mossad was credited with preventing a 2015 Iran-orchestrated Hezbollah terror attack in London, when Israel’s intelligence service passed information to its British peers to help foil the attack and apprehend the perpetrators.
With the Mossad rushing to the rescue time and time again, perhaps the time has come for the nations of the world to stop maligning Israel and take its outstretched hand as an alley in the war on terror.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 16, 2019)
Photo Credit: Dickelbers/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Raise your voice in praise to the Lord for the incredible wisdom and insight He has given to His people to help them defeat His enemies. Thank Him for Israel’s determination to help the nations of the earth have victory over their enemies as well. Pray that the international community will recognize the enormous contribution Israel has made to the safety and security of the entire world.
That the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you.
Israel Nabs 50-strong Palestinian Terror Cell
by Yoav Zitun
Thursday, 19 December 2019 | Israel has in recent weeks rounded up 50 Palestinian terror suspects, including those believed to have murdered 17-year-old Rina Shnerb in an attack at a West Bank [Judea and Samaria] tourist spot in August, the Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] announced Wednesday.
The detained men belong to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP] and were plotting to carry out “major terrorist attacks,” the Shin Bet said, following the joint operation with the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] and Israel Police.
Rina was killed, her 19-year-old brother Dvir was seriously wounded and her father Eitan was lightly hurt when they were hit by an improvised explosive device as they were visiting the Danny Spring—named for another Israeli terror victim—near the West Bank settlement of Dolev.
The cell operated in close coordination, succeeding in carrying out the attack that killed Shnerb with a level of sophistication almost unheard of since the end of the Second Intifada [uprising] more than a decade ago.
The attack included planting a bomb near the spring, detonating it from afar and then fleeing the scene while evading security cameras.
The charge was quite small, but its location made it extremely lethal.
The 50-strong terror network was uncovered by the Shin Bet in September, as its members were planning further terrorist attacks in the Ramallah area.
Most were arrested in recent weeks and interrogated by the Shin Bet.
According to the security service, the interrogatees provided credible information that led to the discovery and confiscation of “several deadly weapons belonging to the PFLP.” These included M16 and AK-47 semi-automatic rifles, Galil assault rifles, Carbine rifles, Uzi submachine guns, pistols, silencers, ingredients to make bombs, assorted ammunition and communications devices.
“This intelligence work has foiled terror attacks on the verge of execution,” said a Shin Bet official.
“If we hadn’t arrived at the scene, the PFLP would have launched these attacks, killing dozens of people.
“The large number of firearms we found and information we received illustrate the dangers at hand and the high level of readiness to perpetrate terrorist attacks,” he said.
Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Thank the Lord for the diligent work of Israel’s defense forces and these arrests of the perpetrators of horrific terror attacks against innocent Israelis. Beseech the Lord that He will continue to guide and protect the various intelligence and law enforcement agencies that are responsible for the safety of Israel’s citizens.
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men.
Israeli Student Suffers Shocking Anti-Semitic Attack in New York
by Itamar Eichner
Wednesday, 18 December 2019 | An Israeli student in New York was hurt in an anti-Semitic attack on the city’s subway.
Lihi Aharon was physically attacked by a female passenger who called her “a dirty Jew” and said that it was a shame that more Jews were not killed in the New Jersey kosher supermarket attack last week.
In a video posted on Facebook, Aharon is seen with scratches on her face as she recounts the events of the attack. The video shows her assailant cursing and yelling anti-Semitic insults even as she is arrested by police at a subway station.
In the video, Aharon recounts that she got on the subway and asked the women to move her possessions so that she could sit down. The woman refused and Aharon went to sit next to a Jewish man with a yarmulke and a beard.
The woman then started abusing the Jewish man, Aharon says, cursing at him and yelling “Allahu Akbar” [god is greater].
She said that it was a shame that more Jews were not killed in the New Jersey attack and Aharon began to film her with her phone.
According to Aharon, the woman knocked the phone out of her hand, and scratched her face in retaliation.
The student says she then pushed the emergency button and the police arrived almost immediately.
The assailant was arrested while she still hurled anti-Semitic slurs at Aharon.
Concluding her video narrative, Aharon says the scar on her face is a mark of pride because she stood up “to defend my people and my country.”
“Do not be afraid to step up and shut people up,” she says. “Do not be afraid to fight and return the fight.”
Photo Credit: i24NEWS English/YouTube/screenshot
Ask the Lord for His divine protection over His people no matter where they might reside. Plead with Him that Christians will rise up in support of the Jewish communities in their areas and cry out that the enemies of God will be stopped.
Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones.
“BDS Is Anti-Semitic,” Boris Johnson to Pass Anti-BDS Law
by Ilse Strauss
Wednesday, 18 December 2019 | Days after Boris Johnson’s Conservative party won a landslide victory in the national elections last week, the newly reelected British prime minister is expected to make good on an election pledge to prohibit public institutions from boycotting products from foreign nations—including Israel—by passing legislation that will deal the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement in Britain a crippling blow.
Speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Dialogue conference in Jerusalem Sunday evening, UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues Eric Pickles told the audience that the proposed law will make it illegal for public institutions to back BDS or to join in BDS-related activities against Israel.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the legislation has a very specific target: preventing local councils ruled by the Labour Party—headed by notorious anti-Semitic leader Jeremy Corbyn—from squandering taxpayer money on boycotting Israel.
Pickles, who is also the president of the Association of the Conservative Friends of Israel, explained that last week’s election results served as the first step in Britain taking a decisive stand against anti-Semitism festering in its midst.
“BDS is anti-Semitic and should be treated as such,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Pickles as saying. “Antisemitism is an attack on the British way of life and British identity. Without our Jewish citizens, we would be a lesser nation.”
According to UK daily newspaper “i,” Queen Elizabeth II will reference Johnson’s anti-BDS law in the traditional “Queen’s Speech” tomorrow at the opening of the new parliament. The speech is usually prepared by the prime minister and his cabinet and outlines the administration’s agenda and legislative priorities for the year to come.
Johnson has long since criticized the BDS movement. In 2015, he told BBC he could not fathom “anything more foolish than to say that you want to have any kind of divestment or sanctions or boycott against a country that, when all is said and done, is the only democracy in the region.”
The British prime minister’s stance on the anti-Semitic movement—and Israel as a whole—is the polar opposite of his main rival in last week’s election. Corbyn consistently delegitimizes Israel, supports anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian causes and describes violent anti-Israel terror organizations Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends.” The Labour party pledged that if elected, Britain would “immediately recognize the state of Palestine” and cease all weapon sales to Israel. Corbyn has also been accused of poisoning his party with extreme anti-Semitism, provoking some members to leave the party behind. In fact, the prospect of life under Corbyn’s leadership seemed so bleak that 50% of Britain’s Jews said they would emigrate if the anti-Semitic leader won the election.
When Johnson and the Conservative party scored a landslide victory, Britain’s Jews—and the powers that be in the State of Israel—breathed a sigh of relief. Johnson’s triumph was much more than one party beating out the other. The people of Britain have spoken. And they have spoken against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in Britain.
In calling out BDS as anti-Semitic and attempting to combat its effects through legislation, Britain joins the ranks of Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and the US.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 18, 2019)
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State/flickr.com
Photo License: flickr.com
Thank the Lord for this victory for Him and for His people. Pray that His blessing will fall on the UK as their leadership works to fight BDS within their borders. Pray that other nations will take notice and follow suit.
How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel! “Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.”
Perpetuating the Lie of Palestinian Refugees
by Ben-Dror Yemini
Monday, 16 December 2019 | The Palestinian Authority [PA] and Hamas had a good reason to celebrate last Friday.
On that day, the United Nations [UN] decided to extend the mandate for its agency for Palestinian refugees—the United Nations Relief and Works Agency [UNRWA]—for three more years.
The decision to do so didn’t pass by a narrow majority, but received almost unanimous support from the entire assembly, with 169 countries voting in favor, 9 abstaining and 2—Israel and the US—voting against.
This vote, if given closer inspection, is more of a Pyrrhic victory than anything else.
UNRWA was created 70 years ago in December 1949, merely 5 days after the creation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
At its founding, the term by which the agency went by defined 711,000 Palestinians as refugees. Today, following certain changes to said definition in order to include the descendants of those Palestinians, the refugees are numbered at around 5.5 million.
Why was there a need for a second agency? Because the Arab leadership at that time wanted only one thing: to use the plight of the refugees to combat the existence of Israel. And who is paying the price for this decision? The refugees, whose plight has become an open wound.
The enormous budgets received by UNRWA could have built every refugee family a mansion for rehabilitation purposes and founded industries and economic infrastructure for their betterment.
More than 60 million people escaped or were run out of their homes during the first half of the 20th century as a result of conflicts and the foundation of nation states.
The transfer and exchange of various populations was sadly the norm of the time.
There was also a Jewish “Nakba” (the term used by the Palestinians to denote the “catastrophe” of the exodus following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948).
Some 850,000 Jews left or were expelled from Arab countries, with their possessions being confiscated. None of them or their offspring are considered refugees today in any official capacity. Only the Palestinian refugees are given this title.
The only institution promulgating this idea of “the Palestinian right of return” is UNRWA, a right not appearing in any international law.
There are not 5.5 million Palestinian refugees, it’s a hoax.
Lebanon, for example, says that there are only 475,000 Palestinian refugees.
A 2017 census in Lebanon found there are just 174,000 Palestinian refugees living there, all of whom suffer from what could be described as apartheid.
In Jordan, they are given citizenship, which according to UNRWA, negates their refugee status.
So there is a general definition for most refugees and a special one just for Palestinians.
The solution to the Palestinian issue should be the same as the one provided for them since 1949: rehabilitation where they are located.
There is no need to dismantle UNRWA immediately. There is a need for a three- to five-year plan that will grant citizenship for the Palestinians living in the Arab countries, with budgets given to them in order to assimilate.
The rest of them, however many they actually are, will be treated directly by the UNHCR.
Facebook has decided to donate money to UNRWA. Someone should tell Mark Zuckerberg that UNRWA issued schoolbooks that are filled with anti-Semitism, providing hate instead of welfare.
The UN’s decision to prolong the mandate is a decision for agitation and the commemoration of suffering and strife.
This is not a way to solve the Nakba.
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Photo License: wikimedia.org
Pray for God’s intervention in the so-called Palestinian refugee situation. Pray that the truth will come to light for all to recognize that it is in fact a hoax. Ask the Lord to move on the nations to end the mandate under which UNRWA has perpetuated a victim mentality and prevented the implementation of solutions that might have brought an end to the suffering of Palestinians and actually promoted peace.
A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies. The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.
Hamas, Thirty-Two Years Later
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Thursday, 19 December 2019 | The Palestinian Hamas movement this week celebrated its 32nd anniversary by reminding everyone of its main goal: the destruction of Israel. This message is proof that Hamas has not—and will not—change its charter, originally published in 1988. It is also a powerful message to those who may have deluded themselves into believing that Hamas has transformed into a non-violent Palestinian faction.
This charter, also known as the Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement, states that Hamas’s “struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious” and calls for replacing Israel with an Islamic state. “There is no solution for the Palestinian issue except through jihad [war with unbelievers in Islam],” the charter says. “Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. Renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion [of Islam].”
Thirty-two years later, the leaders of Hamas have again shown that they remain more committed than ever to their covenant, particularly regarding the desire to replace Israel with an Islamic state.
In this regard, Hamas deserves credit for being straightforward about its true intention. In statements marking the anniversary of the founding of Hamas, the movement’s leaders again demonstrated that they do not mince their words.
Ibrahim Yazouri, one of the founders of Hamas and its military wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, said in an interview with the Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Information Center:
“Hamas and its military wing are continuing with their policy until the liberation of Palestine. We are nearing the day of liberation. Within a few years, God willing, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, occupied Jerusalem and all of Palestine will be liberated. Hamas will continue to use all means to liberate Palestine. The big victory is nearing and we need to be more patient.”
When Hamas leaders talk about the “liberation of all of Palestine,” they are actually repeating their commitment to destroy Israel.
Moreover, when Hamas leaders talk about using “all means to liberate Palestine,” they are referring to various forms of terrorism, including suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israel. These are the only means Hamas believes in as a way of achieving its goal.
Hamas does not—and will never—recognize Israel’s right to exist. As the movement states in its charter, “the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf [Muslim religious trust] throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection. No one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it.”
The statements made this week by several Hamas leaders are identical to the content of their charter. These statements—32 years after the establishment of Hamas—reaffirm the movement’s extremist and dangerous ideology.
Osama al-Mazini, another senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said in a speech marking the movement’s anniversary: “Hamas promises to remain faithful to its people and principles.” He also called on Jews “to leave Palestine” and warned that Hamas has prepared thousands of suicide bombers to expel the Jews “from all of Palestine.”
Musa Abu Marzouk, deputy chairman of the Hamas “Political Bureau,” seized the occasion to describe Israel as a “Zionist project.” He emphasized the need for Palestinians to “resist the Zionist project in order to liberate Palestine, all of Palestine.”
Again, Abu Marzouk’s statements show that he, too, remains fully committed to the Hamas charter. “Hamas is one of the links in the chain of jihad to confront the Zionist invasion,” the charter states.
“Zionist organizations control vast material resources, which enable them to fulfill their mission amidst societies, with a view of implementing Zionist goals and sowing the concepts than can be of use to the enemy. Those organizations operate [in a situation] where Islam is absent and alienated from its people. Therefore, the Muslims must fulfill their duty in confronting the schemes of those saboteurs. When Islam will regain possession of [the means] to guide the life [of the Muslims], it will wipe out those [Zionist] organizations which are the enemy of humanity and Islam.”
The Hamas anniversary celebrations in the Gaza Strip, which attracted tens of thousands of Palestinians, coincided with efforts made by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations [UN] to reach a long-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. The anniversary also came amid increased talk about Hamas’s readiness to participate in new elections for the Palestinian Authority presidency and Palestinian parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council.
The large turnout at the pro-Hamas rallies in the Gaza Strip is indicative of the movement’s popularity among Palestinians. The tens of thousands of Palestinians who attended the Hamas rallies would seem to share the movement’s principles and ideology, particularly regarding the annihilation of Israel. They, too, apparently believe that force and terrorism are the only languages Israel understands. They, too, chanted in favor of the “liberation of all of Palestine” from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
Now that Hamas has again—clearly—reminded the world that it has not changed and continues to seek the destruction of Israel, the question is: Why are some world leaders, governments and organizations continuing to embrace the leaders of the movement?
During a week when Hamas is repeating its call for the elimination of Israel, why is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh? What message does such a meeting send to Palestinians and the rest of the Arabs and Muslims?
There is only one message that an encounter between Erdoğan and Haniyeh sends: Turkey endorses Hamas and supports its agenda and ideology. It is no wonder that the Hamas leader praised Turkey’s “support for the Palestinian people” after the meeting with Erdoğan.
A further question that ought to be asked in light of the recent venomous anti-Israel statements by Hamas leaders in the past few days: Why is the UN trying to convince Hamas to participate in Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections?
What is the point of pressuring Hamas to participate in the planned vote as long as Hamas remains committed to Israel’s destruction? Instead of urging Hamas to participate in the elections, it would be better if the UN called on Hamas to abandon its charter and stop calling for the destruction of Israel.
The international community already caused damage by allowing Hamas to run unconditionally in the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election. Calamitously, the international community failed to demand that Hamas renounce violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist and commit to all agreements signed between the Palestinians and Israel as a prerequisite for participating in that election, which resulted in a Hamas victory.
Then, Hamas leaders were clever. They ran in the election under the umbrella of the very same Oslo Accords that they refuse to recognize. Hamas, in other words, used the Oslo Accords which it rejects as a means to take control of the Palestinian parliament.
It now seems that the international community is about to repeat its disastrous decision to permit Hamas to participate in elections. It is really not that hard to understand Hamas’s true policies and positions—Hamas makes them crystal clear.
All that is needed is for Erdoğan and the rest of the world to listen to the statements of Hamas leaders in the past few days to understand that the movement is more determined than ever to achieve its goals of driving Jews “out of all of Palestine” and replacing Israel with an Islamic state. It has been listening for 32 years. What is it that they do not understand about “DEATH TO ISRAEL”?
Those who are embracing Hamas are only legitimizing its extremist ideology and facilitating its mission of destroying Israel, this time by rising to power through an election backed by the UN, EU and other international parties. It makes one wonder what their real motive is.
Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.
Photo Credit: Thephotostrand/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Pray that those who are seeking the destruction of Israel will be exposed for the enemies of God that they are. Pray that international support for Hamas and its extremist views and hatred of Israel will come to a swift end, forcing the organization to change its direction or face international isolation and condemnation.
Arise, O God, plead Your own cause; remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily. Do not forget the voice of Your enemies; the tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.
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