Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Every week, we post from 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.

Beginning of Open War? Iran Launches 20 Rockets at Israel

by Joshua Spurlock

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Israeli forces preparing for possible Iranian attack at Israel/Syria border

Thursday, 10 May 2018 | Iranian forces in Syria launched 20 rockets at Israel around midnight on Thursday in a dramatic escalation, less than 30 hours after the United States announced they were pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. In the attack—reported by the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Spokesperson in a series of posts on Twitter—a number of rockets were intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system. No injuries were reported by the attack, which targeted IDF posts on the Golan Heights in Israel’s north. The IDF Spokesperson later confirmed via Twitter that none of the rockets hit targets in Israel.

Israel’s response was the largest official series of strikes in Syria in decades. IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus tweeted that “dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria” were targeted and posted a map showing hits in more than 30 different locations across Syria. A sizable grouping of those targets were around the capital of Damascus.

“This Iranian aggression is another proof of the intentions behind the establishment of the Iranian regime in Syria and the threat it poses to Israel and regional stability,” said the IDF Spokesperson in a separate series of tweets, following up by stating that “the IDF will not allow the Iranian threat to establish itself in Syria. The Syrian regime will be held accountable for everything happening in its territory.”

The Times of Israel reported that the Iranian attack came from the south of Syria. The government-controlled Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said that Israel struck back by firing missiles at Syria, triggering Syrian air defenses. The SANA report claimed that Israel had also been behind a missile attack 24 hours earlier.

Israel had been expecting an escalation in the region. On Tuesday, Conricus tweeted that “the IDF has detected irregular Iranian activity in Syria and is preparing the civilian population on the Golan Heights accordingly, as well as defensive systems. Any aggression against Israel will be met with a severe response.”

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had been warning that Iran was threatening Israel. Just hours before the Iran attack, the Israeli leader told Russian President Vladimir Putin that “the Iranians declare their intention to attack us.”

In comments released by his office, Netanyahu said of Iran, “They are trying to transfer forces and deadly weapons there with the explicit goal of attacking the State of Israel as part of their strategy to destroy the State of Israel.”

The Iranian missile launches against Israel also came just over 24 hours after US President Donald Trump announced the Americans were leaving the Iran nuclear deal and reinstating sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Netanyahu said that Israel “fully supports” Trump’s decision to back out of the Iran nuclear deal. “Israel has opposed the nuclear deal from the start because we said that rather than blocking Iran’s path to a bomb, the deal actually paved Iran’s path to an entire arsenal of nuclear bombs, and this within a few years’ time,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office on Tuesday.

The Israeli leader further said that the lifting of sanctions on Iran due to the nuclear deal had “brought [war] closer” and led to an increase in Iranian aggression in the region, including in Syria, “where Iran is trying to establish military bases from which to attack Israel.”

Netanyahu also highlighted Iran’s development of missiles and said the overall Iranian threat is “why Israel thanks President Trump for his courageous leadership, his commitment to confront the terrorist regime in Tehran and his commitment to ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, not today, not in a decade, not ever.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 09 May 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/ILTV ISRAEL DAILY

Prayer Focus
Call upon the Lord on behalf of the civilians in Israel and southern Syria who are caught in the middle of Iran's hatred and aggression towards Israel. Beseech God to intervene in the escalating situation and remind Him of His promise to guard over Israel. Intercede for the IDF and their families during this trying time.

Scripture

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.


- Psalm 57:1

President Trump Announces US Is Withdrawing from Nuclear Deal with Iran

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

President Trump delivers remarks on Iran deal

Wednesday, 09 May 2018 | Continuing a process that he began last October when he said that he would no longer certify the 2015 nuclear deal—Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—with Iran, President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that the United States would withdraw from the deal.

In a short statement Trump laid out the flaws that he identified in the JCPOA including that it imposed “weak limits” on Iran’s nuclear program, and “no limits” on Iran’s other “malign activities.” He also noted that the deal, with its sunset clauses, would allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons as well as the “means of delivering them.”

Trump announced that he would sign a presidential memorandum to reinstate sanctions that were lifted as part of the deal. The Treasury Department released an info sheet which details how the US will reimpose nuclear-related sanctions after a 90-day and a 180-day wind-down period.

Trump also criticized the deal for allowing Iran to benefit from “many billions of dollars.”

The president said that a “constructive deal could have been struck” at the time but wasn’t, and that “at the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program.”

Referring to last week’s revelations by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran had pursued a nuclear weapons program for years, Trump said that he now has “definitive proof” that Iran was deceiving the world regarding its nuclear program.

In the years since the nuclear deal, Trump said, Iran’s military budget grew by 40% and its “bloody ambitions have grown even more brazen.”

The president criticized the deal for containing inspection provisions that were “inadequate,” and for failing to include an “unqualified right” to inspect sites including military sites. Iran has never allowed International Atomic Energy Inspectors (IAEA) onto military sites and has said that it will always refuse to do so. In the case of Parchin, IAEA inspectors monitored Iranian scientists taking samples remotely.

Since announcing in October that he would no longer certify the deal and, in January, that he would no longer waive sanctions unless the flaws in the deal were fixed, Trump said that the United States had “engaged allies” to find fixes for the deal.

Trump said that if he would do nothing, “we know exactly what will happen”—“the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.”

“As we exit the Iran deal, we will be working with our allies to find a real, comprehensive, and lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear threat,” Trump said. “This will include efforts to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program; to stop its terrorist activities worldwide; and to block its menacing activity across the Middle East. In the meantime, powerful sanctions will go into full effect. If the regime continues its nuclear aspirations, it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before.”

He said that the United States would impose the highest-level sanctions against Iran, and that any nation helping Iran develop nuclear weapons could be sanctioned.

Trump said that the United States “will not allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth and will no longer give into ‘nuclear blackmail.’”

Following his declaration, Trump struck a conciliatory tone addressing the people of Iran, saying that “The people of America stand with you.” He observed that it has been almost “40 years since this dictatorship seized power and took a proud nation hostage.” Trump added, “Most of Iran’s 80 million citizens have sadly never known an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world.”

The president said that he is open to negotiating with the Iranian regime but doubted that they would be interested. However, with the JCPOA no longer relevant, Trump looked toward the future saying that he was looking to “make a new and lasting deal that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people.” He added his hope that a future deal could bring “great things” to Iran and provide “the peace and stability that we all want in the Middle East.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 08 May 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/CNBC

Prayer Focus
Bring President Trump before the Lord and give thanks for his boldness to take a stand against Iran’s nuclear aggression. Praise God that he headed PM Netanyahu’s warnings and have chosen to support Israel despite international pressure. Pray for Godly wisdom as the US and its allies seek a lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear threat.

Scripture

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.


- Psalm 23:4-5

Israel Busts Hamas Money Smuggling Plot at University

by Joshua Spurlock

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Birzeit University

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 | Students are the future, but the Hamas terrorist organization believes they can be the present as well—and they are willing to invest a lot of money in raising students for nefarious purposes. Israel had other plans, however, uncovering the Gaza group’s efforts to smuggle roughly 150,000 Euros [US $178,854] to boost Hamas activity at the Birzeit University in Judea and Samaria.

The Israel Security Agency (ISA) noted in the press release on the bust that exposing the plan “further underscores the high importance Hamas command ascribes to student activities in its affiliated groups in order to recruit and train members in Judea and Samaria.”

And that’s recruiting for terrorism, not the typical student activities. As an example, the ISA highlighted a separate Hamas plot in 2017 to persuade students from Birzeit to commit suicide attacks. The ISA said the latest money smuggling scheme “also underscores the great danger involved in such activity and its status as a significant additional arm of Hamas, the goal of which is to harm the State of Israel, despite its taking place at an institution of higher learning.”

A cog in the money smuggling was Omar Kiswani, the chairman of the student council at Birzeit on behalf of a student group linked to Hamas, who had contacted Hamas in Gaza and Turkey to obtain funds. Kiswani and a co-conspiring student association member used the money to “promote Hamas activities,” said the ISA.

Kiswani was arrested by undercover Israeli Border Police officers at the university.

Turkey is once again involved in a Hamas plot. Recently Israel highlighted the extensive involvement of Turkish persons in supporting Hamas, going so far as to note that even Turkish government officials have at least turned a blind eye to the terrorism-assistance.

The recently uncovered plan also reemphasizes Hamas efforts to expand into Judea and Samaria—the heart of the State of Israel and also the home of Hamas’ Palestinian political rival, the Palestinian Authority led by the Fatah group.

The ISA said the investigation into the latest money smuggling scheme “points to the deep involvement of Hamas members in Turkey and the Gaza Strip in efforts to advance Hamas activities in Judea and Samaria.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 03 May 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Hanna Kreitem/Wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Intercede on behalf of the young generation who are recruited and drawn into a web of terror. Pray for the safety of Israelis living in Judea and Samaria. Ask God to guide the security forces and soldiers serving there to uncover each of Hamas’s evil plans to harm Israel.

Scripture

Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!


- Psalm 27:14

Iran-Backed Hezbollah Gains Tighter Control over Lebanon Through “Decisive” Election Victory

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist soldiers

Thursday, 10 May 2018 | Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist group that exerts political and military control over Lebanon has won a “decisive” electoral victory and emerged stronger as the result of the first parliamentary elections held in that country in nine years, Reuters reported Monday.

A coalition constituting Hezbollah and allied parties—including Amal, another Shiite party, and the Free Patriotic Movement, the country’s largest Christian party—is poised to capture a majority of the seats in Lebanon’s parliament according to preliminary results reported on Monday.

The Future Movement headed by Hezbollah opponent Sa’ad Hariri lost seats and now appears to have only 18 seats, a loss of 16.

In October 2016 parliament elected Michel Aoun of the Free Patriotic Movement, a Hezbollah ally, as president. Hezbollah kept Lebanese politics in limbo for two and a half [years] until it could get an ally elected as president. Once Aoun formed a government, it was able to pass a new election law.

The election was held under that law adopted last year, which was expected to give Hezbollah a majority in parliament.

The new government previously had expanded the number of cabinet positions to 30 and appointed Hezbollah and Syria supporters to 17 of them.

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that the results of the Lebanese election “strengthen what has been our approach for a while: Hezbollah=Lebanon.”

Bennett echoed the assessment of former foreign minister and Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni, who said in February 2017, “today, Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government and therefore, if we will be forced to fight, the next war will be against the state of Lebanon, which will bear the diplomatic responsibility for Hezbollah’s actions.”

Hezbollah’s emerging control over Lebanon is an extension of Iran’s plan to establish itself as regional hegemon, Hanin Ghaddar wrote in The Iranian Empire Is Almost Complete, which was published in the December 2016 issue of The Tower magazine.

“Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has been using a number of tools to achieve its foreign policy goal of spreading Shiite Islamic revolution and identity throughout Shiite communities in the Middle East in order to become the regional hegemon. The country’s nuclear program and its support of ‘resistance’ against Israel were the primary tools used to achieve this goal. The nuclear program was meant to force the international community to recognize Iran’s power and negotiate a deal that would give Iran a free hand in the region in return. And resistance was used to garner popular support and establish a threat to Israel that reflects Iranian power.

“From the very beginning, Iran’s goal has been the establishment of a Shiite Arab territory that physically links Iran to southern Lebanon via Iraq and Syria. This required Iranian control—mostly by proxy—over three capitals: Baghdad, Damascus, and Beirut.

“The Syrian civil war was not good news for Iran and its proxies in the region, but as it dragged on, it provided Iran with an opportunity to accelerate its control over the three capitals and secure the contiguous territory it needs. While the international community is consumed with fighting ISIS, Iran is almost done fortifying its greater Shiite territory.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 07 May 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces

Prayer Focus
Cry out to God over the stronghold of terror massing on Israel’s northern border. Pray against the threat of Hezbollah—an Iranian-backed terror group that has vowed to destroy Israel—stepping into an official position of ruling power in Lebanon.

Scripture

The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.


- Psalm 5:5-6

Guatemala Moves Embassy to Jerusalem Ahead of Its Inauguration Later This Month

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Guatemalan flag waving in Jerusalem ahead of the opening of the Guatemalan embassy in the Israeli capital later this month

Monday, 07 May 2018 | Guatemala opened its new embassy to Israel on Monday at the Malkha Technology Park, ahead of its official inauguration later this month, The Times of Israel reported.

The Latin American country raised its flag at the site of its new embassy on Tuesday. The official opening ceremony will take place two days after the US embassy is inaugurated in the city on May 14.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales is likely to attend the event.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the new Guatemalan mission to Jerusalem, saying he was “moved” to see the historic event. “Dear friends, welcome back to our eternal capital,” he said.

Netanyahu added: “I was moved to see the flag of Guatemala waving in Jerusalem in advance of the opening of the Guatemalan embassy later this month. Dear friends, welcome back to our eternal capital,” Netanyahu said.

Yuval Rotem, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote on Twitter: “Wonderful to see Guatemala’s flag flying proudly above the new Guatemalan embassy in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. Looking forward to seeing many more flags joining Guatemala’s in the city of peace.”

After announcing his country’s move to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem in March, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales told AIPAC conference: “I’m sure many more countries will follow suit shortly.” Netanyahu met with Morales during the event in Washington, D.C., where he thanked the Guatemalan president for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Guatemala was among the first countries in 1947 to cast its vote for the establishment of the State of Israel and, in 1959, Guatemala was the first country to open an embassy in Jerusalem.

The Czech Republic, Romania, Paraguay, and Honduras have all indicated that they are considering following the US’s example and relocate their embassies to Jerusalem. Paraguay has become the latest country to declare its intention to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 03 May 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Twitter/Benjamin Netanyahu@netanyahu

Prayer Focus
Pray for peace ahead of the US embassy opening its doors in Jerusalem next week. Ask God to bless the logistics, security arrangements and other administrative arrangements that accompany such an opening. Above all, praise Him for the nations that have chosen to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in this way. Thank Him for Guatemala’s boldness.

Scripture

But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.


- Exodus 23:22

PM Netanyahu Holds Fourth Trilateral Summit with Leaders of Cyprus, Greece

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The tripartite meeting in Cyprus between PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades 

Thursday, 10 May 2018 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Cyprus with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, marking the fourth trilateral summit the three have participated in during the past two and a half years, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

Among the topics the three leaders discussed was a public security agreement between Israel and Cyprus, a film cooperation agreement between Israel and Cyprus, a three-way agreement to fight maritime pollution, a memorandum of understanding to improve communication through cooperation in laying fiber-optic cable, and an extended agreement between Israel and Greece to lower the data roaming costs.

In addition to discussing a proposed gas pipeline under the Mediterranean Sea to Cyprus, Greece and then on to Western Europe, the three discussed broader economic issues as well as regional issues, including Syria, and Iran.

In the course of the summit Netanyahu warned that Iran is seeking to build naval bases in the Mediterranean Sea, which would be “a palpable threat against all of us.”

Earlier, in response to remarks by Tsipras, Netanyahu noted that Iran still sought Israel’s destruction, “You said, Mr. President, a minute ago, that it is unimaginable that anyone would challenge the right of the State of Israel to exist. In fact, there is a force that is doing precisely that, and that is the regime in Tehran. It openly calls daily for our destruction, the elimination of Israel from the face of the earth, and it practices unmitigated aggression against us and against anyone else in the region. It has a terror network that is spread throughout the world. It is now seeking to implant very dangerous weapons in Syria to be used against Israel for the specific purpose of our destruction.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 09 May 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Continue to pray for PM Netanyahu as he engages in diplomacy efforts across the globe. Thank God for the close ties of friendship between Israel, Cyprus and Greece. Ask Him to bestow His favor on the meetings between PM Netanyahu and his counterparts.

Scripture

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.


- Psalm 32:8

Palestinians: The Real Gaza Blockade

by Khaled Abu Toameh ~ Gatestone Institute

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip

Wednesday, 09 May 2018 | The weekly demonstrations along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, which are scheduled to enter their sixth week this Friday, will undoubtedly continue to attract the attention of the international community and media.

Meanwhile, no one will pay attention to what is happening on the Gaza Strip’s other border with Egypt, which has been closed for most of the past 10 years.

The demonstrations near the border with Israel are being organized by Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip as part of the “March of Return”—a six-week campaign of protests that is expected to reach its peak on “Nakba Day” (“The Day of Catastrophe”), the term used by Palestinians to describe the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

The Arab countries at the time opposed the creation of a homeland for the Jewish people and sent their armies to attack Israel, but lost—a result that should probably be taken into consideration before one attacks. Since then, the Palestinians and Arabs have been commemorating their loss by holding anti-Israel protests and voicing their refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

There are, of course, no demonstrations planned along Gaza’s border with Egypt to protest the continued closure of Gaza’s better-known border crossing, Rafah—its crossing to Egypt.

The Palestinians do not feel comfortable talking about Egypt’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. They prefer to turn a blind eye to the severe travel restrictions imposed by Egypt on the residents of Gaza and instead put all the blame on Israel. Currently, Hamas leaders cannot leave the Gaza Strip without Egypt’s permission. They are afraid to embarrass the Egyptians lest they be banned from leaving the Gaza Strip completely.

The organizers of the “March of Return,” including several Hamas leaders, have repeatedly made it clear in the past few weeks that the real goal of the campaign is to “achieve the right of return” for Palestinian refugees and their several generations of descendants to their former homes and villages inside Israel.

For the Palestinians, the “right of return” means that Israel should allow millions of Palestinians to move to Israel—a demand no Israeli government could ever accept as it would mean turning the Jews into a minority in their own state.

Thus, the “March of Return” is hardly about a “humanitarian crisis” in the Gaza Strip. Instead, it is a campaign designed to put the issue of the Palestinian refugees at center stage and let the world know that the Palestinians will not give up what they call their “right of return.”

The “March of Return,” as Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said a few days ago, marks the beginning of a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising, against Israel. As Haniyeh and other organizers of the campaign have clearly stated in recent weeks, the Palestinian protests are aimed at thwarting US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East. The Palestinians claim that the plan is primarily aimed at “liquidating” the Palestinian cause and national rights.

Some Palestinians have argued that the “March of Return” is also aimed at ending the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since Hamas’s violent takeover of the coastal enclave in the summer of 2007.

Despite the blockade, however, Israel has kept its border crossing with the Gaza Strip open, except for times when Hamas and other armed groups carry out terror attacks against Israelis. Even then, Israel closes the border crossings only for a few hours or days.

The civilian and commercial border crossings have also been open to some Palestinians and foreign nationals who enter and leave the Gaza Strip on an almost daily basis.

All eyes, then, are set on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel—but what about Gaza’s other border crossing, the one with Egypt?

The Rafah border crossing is the Gaza Strip’s single opening to Egypt and the rest of the Arab world. That border crossing is where the real suffering of the Palestinians has been taking place. It has been mostly closed for the past decade, further aggravating the misery of the two million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. The Egyptians often cite “security reasons” as the main cause for the closure. According to Egyptian security sources, in the past few years there have been increased signs of cooperation between Hamas and some jihadist terror groups in Sinai.

The Gaza Strip could be a livable environment if the Egyptians opened the Rafah terminal to allow the world to come and help the Palestinians living there.

Israel’s concern is that weapons could be smuggled into Gaza from the sea. This is the reason that Israel maintains a naval blockade along the Gaza Strip. In the past, Iran and Hezbollah have tried to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip along its seacoast.

Many of the problems in Gaza could be solved if the Egyptian authorities permitted Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip to pursue their studies or to seek medical treatment and work.

No one is asking the Egyptians to absorb the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip and turn them into Egyptian citizens. No one is asking the Egyptians to provide the Palestinians with work and humanitarian and medical aid. No one is asking the Egyptians to compromise their security by opening the Rafah terminal.

Most of the Palestinians anyway do not want to stay in Egypt. For them, the Rafah terminal is just a passage to other countries.

True, the Egyptians have their own security concerns, especially in light of the increased presence of various Islamist terror groups in Sinai. These security concerns, of course, are not unjustified: jihadist groups continue to wage a campaign of terror attacks against Egyptian soldiers and civilians in Sinai.

Egypt’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, however, began long before the emergence of the Islamist terror groups in Sinai.

Since 2009, the Egyptian authorities, with few exceptions, have kept the Rafah border crossing with Gaza closed. That year, the terminal was open for a total of only 35 days. 2014 was a bit better, with the terminal open for 125 days. In 2015, it was open for only 32 days, while in 2016, it was open for only 41 days. Last year, 2017, was the worst: the Egyptians opened the terminal for a total of just 29 days.

The Egyptian blockade on the Gaza Strip is not, however, motivated mainly by security considerations. The Egyptians simply do not want to be responsible for the plight of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Cairo sees the Palestinians as “troublemakers” and “ungrateful” people, and simply do not want to help them.

In this regard, the Egyptians are not different from most of the Arab countries. The Arabs have had bad experiences with the Palestinians.

In the early 1970s, Jordan drove the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] out of the kingdom in a bloody offensive known by the Palestinians as “Black September.”

Thousands of Palestinians were killed or injured when the Jordanian army launched a massive military operation to stop the PLO from creating a state-within-a-state in Jordan.

The Lebanese had a similar experience with the PLO when the organization was based in Beirut during the 1970s and early 1980s. There, too, the PLO tried to create a state-within-a-state and posed a serious threat to Lebanon’s sovereignty.

No Arab country wants to undergo the same experiences as Jordan and Lebanon. That is why most Arab countries impose strict travel restrictions on the Palestinians and even subject them to discriminatory and apartheid laws.

The Arab countries consider the Palestinians a major headache. The Arabs also consider the Palestinians “ungrateful,” especially after the PLO supported Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Kuwait was one of several Arab countries that used to give the Palestinians millions of dollars in financial aid. However, when Kuwait fell into the hands of Saddam, the Palestinians were the first to take to the streets to celebrate the invasion and voice support for the Iraqi dictator.

It would make sense if the Palestinians in Gaza were to stage demonstrations near the border with Egypt to demand an end to Egypt’s blockade of Gaza. There are good reasons, however, why Palestinians in the Gaza Strip do not do this. They know very well that any attempt to infiltrate the border with Egypt would be met with the full force of the Egyptian army.

It is one thing to endanger the life of an Israeli soldier by lobbing rocks or petrol bombs at him. It is a completely different thing however, when we are talking about attacking Egyptian soldiers. The Egyptians would raze the entire Gaza Strip and probably bring down the Hamas regime.

Repeated appeals by Palestinians to Egypt to open the Rafah border crossing to Gaza have fallen on deaf ears in Cairo.

Recently, the Islamic and National Forces, a group of Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, called on Egyptian President Abed Al-Fattah Sissi to open the border crossing to allow wounded Palestinians from Gaza to receive medical treatment in Egyptian and Arab hospitals. Again, ostensibly for “security reasons,” their appeal was completely ignored. Emad Al-Agha, a member of the Islamic and National Forces group, said there are intensive contacts with the Egyptian authorities to pressure Cairo to open the border crossing for “humanitarian” reasons.

Reports about the suffering of Palestinian travelers at the Gaza-Egyptian border crossing fill Palestinian media outlets, but these reports are almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media in the West. Western journalists are well aware of the Egyptian border closure, but as Israel is not involved, the reporters and their editors do not really care.

Thousands of Palestinians converge on the terminal between Gaza and Egypt whenever there is a rumor that it might be opened. Some wait there for days with their luggage and are forced to sleep out in the open. Some Palestinians are required to pay bribes to Hamas and Egyptian officials to obtain permits to leave the Gaza Strip through the terminal. A Facebook page entitled “The Rafah Border Crossing–Endless Suffering” shows dozens of examples of the humiliation the passengers experience there.

Like most Arab countries, Egypt cares nothing about the Palestinians, especially those living in the Gaza Strip. From the point of view of the Arab states, the Palestinians are Israel’s problem alone. Yet Egypt is sending Palestinians to knock on Israel’s door and blame Israel for the “humanitarian” crisis in the Gaza Strip, while it is really Egypt that is responsible for the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Arab and Egyptian hypocrisy achieves new heights as journalists from these “countries create a “fake news” echo chamber reporting on the “‘March of Return” and use it to condemn Israel for sealing its border with the Gaza Strip. When will the real blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian one, be called out and condemned in the mainstream media?

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.

Source: (Gatestone Institute originally published this article on 02 May 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Gigi Ibrahim/Wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Ask God to bring the hypocrisy to light and to open the eyes of those who are quick to blame Israel for the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza. Bring the so-called “Nakba Day” before Him and ask for His hand of protection over His people.

Scripture

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.


- James 3:17

70 Years of Defending Israel

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

IDF soldiers salute at a swearing-in military ceremony

Wednesday, 09 May 2018 | On May 1948, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officially began acting as Israel’s military organization, rather than the assortment of separate groups that had preceded it. Led by the first Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Yaakov Dori, the IDF took on the role of the official defender of the State of Israel and its citizens.

Since its founding, the IDF has fought in seven wars, sent humanitarian delegations to more than 25 countries around the world, began a large effort to help Syrians in need, and created revolutionary technology.

IDF Wars:

The War of Independence:

The IDF was established at a time when the entire country was at war for its very survival. The IDF drew its forces and weapons from the various Jewish paramilitary organizations that were active prior to the founding of the state, and began as a hastily cobbled together, ill-equipped army. By the end of the 1948 War of Independence, the IDF had defeated five invading Arab armies and became what it is today.

The Six Day War:

In 1967, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan, who signed a mutual defense agreement, were preparing to invade Israel. Following the closing of the Straits of Tiran, which was considered an act of war, the Israel Air Force carried out surprise airstrikes against Egypt’s airfields on June 5, which marked the beginning of the Six Day War.

The Yom Kippur War:

In 1973, a coalition of Arab states, led by Egypt and Syria, attacked Israel and sparked the Yom Kippur War. Thinking that the IDF would not be able to defend Israel on the holiest day of the Jewish year, the Arab states coordinated a surprise attack on Saturday, October 6, 1973, which was Yom Kippur. The war ended 18 days later, on October 24, 1973, when a ceasefire was declared. This was the third time the IDF had to defend the existence of the State of Israel since its founding less than 30 years prior.

The First Lebanon War:

On June 6, 1982 Israel launched the First Lebanon War after a terrorist cell attempted to assassinate the Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom. The objective of the war was to put communities in northern Israel out of reach of the terrorists in southern Lebanon by pushing the latter 24 miles north. The war lasted more than three months until Israeli forces reached Beirut. The end of the war was marked by prisoner exchanges.

The Second Lebanon War:

In the Second Lebanon War (July 12–August 14, 2006) the IDF fought against Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that is responsible for numerous terror attacks around the globe. The objectives of the war were to stop Hezbollah rocket fire towards communities in northern Israel and to release the two Israeli soldiers that Hezbollah had kidnapped on July 12, 2006. On August 14, 2006, the IDF stopped its offensive effort in Lebanon by order of the Israeli government, following the UN Security Council’s vote to enact Resolution 1701.

IDF Humanitarian Missions and Operation Good Neighbor:

Through the years the IDF has sent more than 25 humanitarian delegations around the globe to help with disaster relief. However, the IDF has not forgotten about Israel’s neighbors in need. In 2016, the IDF officially established Operation Good Neighbor, which aims at providing Syrians in need with medical care. While the IDF’s efforts began before Operation Good Neighbor was officially established, the amount of care and services provided have only grown since.

These missions, whether abroad or on Israel’s northern border, have provided thousands of people with the medical care and supplies that they needed. In addition to the professional medical staff, Israel’s humanitarian aid missions included professional search and rescue workers who were able to help find people and save lives.

The IDF and Technology:

They call Israel the “Start-up Nation” and in that spirit, the IDF has made major technological advancements that have improved the way the IDF defends the State of Israel and its citizens.

In 2017 alone, the IDF created VR [virtual reality] glasses that allow soldiers to learn about several different types of ammunition in a visual and accessible way, UAVs with night vision, new armored personnel carriers, digital programs that pack and fold parachutes, and new unmanned ground vehicles.

Source: (Israel Defense Forces originally published this article on 07 May 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the bravery of every soldier who has served to secure Israel as a homeland where the Jewish people can live in freedom and safety. Thank Him for the IDF’s continuous innovation and compassion to serve as a light to the nations.

Scripture

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.


- Psalm 30:11-12

Free Weekly Israel Prayer Update & News



Prayer Updates