Compassion

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Friday, October 25, 2019

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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.

Rivlin Tasks Gantz with Forming Government

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Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz with President Reuven Rivlin

Thursday, 24 October 2019 | President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday tasked Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz with trying to form a coalition government, two days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was unable to do so when his allotted 28 days came to an end.

This is the first time that someone other than Netanyahu has been asked to form the government for more than a decade.

President Rivlin said: “Now there is a need for a national unity government” adding that he hopes all sides make the necessary compromises to allow one to be formed.

Benny Gantz said he felt honored and humbled by the task at hand and intends to fulfill his promise to form a liberal unity government.

Gantz met earlier Wednesday with the three other senior members of his party—MKs (Members of Knesset/Parliament) Yair Lapid, Moshe Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi—to formulate the Blue and White policy ahead of his meeting with Rivlin.

Like Netanyahu, Gantz falls short of support from the 61 MKs needed to form a majority government. Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman has repeatedly called for a unity government between Likud and Blue and White, and with his party’s eight Knesset (Parliament) seats has become a de factor political kingmaker.

Netanyahu announced on Monday night that he was unable to form a government, blaming what he called Gantz’s intransigence in a video message posted on social media.

“I have informed President Rivlin that I’m giving the mandate back to him,” the prime minister said in his video message. “Ever since I received the mandate I have worked tirelessly, both openly and covertly, to form a broad coalition government. That’s what the people want, and that’s what Israel needs in face of the ever-growing security threats in the region.”

“I did my best to form a broad coalition government and avoid another round of elections, unfortunately, time after time, Gantz refused. First he refused the president’s outline for a (unity) government, then he refused to meet with me, then he refused to send his negotiating team, and finally, he refused the compromise I presented to him.”

Following Netanyahu’s announcement, the director-general of the president’s official residence, Harel Tubi, informed political party leaders that Rivlin was to give the mandate to Gantz, who like Netanyhau will have 28 days to form a coalition.

According to senior sources in the Likud, Netanyahu will now battle against the formation of a minority coalition by Gantz, which the Likud says is solely aimed at ousting Netanyahu.

“The nightmare scenario is the formation of a minority government whose purpose isn’t to properly govern, but to remove Netanyahu from the position of prime minster,” the Likud sources said.

Netanyahu intends to fight the formation of such a government with a whole political campaign—his intentions include fighting for the public’s opinion, and pressuring political players to be uncooperative with such a coalition. Additionally, Netanyahu intends to strengthen the unity among the right-wing bloc and to further cement his position in the Likud.

In response to Netanyahu’s claim that Gantz was unwilling to cooperate, Blue and White party said: “The time for spin is over, now it is time to act. Blue and White is determined to form a liberal unity government headed by Benny Gantz, just like the public voted for a month ago.”

Blue and White intends to meet with the heads of all the Knesset’s factions, including those in Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc.

The party is set to hold its first coalition meeting with Likud representatives in order to discuss the possibility of a unity government formed and initially headed by Gantz.

Meanwhile, Joint List party MK Ahmad Tibi said earlier Wednesday that his party has been in contact with Blue and White, adding that most of the Arab population is in favor of support for a government from the outside but that Netanyahu and Likud had “failed” at leading the country and had to go.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in Ynetnews on October 23, 2019. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ruptly/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Pray that God’s will be done within the Israeli government and that the hearts of politicians will be softened to set aside their personal agendas and put the needs of the nation first. Thank the Lord for the fact that no matter what happens, He is in control.

Scripture

And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.


- Daniel 2:21

Iran is Getting Stronger: What will Israel Do about It?

by Maj Gen. Eitan Ben Eliyahu (ret.)

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An Iranian military parade in Tehran

Tuesday, 22 October 2019 | There is regional turbulence in the Middle East, and a number of recent events are forcing Israel to recalculate its path as it navigates events.

The technological abilities of Iran and its various proxies has reached a level at which they can now alter the balance of power around the world.

On September 14, the Iranians carried out a focused strike on the main oil facilities in the very heart of Saudi Arabia, using “Aerial Robots,” a blend of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and cruise missiles.

The attack was a clear operational success from a number of angles:

  1. The Saudi Arabians discovered the attack too late to actually prevent it.
  2. The exact location of the base used to launch the missiles is unknown, but it is clear that based on the missiles’ range, it’s no more than a few hundred miles away from the target.
  3. There was an impressive coordination between the UAVs and the cruise missiles.
  4. Post-attack footage shows precise results, with every target hit at its center.

A country’s military strength is measured by the forces at its disposal and its ability to execute its intentions. Iran has now proven it is indeed capable of executing its intentions.

For four years Israel has been attacking inside Syria in order to prevent, or at least delay, the entrenchment of Iranian forces into the country, and barring a few inconsequential events, the Syrians and Iranians have refrained from addressing these attacks.

This time though, Iran is sending a message, after years of restraint, that an Israeli attack on Iranian forces in Syria could result in an attack similar to the one in Saudi Arabia.

Israel was shocked when it failed to recruit Washington for an attack on Iranian soil, with an alternative plan for an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) attack in Iran even without America’s help also declined by Washington.

Then, even with Iran’s constant provocation, [US President] Donald Trump kept insisting he would in no way use military force against them.

Iran and its president Hassan Rouhani got the message, and when President Trump announced he was willing to meet with the Iranian leader, and cracks began to appear in the American policy of sanctions, Rouhani refused.

Finally, the same shock that started with Israel’s failed attempt to get American assistance to target Iran’s nuclear facilities, ended with American forces pulling out of Syria, and leaving the Kurds to fend for themselves against Turkey.

And that is how Iran strengthened its deterrence, and soon, after the Kurds have been defeated, Iran will gain a straight territorial, military, and logistic line connecting it and its allies, Syria and the Lebanese-based Hezbollah.

In fact, all of Iran’s aspirations are being realized. It was able to hit and discourage its enemies in the Sunni states, it was able to weaken the American threat and drive Washington out of the Middle East, plus, Trump’s sanctions led to Iran resuming its uranium enrichment operations.

Israel is now faced with two alternatives.

The first is to continue with its current policy, while keeping in mind that the next attack in Syria might lead to a surgical strike by Iran. Israel would probably try to retaliate in a way that wouldn’t lead to widespread war, but there’s always a possibility of escalation.

An Israeli attempt to inflict a hard, lasting blow to Iran would probably be rejected by the rest of the world, and so, after a traumatic regional experience and a large number of casualties, it would end up in the same place as it started.

The second alternative is to alter the policy from its very foundations, and create a channel of communication with Iran, backed by firm military preparations.

The goals of the policy will be to re-establish coordination between Russia and Turkey in order to stabilize Syria and give the Kurds a country, and to renew negotiations between Iran and the west in order to formulate a new nuclear agreement, one that states that Iran would never arm itself with nuclear weapons.

There’s no way of telling how things will pan out, but it’s clear that as long as the governments of Israel, the US and Turkey remain in the hands of their current leaders, the first alternative will probably be favored.

Maj Gen. Eitan Ben Eliyahu (ret.) is a former Commander of the Israel Air Force

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on October 21, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Tasnim News Agency/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Lift up the nation and people of Israel in prayer before the Lord, asking for His hand of protection over them. Ask Him to open the eyes of other nations to recognize the evil intentions of the Islamic regime and pray that He will bestow the courage they need to stand alongside Israel against Iranian aggression.

Scripture

Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their hearts; they continually gather together for war. They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips.


- Psalm 140:1–3

Israel Discusses Syria Situation with US, Russia

by Joshua Spurlock

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PM Netanyahu’s meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday

Tuesday, 22 October 2019 | With Turkey invading Syria to battle the Kurdish minority—making an already volatile Syrian civil war even more complicated and dangerous—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the situation in Syria with both the United States and Russia in a span of four days. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned Netanyahu to congratulate him on reaching his 70th birthday, and during the call they also discussed “the situation in Syria and developments in the region,” according to a press release from Netanyahu’s office. The call comes one day before Putin was scheduled to talk with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to the Russian Presidency Twitter feed.

The discussions on Syria with Moscow follow a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem last Friday. According to a press release from the US State Department, Pompeo and Netanyahu discussed “regional security and the announcement of an immediate ceasefire in northeast Syria” between Turkey and Kurdish forces. CNN has since reported there have been numerous alleged ceasefire violations by both sides. Meanwhile, Syria wasn’t the only regional hotspot discussed by Pompeo and Netanyahu—Iran was another.

“We talked about all the efforts we’ve made to push back against the threat not only to Israel, but to the region and the world, from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Pompeo to Netanyahu per a separate State Department press release, “and we shared our ideas about how we can ensure Middle East stability together and how we would further our efforts to jointly combat all of the challenges that the world confronts here in the Middle East, and we appreciate all that you and your country does to assist America in keeping its people safe as well.”

For his part, Netanyahu acknowledged not only the crises in the region, but also the role the US–Israeli partnership has to play.

“We’ve had important discussions about strengthening our alliance, the region, the various challenges that we face together, and I want to thank you and the President for your consistent support for Israel,” said Netanyahu, per the State Department press release.

“The Middle East is a sea of troubles and turbulence, but if there’s one thing that stands out, it’s the durability, stability, and strength of the American-Israel alliance. We talked about making it even stronger. And I want to thank you for your consistent support.”

With Syria a powder keg of instability, Iran causing havoc and Islamic terrorists a constant threat, Israel is a key partner for the US.

“The remarkable close relationship between our two countries is as strong as it has ever been,” said Pompeo. “…We had a chance to talk this morning about all the challenges that the world faces and that Israel and the United States face head on together. As an important beacon of hope and democracy here in the Middle East, the American people value this relationship.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on October 21, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State/wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Ask the God of Israel who is relentless in His protection of His land and His people to extend His hand of protection over the Kurds. Pray a divine shield of protection around them as they fight for their lives. Pray that other peoples and nations will stand alongside the Kurds so that they do not have to fight alone, and ask the Almighty to thwart the plans of those who seek to wipe both the Kurds and the Israelis off the map.

Scripture

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.


- Psalm 121:1–4

Palestinian Who Converted to Judaism Arrested, Tortured by Palestinian Authority

by Yifat Erlich

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The city of Hebron, where the Palestinian who converted to Judiasm is currently being held

Thursday, 24 October 2019 | A Palestinian from the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) who converted to Judaism in Israel was inexplicably arrested by Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces over two weeks ago and has been held in custody ever since. He claims to have been tortured during that time on multiple occasions, which left his limbs badly burned.

The 50-year-old is a Hebron resident who worked at a supermarket in the Jerusalem area. He converted on the eve of Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) three weeks ago at a strict Haredi court in the city of Bnei Brak by Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, who passed away on Monday.

Prior to his conversion he studied at Machon Meir Yeshivah (religious school) in Jerusalem, an institution strongly associated with nationalist politics and the settler movement. He was in the process of having his conversion recognized by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel before he was arrested, which would have allowed him to apply for an Israeli passport.

On the eve of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the man traveled to an area of the West Bank under Palestinian security control, just beyond the section of the territory under Israeli security control. There, he was supposed to meet with one of his nine children, who along with their mother are all Muslim.

During the family reunion, a white Skoda vehicle carrying four men approached the 50-year-old. The men got out of the car, dragged the Palestinian into the vehicle and drove away. Later, the man was dropped off at a police station in Hebron by the four.

Haim Perg, the leader of the Jewish community in Hebron, is helping the Palestinian with his legal troubles and according to him, the 50-year-old is the grandson of a Palestinian man who helped save Jews during the 1929 Hebron massacre.

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s like my son, and I will shake up the world for somebody to come and save him,” Perg said. “The man’s grandfather rescued 26 Jews during the events in Hebron. Now that he is in danger, we have a commitment to help him.”

Perg added that he spoke by phone with the Palestinian who told him he was being badly beaten and had even had his hands and feet burned during the torture he’s had to endure.

Perg said he appealed to the Civil Administration for help but since the man is a resident of the PA, they cannot intervene in the affair.

Findings from various sources indicate the official reason for the arrest is a police complaint—filed by the brother of the man—according to which the 50-year-old assaulted his brother several months ago.

The Palestinian denies these allegations, claiming his brothers were the ones who mercilessly beat him and told him that he will not be entitled to the family’s inheritance following his conversion to Judaism.

“His brothers must distance themselves from him in order to show that they don’t support the conversion, otherwise they will also suffer greatly,” said attorney Michael Teplow who is associated with the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, a right-wing, pro-settler group, who specializes in assisting Palestinians who cooperate with Israel.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on October 22, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Marcin Monko/flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Lift up in prayer the Arab man whose only crime is turning to the God of Israel, asking for supernatural protection from the Lord he gave his life to. Ask the Lord to release this man from the hands of oppressors who are seeking to punish him for his faith and grant him safety in the Land He set aside for His people.

Scripture

Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.


- Psalm 91:9–12

International Judo Bans Iran for Refusing to Compete with Israeli

by Joshua Spurlock

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Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei, who was pressured by Iran into forfeiting his match against an Israeli in the 2019 World Championships.

Thursday, 24 October 2019 | Iran is down for the count in international judo, after a major judo competition body on Wednesday banned the country from competing due to their refusing to compete with an Israeli. The International Judo Federation (IJF), in a news report on their website, said in the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo in August, an Iranian judo competitor, or judoka, was instructed to withdraw from the competition rather than face off against Israeli Sagi Muki. The Iranian judoka, Saeid Mollaei later informed the IJF of the Iranian demand that he throw the match.

After reviewing the evidence—including testimony from another Farsi speaker who confirmed the instruction from the first Deputy Minister of Sport of Iran and the Iran National Olympic Committee’s President telling Mollaei not to compete with the Israeli—the IJF decided to uphold the ban on Iranian judo competitors. Per the news statement, the IJF said the ban would remain until the Iran Judo Federation “gives strong guarantees and prove that they will respect the IJF Statutes and accept that their athletes fight against Israeli athletes.”

One of the concerns, according to the IJF, is that throwing the match effectively served as “competition manipulation”. The IJF also cited principals such as “mutual understanding and a spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play”, as well as opposition to discrimination.

The decision by the IJF was to be passed along to the International Olympic Committee as well, although it was unclear from the IJF notice if the ban would also apply to the Olympic games as well. Haaretz separately reported that it was probable that Iran would not compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Discrimination against Israel in judo is sadly nothing new. Back in 2017, The Independent reported that Israel’s flag and anthem were banned and multiple losing competitors from Muslim nations refused the customary handshake with their Israeli counterparts in a tournament in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Israeli judo competitors were victorious there anyway.

On Wednesday, they won again—this time for the right to be treated equally.

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on October 22, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Fars News Agency/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the International Judo Federation’s willingness to stand up for what is right by refusing to tolerate Iran’s anti-Semitism. Ask God to use this incident as an example to all others who try to exclude the people of the Book simply because of who they are.

Scripture

“For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”


- Isaiah 61:8–9 (NIV)

First Winter Rains Soak Israel

by Attila Somfalvi, Alexandra Lukash and Amir Alon

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Storm clouds gathering along the central Mediterranean Coast of Israel (illustrative)

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 | Summer seems to be finally over in Israel, as temperatures are projected to go down over the coming week, accompanied by rain and thunderstorms across the country. Last night marked the start of the change, with local showers accompanied by thunderstorms.

Meteo-Tech forecaster Tzachi Waksman told Ynet that although the first showers of the new season have come and gone, a complicated rain pattern is ahead.

“Formation of rain clouds could already be seen [yesterday afternoon] around the country, mostly in the eastern parts of Israel. There is credible concern for flooding in the desert area of southern Israel,” he said.

“Rainstorms are predicted for most of Israel on Tuesday night. Not heavy rains, but there will be some thunder. We project an unusual forecast for Wednesday, with storm clouds forming along the coast line, bringing in storm winds and maybe even hail.”

He also warned that there was a strong possibility of heavy rainfall and flooding.

Nonetheless, he said, winter is still not here.

“We’re at the beginning of fall, therefore temperatures are still nice and warm during the day,” he said, adding that the rain should decline by Thursday.

“The rainfall might resume over the weekend and maybe even get colder in the days that follow,” he said.

Some rain accompanied by thunderstorms will fall throughout the day today, with temperatures expected to go down and the winds to become stronger.

Tomorrow will be partly cloudy during the morning and unusually cold for the season. There will be some rainfall along the coast, including thunderstorms and winds reaching 50 kph (31 mph).

Tomorrow afternoon the rain will spread towards the center and south of Israel, with a chance of flooding in the south and east.

Friday will remain unseasonably cool and there will be some rain along the coast and in the north, which will decline on Saturday.

Daylight savings time will end this weekend, with clocks going back an hour at 2am in the night between Saturday and Sunday.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on October 22, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Or Hiltch/flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for bringing rain to the Promised Land to preserve it and keep it from running dry, but pray against floods and that the God who controls the earth will protect His Land and His people from harm.

Scripture

Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth. He causes it to come, whether for correction, or for His land, or for mercy.


- Job 37:11–13

Why Hamas Supports Turkey’s War

by Khaled Abu Toameh~Gatestone Institute

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 | Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated terror group ruling the Gaza Strip since 2007, is the only Palestinian party that has come out in support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s war on the Kurds in Syria.

A statement issued by Hamas on October 14 said that the terror group “understands Turkey’s right to protect its border, defend itself and remove threats harmful to its national security against the tampering of the Zionist Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] in the region, as part of [Israel’s] effort to undermine Arab and Islamic national security.”

Hamas also praised Erdoğan for his “support for the Palestinian cause and the rights of the Palestinian people” and expressed opposition to “the Zionist and US presence in the region.”

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, voiced support for Turkey. “The Israeli media campaign against Turkey is rude and unacceptable. Israel will remain the enemy and Turkey will remain in the hearts of Muslims,” he wrote on Twitter.

Another Hamas leader, Izzar al-Risheq, said that his group is “confident that President Erdoğan has no ambitions in Syria and he only wants to preserve the security of his country.” The Muslims, he added, need to “end their conflicts so they would have the time to confront the big challenge imposed by the presence of the Zionist enemy.”

Hamas’s patrons in Qatar, the Gulf country that has long been serving as the Muslim Brotherhood’s most hospitable base of operations, have also defended Turkey’s war on the Kurds. According to Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, speaking at the Global Security Forum meeting in Doha:

“Weapons and training provided to Kurdish groups during the war against Daesh [The Islamic State] represent an imminent threat to the Turkish security… We can’t heap the blame on Turkey as Ankara wants to clear its territory and stand up against terrorism. Turkey can’t remain silent until terror hits its territory.”

Hamas’s support for Turkey in its war against the Kurds contradicts its own claim that it does not meddle in the internal affairs of Arab and Islamic countries. In the past few years, several Hamas officials have repeatedly denied charges that their group was meddling in the internal affairs of Egypt, Syria, Libya and Jordan.

The Hamas denials, however, are completely false.

Hamas maintained close ties with Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi after he was elected as President of Egypt. After he was removed from power, Morsi was formally charged with “collaboration” with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. In the past few years, the Egyptian authorities have accused Hamas of involvement in a series of terror attacks against Egyptians, including the 2015 assassination of Attorney General Hisham Barakat.

As far as Hamas is concerned, however, collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood president and involvement in terrorist attacks in Egypt was not intervention in the internal affairs of an Arab country.

The Syrians expelled Hamas leaders and closed their offices in Damascus shortly after the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011. The Syrian authorities said they made the decision after it became clear that Hamas was “supporting terrorists in Syria.” Hamas, in other words, was caught helping “terrorists” who were fighting against the regime of Bashar Assad. According to Hamas’s logic, working with anti-Assad terrorists is not considered intervention in the internal affairs of that Syria.

In the past two years, there has been growing evidence that Hamas has also been meddling in the internal affairs of Libya. According to various reports in the Arab media and statements by Libyan officials, Hamas has been providing military aid to some terrorist groups in Libya. Some Libyan officials have also blamed Qatar for financing terrorist groups belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Earlier this year, the Libyans announced that they arrested 13 men on suspicion of spying for Hamas.

Jordan is another Arab country that has suffered from Hamas’s intervention in the kingdom’s internal affairs and Hamas’s threats to its national security. In 1999, the Jordanian authorities expelled five Hamas leaders. A few years later, the Jordanians arrested a Hamas cell that was involved in smuggling weapons from Iran into the kingdom. Earlier this month, the Jordanian authorities reportedly arrested two Muslim Brotherhood activists on suspicion that they were linked to Hamas.

Because of its constant meddling in the internal affairs of various countries, Hamas has damaged its relations with most of the Arab and Islamic countries. Recently, reports suggested that the Turkish authorities are revising their relations with Hamas. According to the reports, the Turkish authorities are unhappy with the presence of Hamas operatives in their country, particularly because they are using Turkey as a base for planning terrorist attacks and money laundering. The Turks are also reported to be angry with Hamas because of its close ties with Iran and Hezbollah, and Hamas’s attempts to mend fences with the Assad regime in Syria.

Hamas’s support for Erdoğan’s war on the Kurds seems to be in the context of its attempt to persuade the Turkish authorities to allow its members to continue using Turkey as a base for masterminding terrorist attacks against Israel.

It is ironic that Hamas, which has launched thousands of rockets at Israel and carried out many terrorist attacks against Israelis, is now saying that it “understands Turkey’s right to protect its border.”

This is the same Hamas that has been condemning Israel for defending its border against terrorist infiltrations from the Gaza Strip. Since March 2018, Hamas has been encouraging Palestinians to demonstrate near the border with Israel, where they have been attacking Israeli soldiers with rocks, firebombs and explosive devices. If, according to Hamas, Turkey has the right to protect its border, why does Israel not have the same right?

There is another reason why Hamas is courting Erdoğan. As Hamas said in its statement, it is opposed to the “US and Israeli presence in the region.” Hamas seems to be happy that the US abandoned the Kurds and left northern Syria. Hamas does not want the US to play any political or military role in the region because of Washington’s “bias” in favor of Israel.

For Hamas, Erdoğan is a hero because he succeeded in persuading the Americans to withdraw from Syria. Hamas and its Muslim Brotherhood allies are hoping that the departure of the US will pave the way for them to spread their influence to Syria.

When Hamas talks about the “Zionist Mossad tampering in the region,” it is seeking to depict the Kurds as Israeli agents and collaborators. The message Hamas is sending to Arabs and Muslims: These Kurds are traitors working for Israel and the US, and that’s why they deserve to be slaughtered. Erdoğan has therefore become Hamas’s hero because he’s waging war on Israeli and US “agents.”

Hamas’s support for Turkey reflects its “extreme political and Machiavellian opportunism,” said Palestinian columnist Rami Abdallah. “Hamas has mastered all the arts of politics and its tricks.”

It now remains to be seen how Erdoğan will reward Hamas for supporting his war on the Kurds. Hamas, meanwhile, is holding its breath, hoping that Turkey will embrace the group and facilitate its fight against Israel.

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 October 22, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Randam/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Ask the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to frustrate the plans of those who have declared themselves enemies of His people, who seek to destroy His people. Beseech the Lord to confuse their plans and thwart them at every turn in order to render their schemes powerless.

Scripture

When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.


- Deuteronomy 20:1

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