Follow on Twitter @joelcrosenberg

GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #17: Is ceasefire at hand, or close? Rocket fire dropping, but terrorist tunnels remain serious threat. Here’s the latest….

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm

As I write this, the Israeli security cabinet is meeting to consider a seven-day ceasefire proposal by Secretary Kerry, even as Palestinians are rioting in the West Bank and Hamas is calling for a “third intifada.”

The big question Israeli leaders are wrestling with is this: Has the IDF destroyed enough of the terrorists’ rockets, missiles, launchers, tunnels, weapons stockpiles and command and control centers to justify stopping now, or do they need more time to accomplish the nation’s objectives of establishing several years or true calm and stability?

  • The good news: Israeli defensive measures have kept civilian deaths in Israel low (2 so far), and rocket fire has dropped from 190+ a day near the beginning of the conflict to 63 yesterday.
  • The bad news: the terrorist tunnel network is more extensive and dangerous than Israeli intelligence realized.
  • The challenge: Iron Dome is working extremely well at neutralizing the rocket threat, but there is no Iron Dome to protect Israel from terrorist tunnels.

Israel is coming under increasing pressure by the world community — and particularly by the Obama administration — to end the fighting quickly. Actually, it’s been Hamas that has turned down multiple ceasefire proposals. But their terrorist forces are getting hammered by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) so they may be ready to quit soon, lest they are completely dismantled by Israel. That said, Israeli leaders don’t want a ceasefire that will simply give Hamas and Islamic Jihad more time to prepare for the next war.

I will do my best to keep you posted via Twitter throughout the day and weekend on the latest diplomatic developments.

 

Please keep praying for calm, for the IDF to decisively neutralize the rocket and tunnel threats, and for the Lord to protect and comfort civilians on both sides.
Also, I still believe Israeli leaders should call the nation to prayer, fasting and the reading of the Bible, as all the wise kings of Israel and Judah did in ancient times. I wrote about this earlier in the week, and discussed the rationale on Fox News. Click here to learn more, including several Biblical examples, such as Kings Solomon and Jehoshaphat calling the nation to prayer and fasting in times of crisis and war.

Here’s the latest on the war, by the numbers:

LATEST ON THE ROCKETS

  • Day #3 of GazaWar — 192 rockets fired at Israel.
  • Day #13 — 139 fired.
  • Day #14 — 90 fired.
  • Day #15 – 98 fired.
  • Day #16 – 63 fired.

Is the tide turning?

LATEST ON THE CEASE FIRE DISCUSSIONS

UNDERSTANDING THE TUNNEL THREAT

——————–

Prime Minister Netanyahu, call the nation of Israel to prayer & fasting during this Gaza war. (video & transcript of Fox News interview)

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Bible-Hebrewmanuscript(Washington, D.C.) — It is time for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call his nation to a special time of prayer, fasting and reading the Bible.

This is what all the wise kings of Israel and Judah did in ancient times when facing war and serious threats, and it is time to do so again.

This was the message I shared on the Fox News Channel today as I was interviewed by anchor Shannon Bream.

You can watch the interview by clicking here (it begins 1:50 minutes into the clip). You can also read a transcript of the interview below.

First, here are just two Bible passages that describe great and wise kings of Israel and Judah calling the people to turn to the God of Israel in prayer during times of war and conflict:

* King Solomon called the nation of Israel together to pray for God’s help and mercy in time of war — “Now Solomon had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. He said, ‘O Lord, the God of Israel, there is no god like You in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart; who has kept with Your servant David, my father, that which You have promised him; indeed You have spoken with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day….When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way You shall send them, and they pray to You toward this city which You have chosen and the house which I have built for Your name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.” (see 2 Chronicles chapter 6)

* King Jehoshaphat called the nation of Judah together to pray for God’s help and mercy in time of war — “Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of Aram and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi).’ Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the Lord. Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord before the new court, and he said, ‘O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You. Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? They have lived in it, and have built You a sanctuary there for Your name, saying, Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You (for Your name is in this house) and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us.” Now behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom You did not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt (they turned aside from them and did not destroy them), see how they are rewarding us by coming to drive us out from Your possession which You have given us as an inheritance. O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.’ All Judah was standing before the Lord, with their infants, their wives and their children.” (see 2 Chronicles 20)

EXCERPTS FROM INTERVIEW ON FOX NEWS CHANNEL:

FOX NEWS ANCHOR SHANNON BREAM: Joining us now, New York Times best-selling author Joel Rosenberg. He’s written numerous fiction and non-fiction books, including Israel At War. Among many other things, Joel, you also run a charity in Israel. You served as a consultant to the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. So you have a unique perspective into what’s going on there, and I know that you’ve been very focused on the impact on both sides of this incursion, and how people are being affected there in the area.

ROSENBERG: Absolutely. I did have the privilege of working for Prime Minister Netanyahu back in 2000 — don’t work for him now, therefore, of course, don’t speak for him now in any way. But, yes, I don’t envy the job he has ahead of him right now. As an evangelical Christian, my heart is going out grieving both for the Palestinians who have been lost, and the Israelis. But there is no question that the Israelis are fighting — not the Palestinians — they are fighting Hamas, they are fighting Islamic Jihad. The terrorists have fired more than 1,700 rockets at Israeli civilians. Israel accepted a cease fire from Egypt. Hamas would not. So I think the moral justification is on the Israeli side.

BREAM: Secretary Kerry is heading to that region, he says, within days, trying to work on a cease fire, and a longer term peace deal. Is that possible, in your estimation, knowing all sides here. Is there a temporary lull? Is there any hope for longer term peace?

ROSENBERG: Well, I was in Israel in November 2012, working with The Joshua Fund, providing food and medical supplies and all to Israelis and Palestinians during the last conflict. Israel massed forces on the border with Gaza and then didn’t go in because Hamas stood down. This is obviously not the situation this time. One thing I would encourage the Prime Minister of Israel to do is actually call the nation to prayer & fasting. He is taking all the other right moves — mobilizing forces, calling the nation to patience, grieving with the families that have lost. But like King Solomon, like King Jehoshaphat, Josiah, and Nehemiah, it’s time to call the nation to prayer and fasting so that Israel can win this war against terror, and have peace and calm in the region, at least for a season. And I think all of the great kings and leaders of Israel have done it. It would be time for the Prime Minister to do it, as well.

BREAM: How do you respond to those who say it is religion that has caused these problems, the fact that these two sides will never, potentially, resolve, because there are such deep divisions along religious lines?

ROSENBERG: Well, I think that Radical Islam has certainly caused this. Again, separate this from the Palestinian people at large — who may not love Israel, who may wish they could have all of the territory – but it’s Hamas and the terrorist leaders of Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades that are firing rockets and missiles. It’s really the Palestinian leadership — in terms of the terrorist leadership — that is crushing the hopes and dreams and fortunes of the people in Gaza. Look, they live on the Mediterranean coast. They have natural gas. They were given their freedom from Israel in 2005. There’s no reason not to be able to build a functioning, calm, prosperous society. But you can’t have terrorists leading you. And I think it’s going to take the Israelis turning to the Lord and asking for peace, as well as the military force.

BREAM: And we know it’s always important to make that distinction between the Palestinian people and Hamas. We thank you for your insights today. I know you’re traveling to the area, so we’ll pray safety for you.

ROSENBERG: Thank you. I appreciate it.

——————–

GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #13: Netanyahu addresses nation. Hamas defies humanitarin truce it asked for. Growing signals of a much longer, more intense IDF operation in Gaza.

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2014 at 4:20 pm

UPDATED AT 2:30pm EASTERN, SUNDAY: (Washington, D.C.) — As Hamas broke a humanitarian true it asked for by firing many more rockets at Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the nation of Israel on Sunday evening (8pm local time). He also was interviewed on several U.S. news programs.

* Hamas defies humanitarian true, fires rockets at South (Ynet News)

* Netanyahu: The heart of the nation is with the families of our fallen soldiers — PM addresses the country as IDF death toll in Gaza operation rises to 18 soldiers; premier urges nation to stand together, says operation will extend as long as necessary to assure peace and quiet for Israel. (Jerusalem Post)

* Netanyahu to Gazans: ‘Hamas wants you to die, don’t die for Hamas’ — PM speaks on CNN and BBC outlining operation’s goals of destroying terror tunnels, says Israel will work with international community to demilitarize the Gaza Strip. (Jerusalem Post)

* Netanyahu calls for “sustainable quiet” (Politico)

ORIGINAL POST: At the moment on Day #13, what I’m hearing from friends in Israel as well as seeing in news coverage is much fiercer fighting, rising casualties on both sides, and a growing sense that Israel is preparing for a much deeper, much longer invasion of Gaza.

Why? To fully identify and destroy the terrorist tunnels under Israel and Gaza, to fully destroy the terrorists’ stockpile of rockets and rocket launchers, to smash Hamas command and control, to arrest or kill terror leaders and operatives, and truly secure the Gaza Strip so as to bring calm and quiet to Israel.

This will likely take weeks to accomplish, at minimum. But it could take months.

No final decision on such a prolonged operation has been publicly communicated as of yet, but signals are coming from top Israeli officials, including dovish Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and hardline Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz.

“Israel’s justice minister said she did not rule out Israel bringing down Hamas if that was what it took to restore security and calm for the people of Israel,” reports the Times of Israel. “Tzipi Livni, the Hatnua party head who is the the most dovish member of Israel’s inner cabinet, was asked in a Channel 2 interview Friday night to confirm that the goal of Israel’s current ground offensive in Gaza is not to destroy Hamas. ‘I’m not taking anything off the table,” she replied. “I’m not going to tell them [Hamas] what the limits [of the operation] are. Among other things, it’s up to them.’ She said Hamas, in rejecting Egyptian ceasefire efforts, and attempting to murder Israeli civilians via ongoing rocket fire and a foiled under-border tunnel infiltration near a kibbutz on Thursday morning, had shown that it ‘lives in a completely different opera.’”

“There is a significant likelihood that the current ground operation will end with Israel retaking full control over Gaza,” Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Saturday, after the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet unanimously approved an expansion of the IDF ground invasion, reports Israel Hayom.

Excerpts from the article:

  • Steinitz, who took part in the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet meeting, explained that the decision was based on the assessment that Hamas was not ready for a cease-fire.
  • The cabinet decided to operate to root out the terror tunnels that dot the Strip.
  • The understanding is that the tunnels pose no less of a threat to Israel than the incessant rocket fire coming out of Gaza….
  • Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Saturday that “anyone who tries to disrupt our lives will bring their own demise on themselves. Anyone who engages in terrorism against the state of Israel, we will strike them hard and make them regret their actions.”….
  • Ya’alon toured the frontlines on Friday, and told IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami ‎Turgeman that he was “very impressed with the [IDF's] conduct, professionalism, thoroughness, control and the organized work flow both in the defensive and offensive operations.”
  • Also Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu briefed the heads of the opposition parties, excluding the Arab parties. On Saturday, Netanyahu spent most of the day in the Kirya Defense Ministry headquarters consulting with security officials. On Friday, Netanyahu and his staff said a prayer for the safety of the soldiers in Gaza.

Please keep praying for calm to be restored sooner rather than later, and for the Lord to comfort the wounded and grieving on both sides, Palestinians and Israelis. Please pray, too, for the IDF soldiers to be able to successfully neutralize the terrorists without any more civilian casualties.

LATEST HEADLINES:

Saturday summary — Day #12:

  • More than 111 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel.
  • At least 88 rockets hit Israel.
  • 18 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
  • The IDF struck 140 terror targets in the Gaza Strip.
  • 13 terror tunnels were uncovered by IDF forces.

——————–

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38,319 other followers