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DISPATCH FROM ISRAEL: WORLD PRESSURE MOUNTING ON ISRAEL TO STOP WAR AGAINST HAMAS

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2009 at 4:30 am
Secretary of State Condi Rice says the U.S. supports the Mubarak-Sarzoky cease fire plan

Secretary of State Condi Rice says the U.S. supports the Mubarak-Sarzoky cease fire plan

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are pushing hard for an immediate ceasefire before Hamas is crushed

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are pushing hard for an immediate ceasefire before Hamas is crushed

(SOUTHERN ISRAEL, Wednesday, January 7, 2009) — Forgive me for not writing for the past few days. I flew to Israel on Sunday and arrived Monday morning, joining several colleagues in southern Israel to assess the situation and help direct The Joshua Fund’s relief efforts. It’s been an intense 48 hours, and it’s currently 5:54am Wednesday morning Israel time. Allow me, therefore, to make a few brief observations, and I will write more later.

  • First and foremost, the situation is very intense here. Hamas has fired more than 500 rockets at innocent Israeli civilians over the past ten days or so. They are coming in at 40 to 50 rockets a day. More than 500,000 Israelis live within range of these instruments of terror, and many are traumatized by the fear of injury and death, not only for them but for their children as well.
  • Six Israeli soldiers have died in the fighting so far. Israelis throughout the country are mourning their loss, name by name, family by family. That said, Israelis are also overwhelmingly relieved that their government is finally taking strong action against Hamas after some 2 1/2 years of doing virtually nothing.
  • Some 1.5 million Palestinians who live on the Gaza Strip are being held hostage by Hamas. Hundreds are dead and thousands have been injured because of Hamas’ evil reign of terror that finally provoked an Israeli response. The latest example came Tuesday when Hamas fighters fired mortars at Israeli forces from a U.N. school. This forced Israel to bomb the school to suppress the attacks. In the end, some 42 Palestinians — including the terrorists — died, and more than 50 were injured.
  • Where is the world outrage against Hamas? The Palestinian people desperately want and need to be liberated from Hamas, and would privately welcome Israeli success against the terror leaders.
  • Rather than mounting pressure on Hamas to stop the rockets, international pressure is steadily and aggressively mounting on the Israeli government to agree to a temporary ceasefire before the Hamas leadership and terror infrastructure in Gaza are crushed. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and French President Nicolas Sarkozy met in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday, teaming up to push for a ceasefire resolution they hope will end the fighting immediately. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice immediately said the U.S. supports the Mubarak-Sarkozy plan.
  • Hamas is increasingly desperate for a ceasefire. Its top leaders are being killed. Scores of its best trained fighters are being killed. Its arms depots and government buildings are being bombed to smithereens. So are its vital smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian border. Reports the Jerusalem Post: Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip said on Monday that the general feeling was that Hamas does not exist any longer as a governing body. ‘All their government institutions have been destroyed,’ said a Gaza City reporter. ‘The Hamas leaders are now behaving like al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden and [his deputy] Ayman Zawahiri. Their only public appearances are through recorded messages aired on Arab TV stations.'”
  • Preciously for this reason, now is no time to let up on Hamas. Israel should absolutely refuse to agree to the Mubarak-Sarkozy plan. As currently drafted, the agreement does not even suggest — much less mandate — the creation of an international force to prevent Hamas from re-arming. Even if it did, why should Israelis believe such an international force would be effective? The U.N. force in southern Lebanon is doing absolutely nothing to prevent Hezbollah from re-arming. To the contrary, it is now believed that Hezbollah has more than 30,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel, far more than ever before.
  • The Israeli public has been duped by such international nonsense before, and thankfully they want no part of it. A new poll here by Channel 2 news finds that 81% of Israelis believe their government has done the right thing by sending ground forces into Gaza to stop the rockets and crush Hamas, and a stunning 60% of Israelis oppose talking to Hamas to obtain a cease-fire.
  • That’s certainly the sense I have after talking to Israelis here — they want victory and they define victory as the destruction of the Hamas military and political leadership and the liberation of southern Israel from the constant threat of Hamas rocket, missile and mortar fire. Anything less than the accomplishment of these goals, they tell me, would make the situation worse because it would effectively be a victory for Hamas a defeat for Israel. Israelis don’t want to see a single soldier of theirs die, but they believe now is the time to intensify the attack on Hamas, not let up.
  • Regardless of how the public feels, however, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his government may very well accept a temporary and premature ceasefire. They accepted a premature ceasefire in Lebanon in 2006, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak signalled from the earliest hours of this conflict he wanted a quick ceasefire. The next few days will be critical to see what kind of resolve the Olmert government has this time around.
  • In the meantime, I can report that The Joshua Fund continues working with Jewish and Christian allies on the ground here to care for Israelis caught in the crossfire. Two days ago, we were able to help evacuate a bus filled with more than 40 Israelis from the southern border town of Sderot. We have moved them out of the war zone, up to a more secure location in the North of Israel, and are paying for their lodging and meals while they are there. We are working around the clock on the logistics to move more Israeli families out of harm’s way. We are also helping several organizations prepare to deliver more food and relief supplies to elderly Israeli shut-ins in Sderot. I will have more to report on these efforts soon. If you would like to make an secure, on-line emergency contribution to The Joshua Fund to help us help care for Israelis in the war zone, please click here.
  • We are also actively seeking ways to provide humanitarian aid first to followers of Jesus Christ in Gaza, and then through the Christians to Muslim Palestinians living in fear and terror of the Hamas-triggered war. Thus far, however, it is not yet clear how to help. We are in direct contact with key Arab Christian leaders. But there are reports that Hamas fighters are stealing aid that non-Christian relief agencies have sent in. And the violence is so intense right now it is not safe for aid workers to take in new relief supplies.

URGENT PRAYER REQUESTS:

  • First and foremost: Please keep praying for real and lasting safety and security for Israelis and Palestinians on both sides of the border, and peace for Jerusalem and all of the epicenter, that the war will not spread to the North and East. (Psalm 122:6)
  • Also, please pray for true justice to be done. Let’s ask the Lord to save the souls of all the Hamas leaders and fighters, just as He has saved the soul of the son of the Hamas leader. But at the same time, please be praying for the success of the Israeli Defense Forces to have success in crushing the Hamas terror infrastructure and liberating the Palestinian people. This is not the openly declared goal of the IDF, but this is my prayer. Remember: Hamas fighters have slaughtered Christians in Gaza. They blew up the Palestinian Bible Society book store in Gaza. They throw their enemies off of high rise apartment buildings. They steal money and relief supplies that are supposed to help suffering widows and orphans. They are cruel, evil people. Pray that the Israeli forces truly turn to the Lord God of Israel and seek His power, His strength, and His victory. “Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight with me….Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.” (Psalm 34:1,4)
  • Please pray that not a single innocent Israeli or Palestinian civilian is killed from this point forward. “The Lord…is patient toward you,” wrote the Apostle Peter, “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
  • Please pray for those who have been wounded on both sides, and for the family and friends of those who have been killed on both sides of the conflict. Pray that the Lord would bring them supernatural comfort and healing. Pray that they will turn to the God who said through the Prophet Isaiah, “the Lord has annointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bink up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners…to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion…the oil of gladness instead of mourning.” (Isaiah 61-3)
  • Please keep praying for real and lasting safety and security for Israelis and Palestinians on both sides of the border.
  • Please be praying for the success of the Israeli Defense Forces to have success in crushing Hamas and liberating the Palestinian people. This is not the openly declared goal of the IDF, but this is my prayer.
  • Please  pray that not a single innocent Israeli or Palestinian civilian is killed from this point forward.
  • Please pray for the Israeli and Palestinian pastors and their congregations to have wisdom to know best how to love their neighbors and love their enemies, as Jesus Christ commands — and pray that they can help those who are suffering on both sides discover God’s true and transformative love and plan for their lives.
  • Please pray for wisdom for The Joshua Fund leadership as we seek to care for Israeli families suffering in the war zone. Pray, too, that we can find ways to care for Palestinians, as our heart goes out to both sides.
  • Finally, please pray that we can recruit 100,000 partners ready, willing and able to pray with us for the people of the epicenter. Already, more than 80,000 people from around the world have signed up for Flash Traffic emails with geopolitical updates and prayer requests. I would really like to see us reach our goal of 100,000 such prayer partners by the end of January. If you would like to sign up for these free Flash Traffic email updates, please click here.
  • Thanks so much for your faithful prayers and generous financial support. I am hearing from many Israelis here who are so grateful for the unconditional love and unwavering support of true followers of Jesus from the U.S., Canada and all over the world via The Joshua Fund. May the Lord greatly bless you and your family for blessing Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.
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