(Netanya, Israel) — Night is falling here in the Holy Land. I was just emailing with a former U.S. presidential candidate about the latest developments here in Israel, and I thought I’d share the same information with you.
Short version: it’s been a challenging week.
Here are 8 developments you need to know about.
- Syria and Israel have fired at each other multiple times for the first time since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
- More than 160 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israeli towns in the southern tier by Iranian-backed Palestinian terrorists in Gaza since last Saturday, and more than 40 Israelis have been wounded.
- Under pressure from Egypt, Hamas is being told to stop firing rockets — and in the last 24 hours or so the rocket fire has slowed significantly. That said, four rockets were fired at southern Israel today (Wednesday), apparently by terrorists operating in the Sinai Peninsula.
- BREAKING NEWS: On Wednesday afternoon, news broke that a top Hamas military commander was just killed in an IAF air strike. Now Israelis in the south are awaiting a possible new barrage of rockets from Gaza in retaliation. Still, Israeli officials believe they need to reestablish a deterrence factor by assassinating top Hamas leaders and thus raising the cost of rocket attacks. The IDF is preparing for the possibility of a major ground operation into Gaza, though it’s not yet clear Netanyahu and his Security Cabinet will feel that is necessary or wise. [UPDATE: "Shortly afterwards, the IDF struck over 20 underground rocket launchers belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in an airstrike," reported the Jerusalem Post.]
- Meanwhile, the Palestinian leadership which has lost control of Gaza is moving towards unilaterally declaring a state. It is seeking a U.N. General Assembly vote recognizing the state. At this point, the U.N. vote is set for November 29th, which is the anniversary of the U.N. Partition Plan vote in 1947. Such a unilateral step would be in violation of the Oslo Accords signed by the PLO and Israel which disallows unilateral actions such as this. [UPDATE: "Palestinians, supported by foreign activists, were demonstrating in dozens of places across the West Bank on Wednesday ahead of the 24th anniversary of their declaration of independence on November 15," reports the Times of Israel. "Hundreds of protesters took part in the disruptions, during which Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli cars and tried to block roads, leading to clashes with Israeli security forces, who dispersed the protesters using tear gas. Several demonstrators were detained....Two Israelis were lightly injured north of the settlement of Efrat after protesters pelted their vehicle with rocks. Demonstrators also threw rocks at Israeli vehicles near the West Bank settlement of Tekoa and tried to block a road south of Hebron....The US consulate cancelled all non-official travel by US government employees to and through the West Bank on Routes 1, 90, and 443, as well as travel to Jericho and Bethlehem, due to the ongoing demonstrations."]
- The Obama administration is pressuring Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas not to take unilateral steps, including with a personal phone call by President Obama to Abbas.
- Some media reports here say the Israelis are threatening to topple Abbas if he takes such unilateral actions in defiance of signed agreements.
- If this all weren’t enough challenges, a new IAEA report due out this week will indicate that Iran is steadily moving its nuclear program into deep underground facilities and that there are now 2,700 centrifuges to enrich uranium located in the Fordow facility, close to the religious city of Qom.
As I note in my recently released e-book, Israel At War: “The corridor between Tel Aviv and Tehran is the most dangerous corridor on the planet. And make no mistake: Iran is already at war with the State of Israel. The radical mullahs in Tehran declared war against the Jewish state in 1979. They have been killing Israelis and other Jews ever since. Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his senior advisors are engaged in a high stakes diplomatic, financial and covert war to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat before the mullahs — driven by an apocalyptic, genocidal End Times theology – get the Bomb and the means to deliver it. Now the question is: Will Netanyahu soon order his nation into a full scale, all-out war with Iran that could set the entire Middle East on fire?”
All that said, it should be noted that God is sovereign. As we continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem in obedience to Psalm 122:6, the Lord continues to protect the people of Israel, and He loves all the inhabitants of the land, Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, Palestinian Arabs, Christians and Muslims. What’s more, while there are serious tensions on the Gaza and Syrian borders, most of Israel is very safe. Tourism this year is at an all-time high. Indeed, the number of tourists coming into Israel in September was an all-time record. I’ve been here since Friday speaking at a pastors conference and I’ve never felt in danger. The challenges are real, but keep them in context that most Israelis and Palestinians are going about their daily lives without fear or interference. But please keep praying for peace, for wisdom for the leaders here, and for the followers of Jesus Christ to be a blessing to all the people here.
Thanks. Lord willing, I’ll continue to keep you updated as best I can.
- New e-book – Israel At War: Inside The Nuclear Showdown With Iran — now available on Kindle, Nook, other formats for $2,99 (includes sneak preview of material from forthcoming Damascus Countdown novel, as well)
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