(Washington, D.C.) — My heart is breaking over the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians as the situation goes from bad to worse, hour by hour.
- In recent days, Palestinian extremists kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenage boys.
- Then Jewish extremists kidnapped and murdered an Arab teenage boy, apparently burning him alive.
- Meanwhile, Palestinian extremists in Gaza began firing rockets at Jewish and Arab civilians in southern Israel.
- More than 220 rockets have been fired at Israel since July 1st. And just since midnight, more than 100 rockets were fired at Israel.
- Israel’s “Iron Dome” system is shooting down many of them.
- The Israeli Air Force is striking Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government authorized “Operative Protective Edge” to ratchet up attacks on the terrorists in Gaza. The IDF is calling up 40,000 reservists for a possible massive ground invasion of Gaza.
At the same time, here are the latest developments, as reported by the Times of Israel:
- “Israel launched a major operation against Gaza in the early hours of Tuesday morning, dubbed Operation Protective Edge, following heavy Hamas rocket fire over the preceding days,” the Times of Israel reports. “The fast-escalating situation in the south comes in the shadow of spiking Jewish-Arab tensions in Israel over the brutal killings of four teenagers — three Jews and one Arab — by extremists.”
- Army figures show that since midnight [Tuesday], terrorists in Gaza have fired 130 rockets at southern Israel, while the Israeli air force has struck 150 terror-related targets in Gaza.
- The Central and Northern commands have called up thousands of reserve soldiers, Ynet reports.
- Earlier, Israel approved an IDF request to call up as many as 40,000 reserve combat troops.
- IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz asked for the additional troops earlier in the day.
- The additional forces are slated to replace active duty battalions on other fronts, freeing them up for a possible ground incursion into the Strip as part of Operation Protective Edge.
- Channel 2′s Roni Daniel quotes a “very, very senior” IDF officer as saying that Operation Protective Edge will last a “very, very long time.”
- The officer says a ground operation “is certainly being considered,” while Daniel himself assesses that “a ground operation will certainly be necessary.”
- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with the heads of regional council affected by the rocket fire from Gaza, telling them that they should prepare for a “long and determined campaign against Hamas until quiet returns.” The mayors Netanyahu speaks with hail from Sderot, Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva, Kiryat Malachi, Hof Ashkelon, Ofakim, Yoav, Shaar Hanegev, Merhavim, Gan Yavne, Sdot Negev and Be’er Tuvia.
- Maj. Gen. (ret) Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, says in a conference call with journalists that there is only one aim to the current operation: to stop the rocket fire on Israeli cities and citizens. He says that Israel could conquer Gaza “and clean it from all the facilities and terrorists of Hamas,” but that such an operation would take months and does not now seem to be among the immediate goals of the current government. If the security situation continues to deteriorate, though, he says — “if we do not find a solution through this exchange of fire, and Hamas will not understand what we can do, we will not have any other choice but the big operation, which we don’t want.” Saying that for Hamas every civilian street and building is a target, Amidror asserts that the organization, which has several thousand rockets with a range of up to 40 kilometers and hundreds with an 80-kilometer range, could continue launching “forever.”
- June 16 — Urgent: please pray for 3 Israeli teens kidnapped by Hamas to be found safe. Here are the latest details. (Flash Traffic blog)
- June 18 — Suddenly, Israelis & Palestinians are working together. IDF engaged in massive operation to find kidnapped teens. Abbas says Hamas trying to destroy the Palestinians. Netanyahu using moment to dismantle Hamas. (Flash Traffic blog)
- June 23 — Pray for peace: Syrians kill 1 Israeli, wound 2 on Sunday. Palestinians in Gaza fires 20+ rockets at Israel. In turn, Israel strikes 9 targets in Syria, strikes targets in Gaza. (Flash Traffic blog)
- July 1 — Bodies of 3 abducted Israeli teens found in West Bank (USA Today)
- July 1 — Netanyahu at Cabinet meeting: Hamas will pay. (PMO)
- July 1 — Eulogy by PM Netanyahu at the Funerals of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel (PM’s office)
- July 2 — After One Of Kidnapped Israeli Teens Phoned Police, They Were Ordered To Lower Heads, Then Shot By Hamas Terrorists (Forbes)
- July 2 — Palestinians say Israeli extremists killed teen (AP)
- July 5 — Palestinian teen burned to death, autopsy shows (AP)
- July 7 — 6 Jewish suspects arrested in slaying of Arab teen (AP)
- July 7 — Israel’s Netanyahu phones father of murdered Palestinian teen (Reuters) — “I wish to express my shock and the shock of Israel’s citizens over the despicable murder of your son,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the father, Hussein Abu Khudair, according to the statement. “The murderers will be brought to trial and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” the PM added, according to the statement, a day after Israel announced that six Jewish suspects, whom it did not identify, were in custody.
>> Learn more about The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.com). This an organization my wife and I founded in 2006 to educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her Arab neighbors in the name of Jesus, including caring for the poor and needy with food and other humanitarian relief. Read our 2013 Donor Report. Please pray for our team, especially as they care for people in the rocket zone. And please prayerfully consider making a generous, tax deductible, secure, on-line contribution.
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