ROCKET WAR UPDATE, DAY #4. Also, Why won’t Abbas order his security forces to stop the rocket fire, or even publicly condemn the attacks on Israel?

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

(Washington, D.C.) — I’m sorry to report there is no evidence the rocket war is letting up. To the contrary, the rockets are still flying, and Israel is clearly preparing to invade Gaza. So please keep praying for things to calm down, and praying for the Lord to comfort and protect Israelis and Palestinians.

Here are the latest developments:

  • On Friday, 140 rockets were fired at Israel, 27 of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome.
  • Since the beginning of “Operation Protective Edge,” at least 680 rockets and missiles have been fired from Gaza at Israel.
  • 520 have hit Israel
  • 140 were intercepted by the Iron Dome system.
  • The IDF has struck approximately 1,002 terrorist targets in Gaza

Early Friday morning, Israel was also hit by three rockets fired from Lebanon. To its credit, the Lebanese Army later captured a terrorist who was preparing to launch two more rockets at Israel.

Geopolitically, the biggest development of the day was what didn’t happen. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas still hasn’t publicly, clearly, and convincingly condemned the rocket fire by Hamas, Islamic Jihad or his own Fatah faction. Nor has he ordered Palestinian security forces to stop the terrorists from firing these rockets at Israel.

Why not?

In June, Abbas did publicly condemn the firing of just a few rockets from Gaza at Israel. Why is he now refusing to condemn or stop the firing of more than 680 rockets at Israel in July? I grieve for the Palestinians in Gaza who are suffering so much. But this suffering is being brought about by terrorists who have hijacked the Gaza Strip to use it as one massive rocket launcher against Israel. And the Palestinian government refuses to do anything about it.

Meanwhile, Abbas is calling Israel’s actions an act of “genocide.” Why? He certainly wants to identify with the suffering of those who have been killed and their families. That’s understandable. But to charge Israel with genocide is so over the top one wonders why Abbas is reaching so far. At this point, approximately 100 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed so far. Now, to be clear, many of those were terrorists. Some were civilians. That is true. But many of these were civilians who refused to leave buildings used by terrorists that the Israelis were about to strike, despite warnings by the IDF (via text messages and phone calls) to leave immediately or risk being fired upon.

Every death of an innocent person is tragic, and my heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones, whether they were innocent or guilty. But let’s be fair — this is not genocide. This is not a systematic effort to exterminate the Palestinian people. And Israel has vowed to stop attacking Hamas as soon as Hamas and the other terror groups stop firing at Israeli civilians. As the New York Times reported yesterday, Israel is going to extraordinary lengths to prevent civilian casualties. Meanwhile, the terrorists are purposefully firing rocket at innocent civilians in order specifically to cause civilian casualties.

“The most striking aspect of ongoing Arab reactions to the latest Hamas-Israeli clashes is an act of omission: the Palestinian Authority (PA) and President Mahmoud Abbas are not calling for Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israeli cities,” notes David Pollack of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “This contradicts Abbas’s recent declarations that the new PA government and its Hamas backers would honor past PA commitments regarding nonviolence against Israel. A new statement from Abbas’s office claims that “the Palestinians have the right to defend themselves by all legitimate means” against ‘Israeli escalation.’ In today’s latest twist, Abbas and the PA are not just calling for Israel to stop its airstrikes against Hamas targets inside Gaza. According to several plausible press reports, they are also threatening to haul Israel before the International Criminal Court for the ‘war crime’ or ‘genocide’ of responding to Hamas rocket attacks. PA messaging, moreover, makes no effort to distinguish between the Hamas ‘political leadership’ — which signed the reconciliation agreement with the PA’s ruling Fatah Party and may have attempted to restrain the initial rocket salvos — and the Hamas ‘military wing,’ which some PA officials privately blame for trying to torpedo reconciliation by firing indiscriminately at Israel.”

I don’t pretend to understand completely the motives of Abbas and his government. And I’m not saying Netanyahu and his government are saints and doing everything right. But I am praying for all of them anyway. I am praying the Lord bless and show mercy to the Palestinian people, as well as to the Israelis. I am praying the Lord draws people on both sides to Himself, and I’m praying for pastors and Christian leaders on both sides to be strong and brave and to have wisdom to know how to bless their people with Christ’s mercy and unconditional love.

Here is the latest  minute-by-minute update on the war for Friday and Thursday, according to the IDF blog:

Friday, July 11

9:58 PM: Four rockets were fired from Gaza to Beer Sheva. One hit a house, injuring a woman. Two were intercepted by the Iron Dome, and one hit an open area

9:23 PM: A short while ago, the Israel Air Force targeted the rocket launcher in Gaza that fired at central Israel about two and a half hours ago.

9:20 PM: A few minutes ago, the Iron Dome intercepted two rockets over Beer Sheva and one rocket over the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

8:56 PM: Moments ago, two rockets were intercepted over the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

7:16 PM: Initial report: An anti-tank missile fired from northern Gaza lightly wounded two IDF soldiers patrolling the security fence.

6:43 PM: The Iron Dome intercepted one rocket over the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

4:55 PM: Over 70 rockets were fired at Israel since midnight, out of which 53 hit Israel and 18 were intercepted.

4:02 PM: Two rockets fired from Gaza struck Beer Sheva

2:00 PM: IDF Chief of Staff: Terrorists in Gaza made a grave mistake by attacking the people of Israel. They are bringing disaster upon themselves.

8:00 AM: A rocket fired from Lebanon hit an open area near Metula a short time ago. In response, IDF forces opened fire at the source of rocket fire

3:28 AM: Rocket sirens sounded in the Haifa area, located more than 140 km (87 miles) from the Gaza Strip.

Thursday, July 10 

Updated summary of the day:

  • More than 192 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel.
  • At least 141 rockets hit Israel.
  • 44 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
  • The IDF struck 210 terror targets in the Gaza Strip

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