Thursday, November 15, 2012

The necessity of defensive fire

Israeli soldiers throw a blood-stained table from the
apartment window where Gaza rockets killed 3 Israelis

"Israel is always under attack," said our tour guide last summer. "Rockets shoot from Gaza into nearby communities every week." Hundreds of rockets land in neighborhoods and fields near the Gaza border annually. Everyone but the Palestinian militants is sick and tired of conflict, of having their homes and businesses ruined by strikes and counterstrikes.

"Imagine if 100 rockets landed in [Seattle]. Would the American government let that go on without trying to stop them?" Hardly. Obama or Bush or Clinton wouldn't have been as patient as Israel has been. Our guide explained how Israel's "Iron Shield" radar pinpoints launch sites and how warnings go to communities outside Gaza when bombs are coming their way.

A Palestinian rocket shoots from Gaza toward Israel
I can't imagine living like that. The land of Israel is coming back to life with the water systems developed by Israelis. Plantations of mangos, dates, and citrus trees flourish where there was only desert. As people settle the wilderness, their communities grow. Schools, businesses, and social services spring up.

Palestinian complain that settlements are on their land. Yet the entire Middle East is no longer a nomad's wandering ground or a "stake-my-claim" open landscape. National borders prevent groups from crossing freely between Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Syria, and other countries though complaints are lodged mostly against Israel. Arab nations push settlers off their land to build suburbs and towns.

Likewise, Israeli communities seem planted "in the middle of nowhere." They are usually planned to reclaim land in undeveloped wastelands or deserts. Water brings the ground to life. (Bit of historical comparison: when Europeans took over from American natives, did we compensate them well? When France went into Africa or England into India, was there concern about land appropriated? Currently, Israel compensates generously for any deeded land. Palestinian cannot take the money: their honor demands refusal and ongoing challenge for where they have squatted or pastured their animals. On the other hand, Israel says it's reclaiming ancestral territory promised by God ... unlike other colonial acquisitions.)

Israeli soldier watches counter-attack
It's a no-win situation. As far as the Arabs who funnel arms to Gaza are concerned, Palestinians serve a useful function, fomenting ongoing agitation and unrest for the Jews. Those same Arabs give limited humanitarian assistance and bar Palestinians from settling in their own countries.

This week, Israel said, "ENOUGH!" to Gaza attacks. The defensive destruction of Gaza rocket launch sites began a few days ago. Many targets are in Gaza's residential areas, demonstrating how Palestinians use their citizens as human shields. Before starting their defensive strikes, Israel's Army dropped leaflets in residential areas, warning civilians to move away. (We hope the American or Canadian governments would do the same if targeting terrorists in civilian areas: human life is sacred from the Judao-Christian viewpoint.)

No one expects the retalitation to solve anything, but Israel hopes to remove ammunition and terrorists that would have attacked and killed people in the future . The heartbreak of families on both sides chills me. Mothers and fathers losing sons and daughters. Families wiped out by a lack of reconciliation and forgiveness between blood brothers.

Palestinian man in the wreckage of his home
Once again, I ponder, "Sarah, what were you thinking when you anticipated God's promise to Abraham by asking him to impregnate Hagar?" By trying to make things happen through her best efforts, Sarah set off an ongoing conflagration between the sons of Abraham.

"Lord, may we please not do the same, claiming promises that are not ready for realization and jumping the gun before Your perfect timing brings Your promises to life." And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Read more:
*Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore. Psalm 125:1-2 NIV

*Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.

He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.” Daniel 2:19-23 NIV

1 comment:

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