** Special note to pastors: Please ask your congregations to pray today for Israel and the Palestinians. See suggestions below.
>> Jerusalem on high alert to prevent terrorist attacks
The collapse of the Mubarak regime in Cairo — and with it an organized, unified, disciplined, centrally controlled Egyptian security and intelligence force — has created a no man’s land in the Sinai desert. This, in turn, has created a fertile environment for Radical Islamic terrorist groups to expand their operations in the Sinai, including smuggling arms into Gaza and training jihadist commandos. Now Israel is beginning to pay the price. Multiple terrorist attacks have occurred in recent days along Israel’s southern border with Egypt.
More than 100 rockets, mortars and anti-tank missiles have been fired from Gaza at Israeli towns and cities along the south. A suicide bomber also detonated himself near the Israel-Egyptian border over the weekend. Eight Jews were killed in Thursday’s jihadist attacks on an Israeli public bus, and at least 30 were wounded. A rocket hit a home in Beersheva on Saturday night, killing one Israeli and wounded four others. Dozens more Israelis have been hospitalized for shock. Israel has struck back with airstrikes against selected terror targets, but the violence has only escalated. Tragically, Israeli forces accidentally killed two Egyptian border guards during a raid against Gaza militants. Israel quickly apologized, but this has created new tensions between Egypt and the Jewish State. Meanwhile, Palestinian leaders — who want their own sovereign state beginning next month — have neither said or done anything to stop the latest attacks.
The question now is obvious: Is a new war brewing in Gaza Strip? Will Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu order the IDF back into the Strip for a ground operation akin to “Operation Cast Lead” in 2009? Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom was quoted by Ynet News on Sunday as saying, “The deterrence of has exhausted itself. We’ll need to respond, and we’re not ruling out the possibility of a ground operation.” Meanwhile, “at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, committee chair MK Shaul Mofaz of Kadima said that Israel must take steps against Hamas, ‘topple their infrastructures and create a system of ties with Egypt in order to prevent terrorism coming from its border,'” reported Haaretz. the “head of Kadima party Tzipi Livni made a similar call on Saturday, saying the party will support an extensive military campaign. ‘You must use force against terrorism,’ she said. ‘Just as we have taken steps against terrorism in the past, we will also support steps now that will defend the citizens of Israel.'”
No one is eager for a new war, and there may be other ways to stem the rocket attacks (assassinations, covert operations, etc). But one thing is clear: the terrorists in Gaza have suddenly become emboldened by the fall of Mubarak and the steady rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, their ideological compadres, and Israel must take decisive action soon or risk inviting more attacks not just from Hamas and their ilk but from Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.
I would ask for pastors and Christian families and individuals all over the world to pray for peace….for comfort for the victims and their families….and for wisdom for the Prime Minister and his senior advisors on how best to respond. Please also pray for Israelis and Palestinians at this time to turn their hearts back to the Lord, to seek comfort and wisdom from the truths of the Bible. Pray, too, that those who love the Lord Jesus to know how best to love and serve their neighbors and enemies and that the Lord would use these events to accomplish His purposes. As Joseph said to his brothers, “Do not be afraid…As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Genesis 50:19-20)