The psychological and emotional trauma for Israelis and many innocent Arab civilians in the Gaza Strip will linger far longer
Comment by Robin Benson
It’s “all quiet on the Gaza Front” once again.
From 9-13 May Israel’s military defence forces had another go at “mowing the grass”… This is the euphemism coined by someone in the military or political echelons some years ago for when Israel uses deadly force to stop the latest barrage of missiles coming from the Gaza Strip, where the Hamas terrorist group rules the roost.
This recent Islamist terrorist escalation actually started on 2 and 3 May when Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) – with Hamas’ backing – fired 104 rockets towards southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. This was in response, PIJ claims, to the death in an Israeli prison of a hunger striking security prisoner and PIJ leader, Khader Adnan.
As always, Israel did briefly respond to this missile attack, but it was limited in scope. This did not go down well with some of the more vocal members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, who called for a much stronger military response. Many Israelis were also not impressed, especially those who lived in the path of these incoming projectiles and had spent the best part of more than 24 hours in bomb shelters.
On 9 May Israel initiated “Operation Shield and Arrow” against PIJ. Precision missile strikes straight away eliminated three senior PIJ leaders, responsible for key aspects of the terror group’s activities in the Gaza Strip, but also for their growing influence in Judea and Samaria. By the end of the operation, a further three senior PIJ leaders had been taken out, along with at least 11 other PIJ operatives, and four members of other Hamas-affiliated terror organisations.
Over 1,400 projectiles were fired at Israel
During the five-day operation, over 1,400 projectiles were fired at Israel. Of those, over 1,100 crossed into Israeli territory, and 440 of those were intercepted by Israel’s air defence system, which had a 96% success rate. A few missiles evaded the Iron Dome defence system, and there were Israeli casualties – including two fatalities – and property damage as a result. The other projectiles out of that 1,100 fell in unpopulated areas, where actual damage would be minimal.
While not in any way downplaying the loss of life and damage, all these statistics sound wonderful. Israel’s air defence system is a marvel of modern warfare and the envy of many other nations.
But what the numbers do not convey is that well over two million Israelis – including, for the first time in a long time, citizens of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem – lived in constant dread of Red Alert sirens and warnings on their smartphones, with many holed up in bomb shelters for the duration of the conflict. The psychological and emotional trauma for them, as well as for many innocent Arab civilians in the Gaza Strip, will linger far longer.
However, in addition to this latest flare-up, there is now in Israel a much deeper awareness that behind PIJ, Hamas and all the other Islamist terror entities in both the Gaza Strip, and increasingly in Judea and Samaria, is the Islamic revolutionary regime in Iran. Iran finances, supplies weaponry, and in many ways directs much of this terror activity against Israel and all its citizens: of that fact there is now no doubt.
Iran is the puppet master pulling the strings of terror groups
So as Prime Minister Netanyahu and his coalition try to get their proposed budget through the Knesset – a necessity by 29 May or the government falls – they must contend with the stark reality that not only is Iran well on the way to nuclear weapons capability, but at the same time it is the puppet master pulling the strings of most of the terror groups in all the nations that surround Israel and want to wipe her off the map…whatever the cost.
Robin Benson has reported on current events in Israel for many years. He appears regularly on Revelation TV’s ‘Politics Today’ and ‘Middle East Report’
CIVILIAN LIFE – AND DEATH
Not all civilians managed to reach their bomb shelters in time to escape rocket fire.
An 80-year-old grandmother in Rehovot in southern Israel was killed when a terrorist rocket struck her apartment building. Mike Evans of the Jerusalem Prayer Team reported: “She was trying to get her paralysed husband into the reinforced room that serves as their bomb shelter, but the ceiling collapsed, leaving him injured and her dead.”
He adds: “Every day new attacks are being launched against innocent Jewish men, women, and children. Sometimes it is rockets raining down death from the skies. Sometimes it is a gun or a knife. Sometimes it is a car being driven into a crowd.”
While residents of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv experienced attack for the first time, it is commonplace for the inhabitants of towns like Sderot in southern Israel where many are poor Russian immigrants.
His ministry was aiming to raise funds to help those suffering from PTSD.
TIMELY CALL FOR 21 DAYS OF PRAYER AND FASTING
For 21 days from 7 May over a million people from around the world joined in prayer and fasting for Israel, leading up to Pentecost on 28 May.
Bible teacher and evangelist Mike Bickle, inspired by Isaiah 62:6-7, created two-minute prayers which people could say for all the Jewish people, for Messianic congregations and for the dual fulfilment of prophecies for Israel and the nations.
Such a call for prayer and fasting was timely as attacks by Islamists against Israel began on 2 May.
Mike Bickle had received a prophecy years earlier that one day he would call a million people to prayer. In fact, many other prayer movements took part, with over 100 million expected to join in prayer on Pentecost Sunday, making it one of the largest prayer days in history.