Christian perspectives on Israel-Gaza conflict

gazacrisis

By INcontext Ministries — Originally published in A World In Motion, Issue 104, 24 July 2014

The United States will provide $47m in humanitarian aid to help Palestinians hit by Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip, Secretary of State John Kerry has said. The comment comes as Kerry embarks on a diplomatic push to secure a ceasefire in the region. “We are deeply concerned about the consequences of Israel’s appropriate and legitimate effort to defend itself,” Kerry said in Cairo as he met United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “No country can stand by while rockets are attacking it, and tunnels are dug in order to come into your country and assault your people. But always, in any conflict, there is concern about civilians – about children, women, communities that are caught in it.” (Aljazeera)

The Gaza tunnel initiative
While the death toll in Gaza has exceeded 600, Israeli officials have indicated they would keep up efforts to destroy tunnels that Hamas is increasingly using to mount cross-border attacks. Four Israeli soldiers were killed in a raid by Hamas militants who infiltrated southern Israel through a tunnel on Monday 21 July. There have been five such raids in five days. Hamas has highlighted the sophistication of its tunnels on social media and elsewhere as a point of pride, and has responded defiantly to Israel’s pledge to eradicate them. Asked what it would do if Israel destroyed all of them, a Hamas spokesman said last week that they would be rebuilt. Some are used to infiltrate Israel, others to smuggle goods and people to and from Gaza across the Egyptian border. Hamas secured the release of more than 1 000 prisoners in 2011 in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured in a raid through a cross-border tunnel in 2006. (Wall Street Journal)

The ongoing media struggle
The recent raids into Israel have added legitimacy to the ground campaign into Gaza aimed at destroying these tunnels, and may go some way in elevating Israel’s position in the current conflict that is being fought on the platforms of international news media and popular social media as well as ‘on the ground’.

Jodi Rudoren, writing for the New York Times, believes that “the clash of narratives, the struggle for domestic and international opinion, is seen by both sides to have long-term stakes as high and perhaps even more lasting than combat on the ground”. She further describes the situation as follows: “Propaganda wars have unfolded alongside the battlefield for generations. But analysts said the latest flareup between Israel and the Gaza Strip has brought a new level of dehumanizing, hateful language and a muddying of official talking points with incendiary threats, as social media broadcast an explosion of voices [and] an onslaught of unreliable information.”

A South African student currently volunteering at a kibbutz in Israel wrote of the propaganda constantly flying around, and all the fear, hatred and desperation felt on both sides of the conflict – how Hamas seems to ‘feed off’ those fears and how children in Gaza are being ‘raised’ to hate Israel, and how Israel is caught up in the ‘sick cycle’ of being driven to defend themselves in the face of the anti-Semitic wave that surrounds them. Her perception of the two sides is that for the citizens of Gaza, the “aim of life is to escape or destroy the oppressive [Israeli] presence”, while for Israelis, people see the conflict as a fight “for existence”.

FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
For Western Christians, trying to wrestle with ‘right and wrong’ relating to the loss of life in Gaza and to the Israeli perspective of needing to defend themselves at all costs is a complex and confusing process with few clear answers. Reverend Charles Kopp, Chairman of the Evangelical Alliance of Israel, made the following appeal: “Now is the time we should all get together around the Lord Jesus and pray for each other and plead for mercy… for all of us. Let us avoid entering the trap of the blame game, but rather, admit that we are all sinners saved by grace and without Him we are destined to return to this same table of accusatory negotiations. It is imperative we remember that our first allegiance and citizenship is from above and that we cannot use the Bible selectively to defend the cause with which we identify.”

CLICK HERE for a full perspective on the global media war and the situation Israel is facing, with input from Dr David Aikman (formerly of TIME Magazine) and Chris Eden from Bridges for Peace.

PRAY > For the preservation of Israel in a very turbulent and antagonistic region > For the innocent people who find themselves in terrifying circumstances, that they would seek comfort from Jesus > That Christians in the region would be a strong and loving witness to all.

2 Comments

  1. Ebrahim Ishmael

    Why Christians Should Support Israel
    The Apple of HIS Eye…

    Everything Christians do should be based upon the Biblical text. Here are seven solid Bible reasons why Christians should support Israel.

    Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed.” Point: God has promised to bless the man or nation that blesses the Chosen People. History has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the nations that have blessed the Jewish people have had the blessing of God; the nations that have cursed the Jewish people have experienced the curse of God.

    St. Paul recorded in Romans 15:27 “For if the Gentiles have shared in their (the Jews) spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.”

    Christians owe a debt of eternal gratitude to the Jewish people for their contributions that gave birth to the Christian faith. Jesus Christ, a prominent Rabbi from Nazareth said, “Salvation is of the Jews!” (St. John 4:22) consider what the Jewish people have given to Christianity:
    The Sacred Scripture
    The Prophets
    The Patriarchs
    Mary, Joseph, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth
    The Twelve Disciples
    The Apostles

    It is not possible to say, “I am a Christian” and not love the Jewish people. The Bible teaches that love is not what you say, but what you do. (1 John 3:18) “A bell is not a bell until you ring it, a song is not a song until you sing it, love is not love until you share it.”

    While some Christians try to deny the connection between Jesus of Nazareth and the Jews of the world, Jesus never denied his Jewishness. He was born Jewish, He was circumcised on the eighth day in keeping with Jewish tradition, He had his Bar Mitzvah on his 13th birthday, He kept the law of Moses, He wore the Prayer Shawl Moses commanded all Jewish men to wear, He died on a cross with an inscription over His head, “King of the Jews!

    Jesus considered the Jewish people His family. Jesus said (Matthew 25:40) “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren (the Jewish people… Gentiles were never called His brethren), ye have done it unto me.

    “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee.” (Psalm 122:6) the scriptural principle of prosperity is tied to blessing Israel and the city of Jerusalem.

    Why did Jesus Christ go to the house of Cornelius in Capernaum and heal his servant, which was ready to die? What logic did the Jewish elders use with Jesus to convince Him to come into the house of a Gentile and perform a miracle?

    The logic they used is recorded in Luke 7:5; “For He loveth our nation, and He hath built us a synagogue.” The message? This Gentile deserves the blessing of God because he loves our nation and has done something practical to bless the Jewish people.

    Why did God the Father select the house of Cornelius in Caesarea (Acts Chapter 10) to be the first Gentile house in Israel to receive the Gospel? The answer is given repeatedly in Acts 10.

    Acts 10:2 “a devout man, (Cornelius) and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.” Who were the people to whom Cornelius gave these alms? They were the Jews

    Again is Acts 10:4 “… thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”

    Again in Acts 10:31 “… and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.”
    The point is made three times in the same chapter. A godly Gentile who expressed his unconditional love for the Jewish people in a practical manner was divinely selected by heaven to be the first Gentile house to receive the Gospel and the first to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

    These combined Scriptures verify that PROSPERITY (Genesis 12:3 and Psalm 122:6), HEALING (Luke 7:1-5) and the OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT came first to Gentiles that blessed the Jewish people and the nation of Israel in a practical manner.

    We support Israel because all other nations were created by an act of men, but Israel was created by an act of God! The Royal Land Grant that was given to Abraham and his seed through Isaac and Jacob with an everlasting and unconditional covenant. (Genesis 12:1-3, 13:14-18, 15:1-21, 17:4-8, 22:15-18, 26:1-5 and Psalm 89:28-37.)

    • Christianity has indeed its roots embedded in Judaism. The Miracle of Scarlet Thread by DR R Booker is a lovely book pointing this out, very enlightning, it opened my eyes to the Old Testament. The 2nd greatest commandment we were left however was …to love one another…Love