No light at the end of the tunnel – yet

1 March 2024

The war against Hamas is nowhere near an end. Instead, there are increasing signs it may expand into a regional war.

Israel is continuing to prepare to expand its offensive into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, despite increasingly strident warnings from the international community against such a move.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening expressed pessimism that Israel and Hamas could reach a deal to pause fighting in Gaza and release hostages. He denied that a deal with Hamas was close. “We face a brick wall of delusional, unrealistic Hamas demands,” said Netanyahu. He said Hamas “knows its demands are delusional and is not even trying to move close to an area of agreement. That’s the situation.”

The humanitarian situation in Gaza worsens. Tragically, dozens of Palestinians were killed on Thursday 29 February in northern Gaza when a crowd stormed trucks carrying humanitarian aid. The USA blocked a proposed Algerian-sponsored Security Council resolution condemning Israel for these deaths. Israel denies that Israel was responsible.

At the same time as Israel is preparing its ground offensive in Rafah, there are reports that Israel is planning to launch a ground operation against Hezbollah in Lebanon in the coming months, as the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group cannot be made to retreat from the Israel/Lebanon border through diplomatic measures.

All the while, the Palestinians, supported by the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (representing 57 Islamic states) and the African Union, demanded a ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague that Israel’s occupation is illegal. According to the Palestinians, Israel must end its occupation of the territories captured in 1967 “totally, immediately and unconditionally”. The Palestinians and their allies insist on the Palestinian right to their own state. A few states, including the UK, Zambia, Hungary and Fiji, argued that the Court should not issue an “Advisory Opinion” on issues that are (or should be) the subject of bilateral negotiations.

The push for a Palestinian state on all of the occupied territories is deeply problematic, given the radicalization, chaos and vaccuum of authority on the Palestinian side. If Hamas and Islamic Jihad gain control in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which is likely if Israel withdraws, what is to stop a repeat of 7th October on a much bigger scale?

The PA is corrupt and hardly represents the Palestinian people. Indeed, on Monday the Palestinian prime minister Shtayyeh announced the resignation of his government, paving the way for a shake-up in the Palestinian Authority, probably under US pressure. The U.S. is pushing for the PA to play a role in post-war Gaza but demands that it is reformed. Israel steadfastly resists any role for the PA in Gaza once the war is over.

A week ago, Israel’s PM Netanyahu submitted to his security cabinet a proposal that would see the Israeli army persisting in its war on Hamas until it achieves key goals. Those include dismantling Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and securing the release of all hostages still held captive in Gaza. After the war ends, Gaza’s civil affairs would be run by “local officials with administrative experience” and who are “not linked to countries or entities that support terrorism”. Israel demands dismantling of UNRWA and sees no role for the Palestinian Authority in post-war Gaza. The Israeli army would have “indefinite freedom” to operate throughout Gaza to prevent any resurgence of terror activity, according to the plan.

Two Israelis were killed when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at a gas station in the West Bank on Thursday afternoon before being shot and killed by the proprietor of a nearby business on leave from fighting in Gaza.

Let us continue to pray – 

  • that the leaders of Israel, the US and all other countries involved will have wisdom
  • that the hostages may be released immediately
  • that Hamas and other terror groups will be scattered and destroyed
  • that a sound government and leadership will be created for the Palestinian people
  • that all in the region will come to faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
  • that God will send His Son Jesus Christ as Messiah.

The Editorial team

US fears Israel will launch spring offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon
Biden official says expanded air campaign could lead to ground op; IDF says ‘suspicious’ object downed after sirens blare in Haifa; IDF strikes Hezbollah rocket launchers.
> Read more..

US blocks Security Council motion blaming Israel for deadly Gaza aid convoy incident
Palestinian envoy says he implored members to go after ‘those responsible for this massacre’; Washington says facts not yet clear; Israel says most victims died in a stampede.
> Read more..

Curbing hostage deal hopes, Netanyahu says Hamas putting up ‘brick wall’ of demands.
In press conference, PM says terror group refuses to move toward compromise, pledges Rafah operation will take place; claims that elections would mean ‘defeat’ for Israel in Gaza.
> Read more..

Why is Biden pushing for an immoral hostage deal?
Pressure on Israel to agree to pay an exorbitant ransom for the hostages that will grant victory to Hamas isn’t just politically motivated. It’s a betrayal of American interests.
> Read more..

Palestinian prime minister submits government’s resignation, a move that could open door to reforms
The Palestinian prime minister announced the resignation of his government on Monday, paving the way for a shake-up in the Palestinian Authority, which the U.S. hopes will eventually take on a role in postwar Gaza.
> Read more..

Netanyahu presents post-war plan to cabinet, aims for ‘local officials’ to govern Gaza
‘Day after Hamas’ paper sees Egypt cooperation to end smuggling; Arab countries funding reconstruction; no unilateral Palestinian state; no UNRWA; Gaza ‘de-radicalized,’ demilitarized.
>Read more..

SCRIPTURE FOR THE WEEK: Ezekiel 37 :18-23
18 “When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’
19 say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him and join it to Judah’s stick. I will make them into a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’
20 Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on,
21 and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.
23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.