Weekly Update: Israel enters Rafah

10 May 2024

Earlier this week, Israel launched a limited campaign against Hamas in the southern-most Gazan city of Rafah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that taking out Hamas in Rafah is essential to defeating the terror group and preventing them from regrouping and threatening Israel again. According to Israeli defense officials, four of Hamas’s six remaining battalions are in the city, along with members of the terror group’s leadership and a significant number of the hostages it abducted from Israel during the October 7 onslaught. Hamas has publicly vowed many repeats of its murderous rampage of Oct. 7.

According to Yaakov Lappin at JNS, “the decision by Israel’s War Cabinet to order the Israel Defense Forces to seize Rafah Crossing is strategically significant, as it will negatively impact Hamas’s ability to smuggle weapons and people back and forth from neighboring Sinai. The crossing is part of the wider Philadelphi Corridor running along the Gaza-Egypt border, which has for years been a central supply line for Hamas smuggling.”

The campaign is limited. This seems to be in response to the pressure of the Biden Administration in recent weeks not to proceed into Rafah, fearing a humanitarian crisis, and to concede to Hamas demands.

Hamas has refused to concede to Israel’s demands for unconditional release of the remaining hostages. The US Administration has not supported those demands. Jonathan Tobin at JNS reports:

    The terms of the proposed deals that Washington has backed are appalling. They call for the release of some hostages, but only a percentage of those Hamas is still holding under who knows what horrible conditions. And the pressure that Washington has exerted on Netanyahu to take a deal on virtually any terms and conditions—along with the way it has coordinated this with Hamas’s ally, Qatar—has given the terrorists all the leverage. That’s why Hamas continues to turn down even the most lopsided of agreements; its leaders are convinced that Biden will not let them be defeated. That means they think they can hold out for a deal that will end the war and return the situation to the pre-Oct. 7 status quo in Gaza and still not give up all the hostages, let alone be held accountable for mass murder.

Leading up to this week’s military campaign, Israel has taken extensive efforts to ensure humanitarian aid reaches the people of Rafah. The evacuation of some 100,000 civilians in eastern Rafah started on Monday ahead of an overnight targeted operation in which the IDF took control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and the Salah ad-Din road. The IDF on Monday called on the residents of eastern Rafah to evacuate to newly established humanitarian zones. The IDF has marked out two evacuation zones,which include field hospitals, tents and increased amounts of food, water, medicine and other supplies. The Israeli military said that it was conveying the evacuation message via announcements, text messages, phone calls and media broadcasts in Arabic.

Leading military expert Col. Richard Kemp defends Israel’s right (and obligation) to use whatever force is necessary in Rafah in order to defeat Hamas. He has written: “It shouldn’t need saying that it is absolutely vital for Israel to eliminate Hamas’s capability to continue translating its twisted ideology into physical violence. That means their physical destruction in Rafah. Israel must push on with its plans and not buckle to international pressure, no matter how great. Failure to do so would amount to nothing less than strategic defeat.”

Let us pray for the people of Gaza, and for the Israeli leadership and soldiers. Pray that the IDF will be successful in their efforts to free the people of Gaza from the terror regime of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and others. Pray for the remaining hostages in Gaza, that they will be protected and freed as soon as possible.

Let us pray that the Almighty will intervene to set His people free, and that He will work in the hearts and minds of the Jewish people around the world – that they may love and serve Him with their whole hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Then Israel will be a true light to the nations.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today

Israel at War (3): Prophecy Fulfilled— Psalm 8
Kameel Majdali: Israel is at war. This current conflict is giving sleepless nights to foreign secretaries, military officials, defence contractors and economists. To this, we add another group: Bible prophecy teachers. They are eagerly observing these events to get insight into the future.
> Read more..

In seizing Rafah crossing, Israel turns tables on Hamas’s stalling tactics
The move limits Hamas’s smuggling efforts, and also demonstrates that Israel is not deterred by international pressure.
> Read more..

Biden admin confirms blocking arms shipment to Israel over Rafah
A senior official cited concerns that the weapons could be used in densely populated parts of Gaza’s Rafah city.
> Read more..

Biden’s double game on Hamas should fool no one
A presidential speech condemned past and present antisemitism. However, it contradicted policies aimed at letting the terrorists win and appeasing pro-Hamas voters.
> Read more..

Hamas will be destroyed in Rafah, against the wishes of the West
A senior official cited concerns that the weapons could be used in densely populated parts of Gaza’s Rafah city.
> Read more..

I used to bring children from Gaza to hospitals in Israel.
Can you still believe in peace when your son has been murdered by Hamas, and you have lost everything? Liora Eilon, a peace activist dedicated to reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians. She faced this question after Hamas terrorists raided her kibbutz near Gaza on Oct. 7, causing a devastating massacre.

In this interview, Liora courageously shares her story, while Danielle Mor sheds light on The Jewish Agency’s efforts to support terror survivors like Liora.

A Sobering Perspective | The Book of RUTH with Johannes Gerloff #34
Normally, as Christians, we assume that we have the right understanding, and that the salvation of humanity depends on us sharing our knowledge with others. The book of Ruth invites us to look at ourselves a little more soberly.


SCRIPTURE FOR THE WEEK: Psalm 83:1-8; 13-18

O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God.See how your enemies growl, how your foes rear their heads. With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish. “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.” With one mind they plot together, they form an alliance against you— the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites, Byblos, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them to reinforce Lot’s descendants.

13 Make them like tumbleweed, my God, like chaff before the wind.14 As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze, 15 so pursue them with your tempes and terrify them with your storm. 16 Cover their faces with shame, Lord, so that they will seek your name. 17 May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace. 18  Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord, that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

Listen to the audio version of our Weekly Update: