You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current status of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip
Israel started “Operation Protective Edge” against the Palestinian terror organization, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip after Hamas launched a barrage of rockets against Israeli citizens in various parts of the land of Israel. In total, Hamas has fired some 1,500 rockets throughout Israel. For the first 10 days, Israel launched air strikes seeking to destroy an elaborate network of tunnels built by Hamas to wage war against Israel. Over the past 5 years, about 16,000 men, around 15 percent of Hamas’ fighting strength, were assigned to build the tunnel network. In response, Israel has hit over 3,000 targets in the Gaza. These targets have included weapons stockpiles, rocket launchers, smuggling tunnels, the homes of terrorist commanders and more. Exactly 21 militants from the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organization have been arrested in the Strip and taken in for interrogation by security forces and the Shin Bet. Dozens more have been killed in skirmishes with IDF soldiers.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, explained why Israel needed to attack Hamas in the Gaza Strip saying: “When three young Israeli kids are taken and murdered, and Hamas applauds it and celebrates the fact that they were kidnapped and supported the kidnapping, and then starts rocketing Israel when they’re looking for the people who did it, that’s out of balance by any standard,” Kerry said. “And I think it’s important for people to remember the facts that led to this.”
After 10 days of aerial assaults in the Gaza Strip, on July 17, Israeli decided to send ground troops into the Gaza Strip. The Israeli cabinet agreed to the ground operation after Hamas rejected an Egyptian ceasefire proposal and afterward launched a barrage of rockets at southern and central Israel. Israeli residents living in those areas were instructed to enter bomb shelters. There are over 48,000 Israeli troops ready for combat. “We are now entering the second phase of the operation,” said an Israeli army spokesman. “We delivered a hard blow to the Hamas tunnel network with airstrikes. We attacked thousands of targets, destroyed infrastructure, hurt operatives. The ground troops will be working to locate and destroy tunnels from which Hamas launches rockets against Israel while seeking to destroy Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure in these areas. The Israeli army is also prepared for additional stages of the operation including getting all the way to the Gaza beach. However, Israel is not trying to remove Hamas from power in the Gaza Strip because such a goal would likely entail a move into densely populated Gaza City where urban warfare could prove costly to both sides. The goal of the operation is to deal a serious blow to the Hamas terrorist organization and improve the security of the Israeli civilian population” the IDF spokesman said. Breaking up the Hamas’ subterranean tunnels would take weeks.
Speaking at an emergency cabinet meeting, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel “Decided to launch the ground operation after we tried all the other ways for peace and with an understanding that without this operation the price we will have to pay later would be much higher.” Furthermore, the ground troops are needed because “there is no way to eliminate the tunnel threat only through airstrikes.” Netanyahu said the ground operation could expand. “My instructions … are to prepare for the possibility of significantly widening the ground operation and the military is preparing accordingly,” he said. Netanyahu added, “The supreme consideration guiding us is to restore security to the civilians and quiet to the state,” he said. “There is not a more moral army than the IDF, and we do not want to harm even one innocent civilian. Not even one. We are operating only against terror targets.” Netanyahu said that the terrorist organizations bear the responsibility for harm to the civilians in Gaza because they are attacking Israeli towns and cities from behind human shields.
Netanyahu said that he knows that the world will get a distorted picture of the operation, something that is “unpreventable.” The European Council issued a statement on the conflict between Israel and Hamas saying, “Israel has the right to protect its population from rocket fire from Hamas. At the same time, Israel must not respond “disproportionally”.
Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that “Israel will not compromise on its security and we will not accept rocket fire on the south. Hamas has already begun to pay a heavy price for its actions, and will pay even more dearly until rocket fire stops. Whoever attempts to disrupt our life will regret it. We are prepared to continue the operation as long as necessary, and, if necessary, to enlist more combat forces from the reserves until we bring quiet to the Gaza Strip,” he said.
Israel Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel said that the goal of the beginning of the campaign is to remove the threats posed by the tunnels. Ariel said that Israel needed to take into consideration diplomatic pressure to reach a cease-fire, and for that reason needed to move quickly and not find itself under pressure it will not be able to withstand. “He said Israel needed to “go in and finish the job.” There is no choice but to move inside the Strip and “make order.”
Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is calling for Israel to remove Hamas from power. Saying that Israel has no “good options” in the Gaza, Liberman said the “right option” is not to agree to a cease-fire before the job is completed but “to topple the Hamas government, to remove them from the region.” If Israel does not take this action now, he said, it will need to do so in another number of months, when it may face even worse conditions. An end result to the operation would see the Israel army control the Gaza,” he said. The foreign minister noted that, in leaving Gaza in 2005, Israel did what the world had asked it to do, returning to the pre-1967 lines, and handing the territory over to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. “We pulled out all the settlers; we evacuated all the settlements,” said Liberman. “We have to say to the world, you pressed us to do this. Now you have to back us in going all the way… We have to end this conflict with the IDF in control of all of Gaza… There is no other way to tackle the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror which rules Gaza.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US strongly supports Israel’s right to defend itself against threats posed by the Gaza tunnels dug into Israel and urged Israel to limit its ground operation to a precision offensive against the tunnels.
As a war tactic to rally international public support against Israel, Hamas is using hospitals as its military headquarters from which to launch rockets. The Israeli military said Hamas took over Al Wafa Hospital in Gaza City as its operational headquarters. The military said Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders were directing operations and firing at Israel Army units from the medical facility, heavily damaged by the Israel Air Force. “The hospital was used for activating war rooms and command and control centers by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” the military said. Hamas has deployed anti-tank missiles and machine guns at the hospital. The military said the hospital’s management allowed Hamas and Islamic Jihad to use the hospital for intelligence and tunnel warfare. As a result, the Israeli army has decided to strike terrorists operating in the hospital complex.”
Meanwhile, the military wing of Fatah (PLO), the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade of the West Bank, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, who also serves as the “President of Palestine” and head of the PLO, has declared “open war” against the “Zionist enemy.” On July 23, three armed terrorists from the al-Aqsa brigade announced that they would not sit idly by during the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip and that they intend to bring the struggle deep into Israeli territory. “The language of blood is the only way to answer Zionist aggression”, they said, stating that international law permits them to conduct an armed struggle throughout all “Palestinian territories”. “It is open Intifada,” stated a spokesman for al-Aqsa Brigade leadership. Orders were given to all units operating within the West Bank to act against the “Zionist enemy”, with all options on the table.
US President Barack Obama is discussing the ongoing conflict with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and various Arab leaders in the region. Obama affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself while raising “serious concern about the growing number of casualties, including increasing Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza and the loss of Israeli soldiers,” a statement from the White House said. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said: “Israel is under siege by a terrorist organization that has seen fit to dig tunnels and come through those tunnels with handcuffs and tranquilizer drugs, prepared to try to capture Israeli citizens and take them back to hold them hostage. No country could sit by and not take steps to try to deal with people who are sending thousands of rockets your way,” he said. “While we were talking to the prime minister, sirens went off. The prime minister of Israel had to interrupt the conversation with the President of the United States to go to a shelter,” Kerry said. “This is happening to families all across Israel. Every day, they have to seek shelter.”
In continuing the war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with Fox news that “Hamas had broken five cease-fires that Israel had accepted and implemented. They rejected all of them, violated all of them, including two humanitarian cease-fires in the last 24 hours,” Netanyahu said. He added that Israel’s goal in the conflict was the “demilitarization of Gaza.” saying, “The path to restoration of calm in Gaza is an ‘intertwined’ system of demilitarization of Gaza and ‘social and economic relief’ for the Palestinian people there.” In the past, Hamas has taken the aid given to it from the international community to build tunnels to wage war against Israel rather than using the money for humanitarian aide and to build pre-schools in the Gaza Strip.
US President Barack Obama is seeking an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that would later lead to a permanent end to hostilities in Gaza based on the 2012 ceasefire agreement reached at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense. A statement from the Obama administration said: “The President emphasizes the enduring importance of ensuring Israel’s security, protecting civilians, alleviating Gaza’s humanitarian crisis, and enacting a sustainable ceasefire that both allows Palestinians in Gaza to lead normal lives and addresses Gaza’s long-term development and economic needs, while strengthening the Palestinian Authority. The President stresses the US view that, ultimately, any lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must ensure the disarmament of terrorist groups and the demilitarization of Gaza,” the statement said.
In seeking to achieve a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, traveled to Paris, France to meet with representatives from Turkey and Qatar. In doing so, Turkey and Qatar were given prominent roles in US mediation between Hamas and Israel while the Palestinian Authority and Egypt were entirely marginalized. The leadership of Turkey is openly hostile toward Israel. Qatar is seen as representing the interests of Hamas. Western diplomats and Palestinian Authority officials who met Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal in Qatar were amazed to hear him assert that Hamas was winning the war against the IDF and confident of being able to keep going for a long time. Every attempt to sway its political leader Khaled Meshaal to agree to a ceasefire with Israel ran into a blank wall. He summarily rejected invitations from Egypt and the Arab League to travel to Cairo and discuss the cessation of hostilities. Therefore, Israel’s Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said that Kerry’s approach shows that “we’re a long way from a political solution.”
Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and has strong support from Turkey and Qatar. Palestinian sources said that Kerry informed Hamas via Qatar that under his proposal for a ceasefire with Israel, based on the original Egyptian initiative, that the US would guarantee the fulfillment of many of Hamas’s demands for an end to the war. These demands would include the following: an easing of restrictions on the passage of goods from Israel to Gaza; an easing of restrictions on the passage of traders and businessmen from Gaza to Israel; expansion of the permitted Gaza fishing zone to 12 miles off the coast; the opening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, to be manned by Palestinian Authority officials; and a promise to ensure the transfer of salaries to Gaza’s government employees.
According to the text that Kerry submitted to Israel, “the Palestinian factions” and the State of Israel would make three commitments:
a) Establish a humanitarian cease-fire, ending all hostilities in and from the Gaza Strip, beginning in 48 hours, and lasting for a period of seven days
b) Build on the Cairo cease-fire understandings of November 2012 [that were reached, through American and Egyptian mediation, following Operation Pillar of Defense]
c) Convene in Cairo, at the invitation of Egypt, within 48 hours to negotiate resolution of all issues necessary to achieve a sustainable cease-fire and enduring solution to the crisis in Gaza, including arrangements to secure the opening of crossings, allow the entry of goods and people and ensure the social and economic livelihood of the Palestinian people living in Gaza, transfer funds to Gaza for the payment of salaries for public employees, and address all security issues.
In submitting this proposal, Kerry ignored Israel’s security requirements. Rather than calling for demilitarization of Gaza or addressing the attack tunnels dug by Hamas, the proposal merely calls for a general discussion of “all security issues.” As a result, the Israel cabinet unanimously rejected the US proposal submitted to Israel. Rather than provoke an open diplomatic confrontation with the United States, the report said, the appalled ministers chose not to issue an official statement rejecting the Kerry terms. Instead, word of the decision was allowed to leak out. “Voices” from the cabinet had described Kerry as “negligent,” “lacking the ability to understand” the issues, and “incapable of handling the most basic matters.”
Egypt was deeply dissatisfied with Kerry’s tactics to speak with Turkey and Qatar. The US proposal would give supervision for the implementation of the agreement to Turkey and Qatar, both openly hostile to Israel and extremely sympathetic to Hamas, while ignoring the role of Egypt. Fatah, Abbas’s political party, has also lambasted Kerry’s apparent move to exclude it from the ceasefire negotiations accusing Kerry of trying to undermine the Egyptian ceasefire initiative endorsed by Israel and the PA but rejected by Hamas. The Palestinian source said that PA negotiators were “very close” to finalizing a ceasefire deal that would insure the lifting of the blockade over Gaza and “realize all Palestinian demands.” Palestinian sources said that Kerry had initially agreed to an Egyptian proposal for an immediate ceasefire followed by five days of negotiations between Israel and the PA, with American assurances to address some of Hamas’s demands. However, after that Kerry produced a new plan based on consultations with Qatar and Turkey and conducted between “the State of Israel” and “the Palestinian factions,” excluding the PA. A Palestinian official explained: “Kerry tried, through his latest plan, to destroy the Egyptian bid and the Palestinian remarks on it (the Abbas plan). His initiative is an alternative to ours. Kerry was in fact trying to create an alternative framework to the Egyptian initiative and our understanding of it, in a way that placates the Qataris and the Turks. Whoever wants Qatar and Turkey to represent them can emigrate and go live there. Our only legitimate representative is the PLO.”
As a result, Israel is fighting for the first time in its history with solid Arab backing from the Egyptian-Saudi-United Arab Emirates bloc. So determined are its members to obliterate the Muslim Brotherhood that they have virtually blacklisted Qatar for supporting the Hamas Muslim Brotherhood. Although they are Sunni Muslim, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE oppose the Muslim Brotherhood.
The United States strongly denied that their proposal met all of the central demands of Hamas while ignoring the security needs of Israel and criticized Israel for making the accusation claiming instead to be a strong friend of Israel.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) IDF launches major ground operation in Gaza
2) IDF sends ground troops into Gaza, calls up 18,000 reservists
3) Security cabinet decision to start ground operation was made Tuesday
4) Netanyahu: Israel would pay a greater price without a ground operation
5) Netanyahu: Gaza ground op comes after all other options exhausted
6) Ya’alon: We’re prepared to continue fighting until we bring quiet to Gaza
7) Israel says Gaza ground operation aims to restore calm, not oust Hamas
8) Amidst talk of Gaza ceasefire, Liberman repeats call for Israel to topple Hamas
9) Undermining PM, Liberman calls to retake Gaza, denounces truce efforts
10) US: Restrict Gaza operation to precise action against tunnels
11) Fatah Declares War on Israel
12) IDF ground forces attack Gaza amid air, sea and artillery pounding. Half a million Gazans told to leave. Israelis around Gaza sent to shelters
13) IDF troops hit 260 targets in Gaza; soldiers uncover 21 smuggling tunnels
14) Five IDF task forces begin driving into Gaza City. Israel draws up over-plan for control of the Gaza Strip
15) Thirteen IDF Golani soldiers killed in Gaza, at start of urban stage of Israel’s operation against Hamas
16) IDF Commanders: Time for decisive war move after IDF victories in Shejaiya, E. Rafah and Khan Younes
17) Israel: Hamas used hospital as military command and control center
18) Obama sends Kerry to Cairo to help truce efforts
19) Netanyahu calls on Hamas to accept Egyptian ceasefire proposal
20) Netanyahu: Future funds to rebuild Gaza must be linked to its demilitarization
21) Obama demands an immediate, unconditional ceasefire in Gaza
22) ‘Kerry told Hamas many of its demands would be met under ceasefire deal’
23) Leaked document confirms US ceasefire bid generous to Hamas
24) Kerry ‘completely capitulated’ to Hamas in ceasefire proposal, say Israeli sources
25) Report: Kerry truce draft ignores Israeli demands
26) Abbas fumes at Kerry over alternative ceasefire bid
27) IDF to hold fire in Gaza’s Shejaia despite Hamas breaking humanitarian truce
28) Israel working to ensure EU foreign ministers don’t mix settlements with Gaza at upcoming meeting
29) Envoy says US will work to get Abbas back ruling Gaza after conflict over
From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).
We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).
Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l