As basically anyone will know who has been following the news lately, Israel and Palestine- or more appropriately Hamas- are out to kill each other yet again. It seems to follow the same old pattern every time- Hamas fires rockets out of Gaza, Israel turns around and responds by trying to utterly blitz Hamas into the ground and ending up killing way too many innocent civilians in the process. Or maybe things are quite different than that. The pro-Palestinian lobby claims the Israelis are deliberately targetting civilians as part of a deliberate genocidal campaign to get rid of the Palestinians and turn the whole of the Occupied Territories into a complete Jewish state, the pro-Israeli side claim Hamas are deliberately using civilians as human shields (and get free international support for their side). As usual, it’s the ordinary folks, who may or may not otherwise be politicized, suffer, in huge numbers. Maybe the odd Hamas rocket, most of which are ineffective, get past the Iron Dome and hit somebody. Certainly a few Israeli soldiers have been killed.
And of course there are desperate pleas from the international community and all concerned for a permanent ceasefire for the sake of ending this dreadful suffering. Yet when all sides agree to a temporary ceasefire for three measly days to give the Gazans some time to patch things up, what happens? You go to bed hearing on the radio it’s going to happen, and wake up in the morning ot find it’s been broken yet again. Israel claims Hamas broke the ceasefire by firing more rockets, and responds with shelling; 53 dead. Hamas denies firing anything. Some civilians reported as acting as if the ceasefire was going on still, however. An Israeli soldier gets captured, 2 more are dead. And the whole bloodied roundabout goes on turning.
Now, as a Christian of the sort who believes the modern state of Israel to be some partial fulfilment of Bible prophecy, I really want to support them; I believe the idea of a restored Jewish state, in the wake of the centuries of persecution they endured, is a good thing, but not at the expense of those who were living there already. It does seem hard sometimes, when you see what the Palestinians have had to put up with since 1948, and when you see what is happening now (Gaza completely blockaded, settlements in the West Bank, seemingly disproportionate reprisals every time Israel gets attacked) you begin to wonder. Yet Israel has throughout its history been under threat, first from its Arab neighbours, now militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Can you blame them for trying to neutralize the threat of constant rocket attacks? I wonder.
In all honesty, feelings in support of both sides run so high, and there seems to be two completely different versions of events, that you don’t know what to believe. As with the Ukraine in more recent days, everything gets lost in the haze of propaganda and the fog of war. What I do know, is that people are suffering, and that there seems to be no easy end in sight. I’ve almost come to the conclusion that, if both sides could stop their fanaticism, maybe the two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders might be the best stop-gap until the Lord returns. I know, somehow, it won’t. But we must try to make the best of a bad situation.
Of course I’ve missed bits out- the murders that started the whole thing off, the new phenomena like the tunnels Hamas are now digging into Israel to attack it, and the Israelis going in on the ground in response, instead of just the usual airstrikes.
In time I may follow up with comments on the general insanity of it all, with more mention of Ukraine; and certainly it would be worth a discussion on what makes a just war, if at all. (To my mind, whilst conflict may occasionally be necessary, few actual instances seem truly justified, all things being weighted in the balance.) But that is for another day. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matt. 6:34).