Gaza Strip violence highlights transformation

By December 14, 2015
gaza strip

Israel (MNN) — Another flare-up in Hebron and the Gaza Strip leaves three dead as Israeli-Palestinian violence enters its third month.

Gaza Strip map

The Gaza Strip

According to Reuters, one of the victims tried ramming his car into Israeli soldiers stationed near Hebron. In a separate incident near Hebron, a crowd of Palestinians attacked soldiers with rocks and hand-made bombs.

When another group of Palestinians gathered in the Gaza Strip to throw rocks at Israeli soldiers, resulting gunfire killed one and wounded five. Friday’s attacks are the latest in a bout of Israeli-Palestinian fighting that began in October and has killed more than 100 people.

Despair often seems endless with no immediate resolution in sight. And yet, hope rises.

Israel, Palestine, and the Gaza Strip

Israel and Palestine are like conjoined twins who hate each other. They spar constantly, sometimes inflicting grievous wounds, and each wants control over the other. The Gaza Strip is at the heart of their decades-old conflict.

Representative photo (Photo courtesy 8thirty8)

Representative photo
(Photo courtesy 8thirty8)

“Malik” was like any of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Jewish-controlled Gaza Strip, full of anger, hate, and blood-lust toward Israel.

“He’s had some tough things that he’s dealt with–land issues, family members that were killed, explains Tom Doyle, Middle East expert and author of “Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It’s Not Safe to Believe.”

“[It] would’ve been so easy to be bitter toward Israel. God gave him, instead, a love for Israel, a love for the Jews.”

Today, Malik is learning Hebrew so he can share the Gospel with Jews in their heart language.

“I think that’s one of the reasons that God has put me here,” Malik told Doyle during a recent visit. “I think, as a Palestinian man, that’s why God put me on this part of the planet: to reach out to Jewish people that need Jesus.”

It’s a powerful transformation, Doyle notes. Malik formerly hated Jews and everything to do with Israel, and he didn’t try to hide his disdain. Now, because of Christ, he’s eager to share God’s love with his Jewish neighbors.

The type of reconciliation Malik personifies has been sought by world leaders for decades.

Is regional peace possible?

gaza strip

(Photo credit: [ john ] via Flickr)

In 1993, the Oslo Accords were supposed to begin a new chapter of Israeli-Palestinian relations.

These five points would begin the journey of reconciliation:

  • Israel recognized the PLO as Palestine’s official representative.
  • The PLO renounced the use of violence.
  • The PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist.
  • Both agreed to Palestinian self-rule in Gaza and the Jericho area of the West Bank by 2000.
  • A five-year interim period would facilitate further Israeli withdrawals from other, unspecified areas of the West Bank.

More about the Oslo Accords here.

Unfortunately, threads binding the peace process began fraying the following year. Violent acts added pressure, and the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War severed any hope of compromise. Reconciliation has been a “long-lost dream” ever since.

“Politically, that’s never going to happen. That can only come through changed hearts, and only Jesus can do that.”

Ask the Lord to transform more hearts like He did with Malik’s. Then, look for the 8thirty8 page on Facebook.

“We’re gaining an army,” Doyle notes. “We just broke 14,000 prayer warriors on that now. People are praying, getting updates daily, from the front-lines.”

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