Gaza Strip (MNN) — Tensions remain high following a ceasefire ending 11 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Two people died yesterday in a stabbing in East Jerusalem described by Israeli police as an act of terror.
Both Israel and Hamas claim victory following the latest flare-up, the fourth of its kind since Hamas gained power in 2007. The United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is pressing both sides to resume peace talks, which have been tabled for more than a decade.
“We’ve seen things that I never remember and I’ve been going to Israel for 25 years now – open fighting in cities where Arabs and Jews have lived together peacefully for decades,” Uncharted Ministries co-founder Tom Doyle says.
“One of the encouraging signs is that Arab and Jewish pastors are praying together during this time; the body of Christ is coming together. This is a strong message for the [global] body of Christ.”
Physical and spiritual warfare
The conflict between Israel and Hamas is complex and seemingly never-ending. More about that here. Internationally-brokered ceasefires calmed each major flare-up of violence in recent years and prevented regional war, but none addressed underlying issues – leaving tensions to simmer indefinitely.
“In 2014, Hamas attacked Israel in a major way, but this was over months of time. This [latest attack was] over 4,000 rockets in 11 days; this is massive,” Doyle says.
Fighting between Israel and Hamas reflects regional hostilities. On Friday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh thanked Iran for its support in the latest conflict. “Iran is fueling Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two major terrorist groups in Gaza. Iran gives them the money to exist and be an agitator to Israel,” Doyle says.
“We’re praying that this does not turn into a regional war.”
“Despite the recent establishment of the Abraham Accords, it is now fairly unrealistic to assume further deepening of Arab-Israeli relations without solving the Palestinian issue beforehand,” Professor Eckart Woertz, director of the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), told DW.
The headlines are full of geopolitical commentary, but Doyle asks believers to remember God’s focus. “There is something much more sinister than rockets going into Israel and Israel having to fire back,” he says.
“This physical war on the ground is a mere picture of the spiritual war raging in the heavenlies, and we’re the body of Christ called to fulfill the Great Commission. So let us not forget the issue is about souls; every soul matters.”
Find your place in the story
Now that you know, how will you respond? “Let’s pray for the peace of Israel, and that means Arab and Jewish peace. Pray that God restores calm; pray that the body of Christ would be major influencers in this [process],” Doyle requests.
“[Pray] that both sides [of the geopolitical process] would sit up and take notice. [Believers are] getting along because there’s something higher; [something] other than politics in this massive battle that’s going on.”
Ask the Lord to strengthen and sustain believers in the Holy Land. “Pray for the body of Christ to be emboldened; for the Jews and Arabs to stick together,” Doyle says.
“It’s a beautiful thing to see in Israel when Palestinians and Jews pray together because they love Lord Jesus.”
Header image depicts a wall at Netiv HaAsara facing the Gaza border continuing the words “Path to Peace” in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. (Photo and caption courtesy of Cole Keister via Unsplash)