Israel is, by all accounts, entering a new phase in its war with Hamas. I’ve heard good and bad: Israel walked into a trap with this war; Israel is right on schedule.
One thing we know for sure; this is a complex and long-range war.
Before diving into the latest reports, I want to emphasize to all of us, including myself—stay focused. Don’t be distracted by negative news reports, or commentaries that cause you to fret. Our job is two-fold: pray fervently for Israel and keep our eyes locked on what Scripture tells us.
In this era especially, staying focused on what the text of Scripture actually says is much preferable to being pushed this way and that by a limitless number of online voices.
The most important thing we know is that Israel is here to stay.
Meditate on that and keep in the forefront of your thoughts.
Now, I noticed this week a photo of U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken meeting with Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. Tellingly, the U.S. flag is missing while the (made up) Palestinian flag is behind Abbas! At the same time, Abbas is checking his watch. All this was by design of the terrorists. Passive aggressive letting the world’s superpower that we have no respect for you at all. Through all this, the Regime in Washington continues to funnel our tax dollars to the PA/PLO so that they can, among other things, give money to the “martyrs,” murderers of Jews and their families.
As for the military situation, Israel has decided that the northern Gaza Strip is secure enough to simply maintain control, while intense fighting has shifted to the south. In particular, Khan Yunis is the nerve-center of Hamas activity and Israel is moving to dismantle it. Only yesterday, they announced they’ve found to date the biggest weapons facility yet unearthed.
Also, it is confirmed that Hamas arch villain Yahya Sinwar is literally using the hostages as human shields. This has prevented the IDF from killing him long ago. There are times when one feels that evil has degrees. Sinwar is on the higher end of the evil spectrum.
(Let’s not forget the threat from the north with Lebanon and Syria. To date, the IDF has killed about 200 Hezbollah terrorists, amid 620 terror attacks. At present, thousands of Israeli citizens had to leave their homes in the area.)
According to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center:
“The penetration IDF forces into Khan Yunis continued. They clashed with a large number of terrorist squads that tried to attack them. A UAV launch site, weapons and valuable intelligence materials were located in terrorists’ houses. The fighters also located a tunnel shaft, a rocket launching position, and a combat compound which were situated near a school and a kindergarten (IDF spokesperson, January 10, 2024). During the operation in the Khirbat Khiza’a area, the fighters raided terrorist facilities, many of which were situated in schools, youth clubs and municipal buildings, locating a large number of tunnel shafts, tunnel routes and weapons.”
The IDF is using heavy mortar fire to take the fight to Hamas in the south.
As to the hostages—the only card Hamas has to play—according to the report:
“In response to the report in the Israeli media about a new proposal for a hostage deal, which included the removal of the Hamas leadership from Gaza, senior Hamas figure Osama Hamadan claimed that in principle there was no such initiative, the talk of the leadership’s leaving was ‘an illusion,’ and the idea of disarming the ‘resistance’ [terrorist organizations] was naive and did not reflect an understanding of the facts. He claimed the reports in the Israeli media were ‘fraudulent and disinformation’ designed to calm the angry Israeli public, especially the families of the hostages. He reiterated that Hamas would not accept any prisoner exchange initiative unless it was based on a complete end to the ‘aggression’ in the Gaza Strip. He added that there was currently no talk of any initiative and they adhered to their position, which they had presented to the mediators as the basis for any idea or initiative regarding an exchange deal.”
Even my dog understands that the minute the hostages are all released, Hamas ceases to exist. The terror group’s gameplan is to keep them indefinitely, so that international pressure causes Israel to finally agree to a ceasefire. No one knows what the outcome of this will be, but the terrible decisions facing Israel come down to either fully prosecuting the war, or following the recent American model of failing to secure full victory.
In the meantime, the Regime in Washington continues its evil pressure on the Jewish state.
As for me, I am meditating on the beauty and security of God’s word. Things have looked bleak before, just ahead of an astonishing victory.
My bet is on the Lord and His People.