Christian Living

Jerusalem Dateline

10 Things You Need to Know about Operation Protective Edge

1.     Hamas’s violent history. Since 2001, Hamas and other terror groups inside Gaza have fired nearly 14,000 rockets and mortars into Israel. That’s an average of three attacks a day. Those attacks increased after Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 to bring quiet on its southern border. The question remains: what other country in the world would endure such a barrage? For example, would the U.S. tolerate such an onslaught from Mexico or Canada?


2.     We’ve seen this movie before. In 2008/09 Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in 2012 it began Operation Pillar of Defense to end intense rocket attacks during those periods.


3.     Israel strives to reduce civilian casualties. While tragically a number of civilians have died inside Gaza, in each operation, Israel employed and employs precision strikes to eliminate the rocket attacks while aiming to protect innocent civilians inside Gaza. “Knock on the door” is the name of the policy. It calls and/or texts residents warning them of an imminent attack. They will also abort an attack if they know civilians are in the area. They have also dropped leaflets by the thousands to warn residents to flee. Hamas counters that policy by calling its people to act as human shields.


5.     Hamas and Israel employ two radically different styles of warfare. The Israeli tatement: “We use missiles (Iron Dome) to protect our citizens while they use their citizens to protect their missiles” sums it up. Hamas shoots missiles into Israeli civilian areas while shooting missiles from civilian areas inside Gaza. Israel regrets civilian casualties inside Gaza. Hamas celebrates civilian casualties inside Israel.


6.     Hamas is a radical Islamic group. Their charter states their movement “… strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine” (Article 6) and “ … the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realization of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: "The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him …” (Article 7). Hamas is the child of the Muslim Brotherhood and part of the same family as ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Israel’s fight is the same fight as the U.S. and the West.


7.    The calculus of the conflict: The world counts the casualties on both sides and inevitably shifts the blame towards Israel.  Israel invests millions in self-defense like the Iron Dome anti-missile system and a sophisticated nationwide civil defense program. This results in a minimum of casualties. Hamas often places its population in harm’s way resulting in hundreds of casualties. Israel’s lack of casualties and Gaza’s number of casualties leads to the conclusion that Israel is the aggressor when in fact; it’s defending its citizens. When Hamas stops firing, so will Israel. In the meantime, the diplomatic pressure grows on Israel to stop the fighting while Hamas survives to launch its missiles another day.


8.    Hamas disappears. During Operation Protective Edge as with the previous operations, Hamas leaders go underground. It’s reported Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is hiding underneath Gaza’s main hospital. They also control the image from Gaza. You rarely, if ever, see a Hamas terrorist firing a missile. What you do see is the suffering, the burials and the wounded. Civilians in Gaza are often the pawns in this conflict. Freedom of speech inside Gaza is not tolerated. While Hamas enjoys a great deal of support, you will rarely if ever hear a critical statement about Hamas. It might be their last.


9.     It’s not over. Unless Hamas is overthrown completely - an unlikely prospect - this conflict will likely have another chapter … and another.


10.  The Red Alert App has brought the conflict to the world. Now downloaded more than half a million times, the app tells in real time when a rocket is fired and where it’s headed. It gives Israelis a chance to find shelter. It also is being used by Christians around the world to redeem this situation and remind them to pray for all sides in this seemingly intractable conflict.