Turmoil in the Middle East: Is War Inevitable?

A tense ceasefire remains in effect along the Israeli-Gaza Strip border today.  Both sides seem poised for a protracted war like that which occurred in 2014.  Over the past week, hundreds of rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel causing serious injuries, property damage, and even a few deaths.  Israeli forces responded with an air attack that targeted strongholds of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both viewed as the persistent perpetrators of violence against Israel.  The Egyptians have worked diligently to broker the present ceasefire, but it is very fragile.  As long as Hamas remains in control of the Gaza Strip, and as long as Hamas continues to receive financial and military support from Iran, the threat of war will always exist.  From what I have heard leaked from President Trump's "Deal of the Century" peace agreement for the Middle East, he would like the Gaza Strip to be separated from the Palestinian West Bank and made its own autonomous entity.  Not sure how that will work out, to be perfectly honest.  While both Hamas and Fatah, the leadership of the West Bank, have differing ideas for governing, they have a unified goal: the complete destruction of the nation of Israel. 

Continuing with a focus on the Middle East, yesterday President Trump ordered an aircraft carrier task force into the Persian Gulf because of perceived threats from Iran against American interests in the region.  Is this just more saber-rattling by the Iranians, or is there some substance here?  It is most certain that President Trump would rather deal from a position of strength than of weakness, thus the order sending American ships and planes into the Middle East.  I thought I might have read a response from the Russians this morning but they have remained quiet as of yet.  I doubt that silence will remain as they come to the defense of their strategic ally Iran in the region.  Perhaps this is just another tune-up for the Ezekiel War. 

I read a very interesting article, written by Daniel Pipes, and posted at the Middle East Forum website: www.meforum.org/58404/making-sense-of-palestinian-logic.  "Palestinians do weird things: A few days ago, the Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules most of the West Bank, refused to accept the tax revenues it is owed by the Israeli government.  Today (May 4), Hamas, which rules all of Gaza, launched more than 200 rockets against Israel.  Both of these are, on the surface, self-defeating steps that make no sense.  Not taking the money means the PA could collapse; firing rockets means Hamas is getting battered militarily by the far superior Israeli forces.

"So, why do the leaders of these quasi-governmental entities take such apparently self-defeating steps?  Because they bring results.  Follow the logic:
   - Israel is thriving in nearly every domain, from demographics to economics, from democracy to cultural creativity.
   - The Palestinians feel isolated and weak because the Arab states have basically come to terms with its existence, leaving the struggle to secondary players such as Iran, Turkey, and the global Left.
   - No matter their weakness, leaders of the PA and Hamas remain committed to the elimination of the Jewish state, meaning that they cannot live in peace next to Israel.
   - Contrarily, the Israeli public cherishes normality and especially since the 1993 Oslo accords, has been ready to pay a price to keep the quiet. 

"Therefore, the Palestinians play a game of chicken, disturbing the quiet in return for an Israeli pay-off.  The Palestinian Authority says, give us the money you're holding back that we use to fund attacks on Israelis or our whole structure will come crashing down and you'll have a much bigger mess on your hands.  Hamas says, give us access to the money Qatar is sending us or we will make life miserable for you, with rockets raining down during your Memorial Day, Independence Day, and the semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest.

"Palestinian logic boils down to blackmail: You Israelis are rich, strong, and happy, so we will make you miserable unless you give us or give us access to more money.  It's weird, it's sick, but it usually works, especially given an Israeli security establishment for whom quiet is the first priority.  So, expect these tactics to succeed and to be deployed time and again into the future."

A friend of mine sent me the link to the following article: www.patriotpost.us/articles/62673-canada-silences-father-of-gender-dysphoric-daughter.  "A story coming from our neighbors to the north provides yet another example and warning of the inevitable nature of governments to trend toward tyranny.  As history has repeatedly recorded, power corrupts.  And as is often the case, those who gain power will often seek to leverage it in a bid for even greater authority to force their own agendas onto the governed - often dubiously cloaked in the cause for justice.  And always to the detriment of individual rights and freedoms. 

"The Federalist recently relayed the highly troubling story of a father who has been declared guilty of 'family violence' by British Columbia's Supreme Court because he objected to his gender dysphoric 14-year-old daughter receiving hormone treatments, and for publicly referencing his daughter using female pronouns.  BC Supreme Court Justice Francesca Marzari, who issued the ruling, said that the father's statement of biological fact - that his daughter was a girl - was a prime example of 'family violence of a public denial of gender identity.'  The justice then ordered that the father not expose his daughter to any materials that might 'question whether [her] gender identity is real or the treatments [she] seeks are in [her] best interests.... In other words, he is not free to speak his mind or opinions publicly, which is anathema to the very essence of freedom of speech.

"The reality is that even in the U.S., the Left would love nothing more than to suppress the free-speech rights of Americans.  And my leftist activists look to places like Canada with envy, while at the same time, many regular joe Canadians wish they had the individual protections provided by America's Constitution."

Friends, these are the days in which we are living.  These are perilous days to be sure.  But they should be very exciting days for you and me as believers in Jesus Christ.  For all around us we see the signs pointing toward the very soon return of Jesus Christ to sit upon the throne of His father David and to rule this world with justice and compassion.  We need to be listening for the sound of the trumpet and we need to be sharing His story with those around us.  What an awesome privilege and responsibility entrusted to us by God!


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