Even as Israel begins to celebrate her 70th anniversary as a nation, thousands of Palestinians gathered for violent protests and riots at the Israeli – Gaza border in an effort to seize control of the land of Israel. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) officials reported numerous clashes between Israeli troops and as many as 17,000 Palestinians during the beginning of a so-called “March of Return” to take back the land of Israel. The march was organized by Hamas the terror group that has had control of the Gaza Strip since 2007. At the time of this writing, details were still emerging but officials in Gaza reported more than a dozen deaths and more than 1000 were wounded by tear gas, rubber bullets, and live rounds fired by Israeli soldiers. According to various Israeli news outlets, the Israeli military had been warning for days that it would not tolerate any encroachment by Gazans across the Israeli border. Soldiers were authorized to use live ammunition in the event of border incursions. Israeli General Ronen Manelis said that live ammunition was only being used against those who were actively attempting to breach the fence. Israeli military spokesman estimated they saw “about 30,000 Palestinians in five locations along the fence, burning tires and throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at the fence and at IDF troops who are responding with riot dispersal measures and shooting at a number of key instigators.”
Attempt to Incite Attacks
An Israeli military official told CNN that two of those killed were members of Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza. Israeli Air Force fighter jets also targeted three Hamas sites after an alleged shooting attack in northern Gaza was thwarted, according to an IDF statement. The rioting is so intense that Israel also deployed tanks and snipers. Witnesses said a drone had been used in at least one location to drop tear gas. The Israeli military oversees a zone along the Gaza border and has doubled its troop presence for the protest. It fears the protest could be an attempt at a mass breach of the border. The Israeli foreign ministry has said the protest is a “deliberate attempt to provoke a confrontation with Israel” and that “responsibility for any clashes lies solely with Hamas and other participating Palestinian organizations.” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman took the unusual step of tweeting in Arabic, accusing Hamas of playing with the lives of citizens and warning people not to take part in the riots. With 30,000 people massing on the borders in a large scale riot we cannot help but be reminded of the biblical warnings of Israel’s enemies surrounding her.
Relevant Bible Passages
The Bible plainly teaches that Israel’s enemies will terrorize her with increasing intensity as the Last Days become increasingly more imminent (cf. Joel 2:11; 3:2, 9, 14; Psalm 2:1-3; Zechariah 14:2-3). Likewise, the Bible frighteningly warns us that when we can see Israel surrounded by her enemies, we should know that desolation is near (Luke 21:20, 22). Israel is indeed surrounded by her enemies which makes the defensive measures in this most recent event all the more necessary. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that such defense of Israel and her people will be necessary until Christ returns to reign over the earth (Ezekiel 13:10; Jeremiah 8:11 cf. Matthew 24: 21-22). Sadly, literally throughout Israel’s 70-year history she has been surrounded by her enemies. With such a staggering reality in plain view we can only wonder how much longer the Lord will tarry.