It was with great alarm that the world witnessed the escalating violence between the Israeli army and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in early May. It was the worst conflict since 2014 with Hamas launching hundreds of missiles at Israel who countered with its Iron Dome missile defense system and bombarded Gaza in return. Caught in between were innocent civilians on both sides leaving hundreds dead and thousands wounded.
Thankfully, a ceasefire was reached on May 21. But we all know that a ceasefire in this ongoing conflict will only last until the next issue sparks another war. The world has sought to help resolve this conflict for decades with ideas such as the “Two-State Solution,” but peace has remained elusive and resolution improbable.
This last fighting ignited over a Supreme Court ruling evicting Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. Jerusalem is home to a mixed population of Jews, Muslims, and Christians who each consider the city central to their faith. The Israelis saw the issue as legal enforcement, while the Palestinians viewed it as forced deportation and a land grab. There were heated protests on both sides. The spark turned out to be the Israeli police’s raid on the Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, due to protesters who were throwing rocks. Hundreds were wounded in the process. From there, Hamas rained rockets on Israel who retaliated with airstrikes.
However, the root of the conflict is ancient and a complex mix of religious, political, geographical, and historical aspirations. Since the Babylonian invasion around 600 BC, Israel has been displaced from its Promised Land, scattered abroad, and has sought to return and reclaim its home in fulfillment of God’s covenant promises in the Old Testament. When the United Nations granted Israel the status of a nation state in 1948, many viewed this as a significant fulfillment of this promise.
In the meanwhile, as Israel was dispersed over several centuries, the people who remained are eventually those we refer to today as Palestinians who became predominantly Islamic in religion and culture. They see the 1948 UN ruling as a grave act of injustice as they saw their claim to the land disappear by the vote of foreign powers. Thus, what you have today are two peoples and nations packed together with competing religious, political, and historical claims on the same piece of real estate.
Dozens of world leaders have attempted to make a name for themselves by coming up with the answer to this centuries-old conflict. Each one has failed. Interestingly, the one true answer to all of these problems was a Person who was born on that same land—Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9). Political strategies have failed because both the problem and solution are spiritual. It is only the love and righteousness brought about by the gospel that is capable of establishing lasting peace between warring peoples.
Every Nation has ongoing work in Israel, and it has been difficult. Nevertheless, the mission continues and hope is always rekindled as we reach both peoples one soul at a time. Let us pray for the gospel of Jesus Christ to take root in people’s lives, resulting in love and peace even among the opposing sides.
- Pray for wisdom on Israeli, Palestinian, and world leaders as they continue to seek a solution and arrangement that is acceptable to both sides. Ask God for fairness and justice to reign over selfish political interests.
- Pray against the agenda of both the Hamas and rightist groups in Israel who oppose ongoing attempts at peace and reconciliation. Ask God to expose them and their schemes. Intercede that their continued efforts to destabilize the region be thwarted.
- Stand in the gap for the salvation of both Israelis and Palestinians. Stand in faith with all Christian churches and ministries in Israel as they continue to help disciple the nation and both peoples through the proclamation of the gospel. Pray that the Jews would see that the Messiah they had been waiting for has already come in Jesus Christ.
- Intercede for our church’s ongoing work in Israel. Ask God for a local man of peace to be saved who will serve as our future pastor and raise future leaders.
Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.
We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations every month.
To learn more about the situation between Israel and Palestine, you can check the news and resources in the links below.