Standing in the gap for Israel report 08/20

bible-in-handThe Word:  So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority [meaning it would happen at a later stage]. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria [what is now the so-called West Bank], and to the end of the earth.” And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Yeshua [Jesus], who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:6-11)

Look, a day is coming for Adonai when your plunder will be divided right there within you.  “For I will gather all the nations against Yerushalayim [Jerusalem] for war… On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which lies to the east of Yerushalayim; and the Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, to make a huge valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14: 1, 2, 4)

israel flagmovingPointers for prayer: Once again, as you read through this week’s Watching over Zion News Report please continue to pray in line with the Word of God (the Bible) over these areas.

israel flagmovingMuch of this report features issues with Iran’s terrorist proxies – Hezbollah, Hamas and the PLO groups. Once again, please pray for protection of the borders around Israel – especially from the constant threat of these terrorist regimes. “He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:3-4)

Of that hour, no one knows, but are we ready?

Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives - D SoakellI’m not sure how many of our readers use Twitter, but I’m amazed at how fast things move on this social network tool.  I rarely use this for personal use, however it is a good place to find up-to-date information relating to Israel.  Equally, I wouldn’t say that I’m obsessed by ‘end time issues’, but one of the twitter feeds I do follow is @QuakesToday which shows worldwide earthquake alerts based on USGS data.  Though I didn’t report it at the time (due to other priority stories), I was monitoring an earthquake that happened whilst CFI UK were working at the New Wine Christian Festival in Somerset.  No… the earthquake didn’t happen at New Wine (though the decibels from the music might have felt like one), but it happened in Israel.  With the epicentre in the Dead Sea area, tremors were felt as far north as Haifa.  It happened on the Thursday morning on July 30, 2015 at 5:39 local time, with a magnitude of 4.4, and occurred in an area that is the deepest depression on the face of the planet. Now you may be wondering why I’m bringing up this issue three weeks later.  Well it’s all down to a strange dream I had last night. Thankfully, when the earthquake happed in Israel, no people were hurt, however it is certainly worth considering the meaning of the event, especially in light of other recent earthquakes that have hit Israel and of course the catastrophic earthquake that struck Nepal a few months ago of which Israel were the first nation to respond to.

According to a paper by the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Israel (which can be read here), the Dead Sea fault is the most impressive tectonic feature in the Middle East. It is a plate boundary, which transfers sea floor spreading in the Red Sea to the Taurus collision zone in Turkey. In the PDF paper, Scientists have noted that the Dead Sea Rift has affected human civilization through time as well as the flora and fauna of the region. However, it should be noted that according to the scientists in Tel Aviv, the precise location of the recent earthquake was actually Jericho, known for its city walls that came tumbling down. It was rather ironic that during the second week of New Wine, the CFI team were inundated with children and teenagers coming to us to win stickers for prizes that the New Wine team were handing out.  The question we had to ask them was to tell us about the Biblical story of Joshua in Jericho, and we would let them attempt to blow the shofar. It was a great way to enable them to understand Israel.  I had no idea at the time that the recent quake’s epicentre had been Jericho.  This biblical perspective certainly seems in order when considering occurrences of geological proportions.

Dead SeaAgain, according to scientists, the recent quake was a result of tensions in the Dead Sea Fault which is part of the Syrian-African Rift. Experts have predicted that a major earthquake could occur in the near future and local authorities have begun projects to bolster building against such an event.  Tectonic tension is building and most geologists consider a major event to be inevitable which would rip right through the Mount of Olives.  According to research carried out, an earthquake in 1837 in the area killed as many as 5,000 people. The last major earthquake to hit the centre of Israel was a 6.2 magnitude quake in 1927, killing over 500 people and damaging sites, like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and al-Aqsa Mosque (both areas I personally would choose to avoid – and not due to fears of earthquakes!). On March 22, 2012, a 3.7 earthquake hit the exact region as well.

Needless to say, prophecies connected to earthquakes abound of which there isn’t space here to go into, but they do seem to emphasize their biblical significance, especially in regards to ‘End of Days’ prophecy. The two readings above from Acts 1 (which has already happened) and Zechariah 14 (still to come) is the very same Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel, from where Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) departed from at the end of His ministry on earth 2000 years ago, and will be the very place that He returns too at some point in the [not too distant?] future.  I find it remarkable that we read here what the prophet Zechariah wrote, approximately 2500 years ago and 500 years before Yeshua’s time on earth, yet concerning His return. In Matthew 24 we read that Yeshua warns us that “of that hour no man knows”.  But when we consider the uproar within the Middle East today; the increase of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism; the crass and sickening BDS campaigns, not to mention Iran… we may well wonder how long it will be before civilization is rocked to its core.  The question is, ‘are we ready?’

Peace with Hamas?

HamasTerroristsIs there going to be a long-term Israel-Hamas agreement in the works? This was the question Israeli newspaper, Haaretz‎, was asking this week.  Such a deal would remove the last obstacle in normalizing Israel-Turkey relations.  However, according to the Times of Israel, a Hamas-Israel deal is imminent, but to the dismay of Palestinian factions.  When one takes into account the amount of ‘cease-fire’ deals Israel has made with Hamas – only for Hamas to continue firing rockets – to say that I’m not expecting anything to come from this would be a bit of an understatement.

At the same time that many news sources are declaring ‘peace, peace’ when no peace is happening, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office have stated that Israel is not holding direct or indirect talks with Hamas.  There have been many reports that Israel and Hamas were on the verge of signing a long-term deal but this has led to official denials from Jerusalem and to deep concern among Fatah officials in the so-called ‘West Bank’.  PLO officials warned that any such agreement would pave the way for the establishment of a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.  Oy vey… really? That would mean three separate states of Palestine: One in Gaza, one in Judea & Samaria, and the one already in existence – Jordan.

However, no such talks between Hamas and Israel have appeared to have actually taken place.  There have however been talks between the Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Unconfirmed reports claimed that Hamas was ready to strike a deal with Israel in return for the creation of a sea passage between Cyprus and the Gaza Strip.  There was also talk of more Hamas terrorists being released from Israeli prisons – all unconfirmed.  Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, was quoted in a Gaza-based newspaper as saying that a long-term Hamas-Israel deal was in the offing, as was reconciliation between Israel and Turkey over the Mavi Marmara incident.  However, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office reversed a previous policy of not responding to the stories, instead issuing a denial of the reports.  “Israel formally clarifies that there are no meetings with Hamas… neither directly, through third countries, nor through mediators,” the Prime Minister’s Office said on Monday evening.  Along with this, in an official statement from Israel regarding relations with Turkey, a reconciliation agreement was still a long way off.  There is an interesting video link that is worth watching here:  http://bcove.me/9sswpkrd .

So could there really be a true peace agreement between Hamas and Israel? I personally believe that any desire for true peace regarding this would be firstly naïve (especially on Israel’s part) and secondly, it would mean that Hamas would have to renounce their terrorist activity and tear up their Hamas Charter – both of which are highly unlikely.  I remember the weeks leading up to the Gaza disengagement.  I was in Israel and had just been down to Gaza.  Interviewing a senior officer in the Israel Defence Force (IDF), I asked him if this upcoming disengagement – or ‘Land for peace deal’ – would really bring peace to Israel.  His reply was one of reluctance, but I understood his motivation from his heart felt answer.  He replied, “We have to do this.  We have to at least give it a try. I have lost too many of my men (soldiers) to not allow this to happen.”  Needless to say, we have seen the results of this so-called land for peace swap over the last ten years with thousands of rockets being fired at innocent civilians in Israel since.

Israel has tried peace talks with Hamas on many occasions.  They have given many Islamic prisoners (terrorists) back to Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and for what?  Would Hamas really cease rocket attacks?  It’s the old quote from the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah (13:23) again, who tries to persuade an evil shepherdess to become good but when he realises that it is impossible to convince her, he says: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?”

However, on Wednesday morning, I awoke to see some shocking headlines in the US WND news channel.  According to an ‘Exclusive’ report by Aaron Klein, Hamas have accepted terms of an 8-year truce with Israel, and his sources say, “ending rocket strikes and tunnels are included”.  And yet what is the headline news in the Jerusalem Post? ‘Spain condemns cancellation of Jewish musician Matisyahu at reggae festival’!  I checked many online news editions such as Arutz Sheva – Israel National News, yet there main headlines were all about the current Iran deal. Equally, there was no fresh news surfacing from my personal sources in Israel… very strange!

David on the Gaza borderAgain, from a very personal point of view, it would be lovely to see Hamas repent.  It would be wonderful to see the people of Gaza live without the evil ringleaders of Hamas controlling their lives.  It would be lovely to see peace, and even better to see the Arabs become Believers in the Lord.  Alas, call it lack of faith, but I simply can’t see any of this happening – though some are being saved through dreams and visions.  How I would love to see an end to what I’ve witnessed on many occasions on the Gaza border, watching through my binoculars of more rockets being fired towards Tel Aviv.  Yes, we can pray… indeed we must pray.  However, we can’t pretend what isn’t and in the cold reality, maybe never will be.

Would Israel want a peace deal with Hamas/PA?

Whether you love or loath the BBC, one of their popular programmes is The One Show.  On Tuesday August 18, 2015, presenters Alex Jones and Dan Walker were joined on the sofa by the wonderful Welsh comedian Rob Brydon who spoke about his role as an inspiring teacher in a new play.  However, for me, the most interesting part of the show was when Joe Crowley looked at the future of airport security.

At four minutes into the show, which can be viewed on BBC iPlayer here, the story is told of a British air steward, Will Chalmers, who had a gun pointed in his face by an Arab Palestinian who proceeded to hijack the plane.  Palestinian militants then blew up three planes that had been held at an airfield in the Jordanian desert.  Two of the planes had been captured by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).  The last plane was seized on 9th September on a flight from Bombay to London and forced to join the others at Dawson’s Field airstrip – a former RAF base. At the time, a spokesman for the PFLP said the destruction of the planes was the first step of their warning to the governments of Switzerland, Britain and Germany.

From that moment onwards, the BBC programme went into details of many more terrorist attacks on planes, such as in 1986 when Anne-Marie Murphy (five-months pregnant) had been innocently used to carry a bomb by her fiancé, Nezar Hindawi – a member of the PLO.  On the morning of 17 April 1986, at Heathrow Airport in London, Israeli security guards working for El Al airlines found 10lbs of explosives in her bag, which would have killed Murphy, her un-born child and her 375 fellow passengers to Tel Aviv. Hindawi, who was arrested the following day, was found guilty by a British court and received 45 years imprisonment.  The stories continued with the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers; the 2001 shoe bomber, and the 2006 attempt by 8 Muslims carrying explosives in concealed liquids. Throughout Joe Crowley’s report, every attack or hijacking was carried out by Islamists.

DSCF2051Taking into account that Israel has also been attacked by Arab Islamic forces in wars in 1948, 1967, 1973, along with two Lebanese wars, two intifadas – seen hundreds of Jewish people killed in bus bombings, nightclub attacks and café’s blown up – not to mention all the smaller attacks on individuals and given Gaza away in the ‘name of peace’ only to have had thousands of rockets fired at them from Hamas in return… would Israel really want a peace deal with Hamas/PA?   Actually, yes they would, as they are sick and tired of burying their dead.  However, as Golda Meir, Israel’s first female prime minister, stated during a 1957 speech, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

Iranian Propaganda Envisions ‘Conquest of Jerusalem’
I’ve written much in the past regarding the Iranian nuclear deal, which was brokered by the Obama Administration.  As mentioned in previous reports, this deal is going to provide the Islamic Republic with a huge financial windfall, and, if Netanyahu and many others who have poured criticism upon this deal prove accurate, fail to prevent it from developing atomic weapons, just what are the Iranian leaders going to do with all that money?  Well, Iran expects to get Russian S-300 missile defence systems according to Khamenei on twittersources.  Iran expects to receive the missile defence systems 30-days after the signing of a new deal with Moscow, a source in the Iranian defence ministry told Sputnik on Tuesday.  Tehran will send a delegation to Moscow next week for talks on the delivery of Russian S-300 missile defence systems.  However, on top of this, the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested that the first item on his spending list is to bolster the terrorist forces operating against Israel.  “We spare no opportunity to support anyone #FightingTheZionists” Khamenei wrote on his official Twitter account this week.

Just a few days later following Khamenei’s unsociable media statement, the following propaganda video produced by the ‘Islamic Revolution Design House’, an outfit with ties to the Iranian regime, was posted to the Internet – watch it here:

In the animated video, terrorists bearing the insignias of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah and Hamas can be seen readying for a final mass assault against Jerusalem.  The video ends with a message echoing the message of Ayatollah Khomeini: “Israel must be erased from the annals of history, and the youth will definitely see that day when it comes.”  So just why did the Obama regime allow this dangerous agreement with Iran to go ahead?  And just why does the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, think that he’s unsure that Iran really want to wipe Israel off the map, as its leaders have so often publicly threatened to do? The intention is clear: that in Iran’s opinion, it will be its terrorist proxies who ultimately carry out the regime’s deep ideological commitment to Israel’s destruction.  What more proof does Obama need?

David Soakell

(CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent)

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Christian Friends of Israel UK & Jerusalem, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio

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About David Soakell

Believer in Yeshua (Jesus). In full time ministry work. Passionate about Israel, and publishes a weekly Middle East News Report.
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