All readers are aware, I’m sure, of the dangerous and escalating conflict between the Hamas faction that controls Gaza and the Israelis. While the apparent incident which started the exchanges of military action between Gaza and Israel was the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens by Islamic terrorists, There has been an on-going provocation by Hamas against Israel that goes back far longer than the tragic deaths of the three Israeli teens. As I heard an Israeli spokesman say on a cable-TV news interview, there have been approximately 8,000 rockets of various sizes fired at Israel by Hamas and other Islamic radicals in Hamas in recent years. That is a completely intolerable situation and any nation would have the right to wage war to stop such a prolonged attack against its people.

The first link has a variety of updates about the state of the conflict. As this is written, there are reports of 30,000-40,000 Israeli reservists being called up to military duty in an impending ground action into Gaza. Israeli armor is also being massed along the Gaza border. Israel has launched ground actions into Gaza before and they have had no lasting effect. That is why I think that if Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gives the order to attack Gaza, Israeli forces will move aggressively to stop the rocket barrage for good. This is especially vital as Hamas is now firing longer-range missiles at Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Dimona, etc. Hamas’ firing missiles at Dimona is especially threatening, as that is where Israel’s nuclear reactor is located. Reportedly, Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system has shot down up to 90% of the Hamas rockets, but all rocket firings require Israelis to head for bomb shelters so Israeli society is being partially paralyzed by these attacks.

The second link reports an ominous development that may indicate a wider war may occur. Rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanon, where Hezbollah is in charge. Israel responded with an artillery barrage. This report is somewhat personal for me as I stood along the northern defensive border-fence between the Israeli and Lebanese borders in the year 2000. I realize how close Israeli homes are to the border and I looked into Hezbollah-controlled territory and realized how close Hezbollah weaponry is to Israeli civilian areas. If Hezbollah enters the conflict to support Hamas by firing large volumes of rockets and missiles at Israel, a major war would, I think, be inevitable. Indeed, Israel may even decide to strike Iran if the war widens as Iran has supplied Hezbollah with its missiles and there are media reports that Iran is responsible for smuggling missiles into Hamas.

Now for some personal comments. The effort by Hamas and Hezbollah (and others) to extinguish the state of Israel will not succeed. The Bible records that the Creator God preordained that Judah (the Jews) would have a nation in the old Promised Land in the latter days of our age and that its territory would include the coastal Mediterranean shores and the city of Ashkelon (Zephaniah 2:1-7). When the British Mandate ended in 1948, the Jewish sector of old Palestine was located along the coastal Mediterranean shores connecting a portion of Galilee and the Negev desert region. Ashkelon was in the Jewish sector. Clearly, a Divine Hand had to be acting to so precisely fulfill the prophecy of Zephaniah 2 given perhaps 2600 years ago! Therefore, the Israelis have a Divine Right to their nation, and God further states he will intervene to defend and rescue them in a future age-ending apocalyptic war (Zechariah 12 and 14) when the Messiah comes. Anyone needing evidence that we are living in the biblically prophesied “latter days” is invited to read my article that addresses this subject.

I’ve watched cable TV coverage of the Israeli-Hamas conflict and there is a disproportionate coverage of the admittedly tragic suffering of the Palestinian citizens in Gaza from Israeli bombings. There are two reasons for that. One is the Israeli strikes are far more effective than the Hamas rockets and missiles (most of which are shot down by Israeli defense systems). The second is, I think, a pro-Palestinian bias in the news reporting. The BBC seems most pro-Hamas in my opinion. That seems apparent as BBC reporters freely move within Gaza wherever they want with Hamas permission and protection. This would not happen unless Hamas was reasonably sure the BBC would present mostly pro-Hamas coverage to the world.

Let us have a recollection of the regard for civilians during recent global wars. During the Blitz of London, the destruction of Coventry and damage to other British cities in World War II, did the Germans care about how many British civilians died? Of course not. They were trying to maximize those casualties. When the Germans bombed or shelled Russian cities, did they care about how many civilian casualties were inflicted? No. When Japan bombed and shelled Chinese cities in World War II, did they care how many Chinese civilians died? No! When the fortunes of war changed and Germany and Japan were bombed heavily by US and British bombers and shelled by advancing Russian troops marching through eastern Europe into Germany, did the allies care about how many Axis civilians died in their bombings and shellings? No! They were trying to maximize the number of civilian deaths in the bombing raids to break the spirit of the German and Japanese populations. Indeed, while the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki receive the most attention, the fire-bombing of Tokyo and the Dresden firestorm from allied bombing may have killed as many (or more) Japanese and German civilians than either of the nuclear bomb attacks. When the “ethnic-cleansing” wars occurred in the Balkans, did the combatants care about how many civilians got killed? No! They killed many thousands of civilians and sometimes it was done in mass execution-style killings. Do the warring sides in the current civil wars in Syria and Iraq care about how many civilians or unarmed people get killed? No! Many thousands of civilians have died and there are reports that both Sunnis and Shiites have both committed atrocities in execution-style killings of the other side. The ISIL Islamic radicals occupying parts of Syria and Iraq seem particularly willing to kill innocent and unarmed people.

Contrast these above policies of unrestricted warfare against civilians that the USA, the UK, Russia, Germany, Japan, Balkan nations and Islamic nations have practiced with Israeli policies. If Israel were to adopt the war-fighting policies of the above nations favoring unrestricted bombing and killing of civilians, the Israeli air force could simply bomb Gaza City to rubble, with no buildings left standing afterward. They could make it look like Berlin after World War II. The Great Powers and other nations would have no moral right to condemn such an attack as that is the tactic they used in their recent wars. However, Israel has been so careful to avoid needless civilian deaths that it sometimes telephones the houses or buildings in Gaza that will soon be struck by bombing attacks so civilians can vacate and save their lives. Amazing! Did the USA drop leaflets on Hiroshima or Nagasaki before dropping the first two nukes on those cities so civilians could get out? No. The USA wanted to inflict maximum civilian casualties to convince the war party in the Japanese government that the war had to end. That tactic worked.

Given the above, if the Israelis decide to go for a decisive and permanent military victory in Gaza (or Southern Lebanon if the conflict spreads) and there are high casualties, the nations of the world have no moral ground to object. The conflict could end right away if Hamas would permanently stop firing rockets at Israel. Then Israel would stop responding with air strikes. However, Hamas shows no sign yet of ending their rocket barrage of Israeli cities. Therefore, a ground war in Gaza appears to be drawing nearer.