Gaza Ceasefire takes Effect
Rapture Forum Staff: Chris
Welcome to the latest edition of the Rapture Report. This week's Rapture Report will focus on the newly inititated ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians. As of today Israel has entered into a temporary ceasefire with Hamas that is dependent upon continued halting of rocket attacks into southern Israel. Israel has been targeting the Gaza strip for about 3 weeks now making serious blows against the Hamas terrorist group.
The Haaretz newspaper is reporting that a ceasefire will start at 2AM local time in southern Israel between Hamas and the IDF. The ceasefire was announced by PM Olmert on Saturday:
Prime Minster Ehud Olmert on Saturday night announced that Israel's security cabinet has voted in favor of a unilateral cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, which will come into effect at 2 A.M. The announcement comes after three weeks of fighting in the coastal strip, as Israel launched a massive military offensive aimed at halting years of daily rocket fire on its southern communities.
PM Olmert went on to further state:
Olmert warned that Iran, through its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, was trying to establish its own hegemony in the region. He said that Hamas had underestimated Israel's decisiveness, had been "surprised" by the launch of the offensive, and was still not fully aware of how badly it had been damaged. Olmert said that "if Hamas entirely ends its rocket fire on Israel, Israel will consider an IDF withdrawal from the Gaza Strip." If that did not occur, he said, "The IDF will continue to operate in order to protect our citizens."
The agreement of the ceasefire came to be viewed negatively by returning troops who felt that the work remained unfinished in Gaza. Many soldiers stated that Hamas had been hit hard, but that more work was needed. A YNetnews article reported:
"We could have done a lot more. There's a feeling the operation ended too early," one soldier told Ynet. He and his colleagues are staying alert in an attempt to block ceasefire violations – rocket fire – by Hamas or other Palestinian organizations. These soldiers maintain that an operation such as Cast Lead should leave Hamas "devoid of desire" to continue aiming rockets at Israel. "We can continue without a problem, in urban Palestinian areas, in Gaza City or anywhere else. All they need to do is tell us to," soldiers said.
Looking back now that the ceasefire has taken place it is my opinion that the operation ended too soon. The international community at times remained positive toward the lesson being taught to Hamas, but eventually the appeasement to the islamic world took place and the ceasefire occured. While a plus of ending the operation now is that short term fatalities will be avoided, it is apparent that if Hamas returns to firing rockets into Israel that the IDF will be forced to return later. It is my opinion that Hamas will definitely resort to future rocket attacks against Israel. Hamas does not appear at this time to be willing to give up "resistence" in order to deal with the so called occupation on a diplomatic level. For Hamas, armed resistence is justified and will continue until they force Israel to be meet their terms and cease to exist.
Another Ynetnews article makes an excellent point stating that:
The unilateral ceasefire declared in Gaza brings Hamas back to power in the Strip despite the irritation of Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Mubarak, as well as Olmert, Livni and Barak. The truce also brings the relationship between Israel and Gaza to square one, where the war started.
The article points out correctly that a ceasefire basically brings Israel and Hamas back to square one before the fighting started. Hamas will come out of the hiding places and eventually restore themselves as the leaders of the strip. And I believe that Hamas will ultimately resume rocket attacks back into Israel once there has been a short period of calm after the ceasefire. This remains to be seen, but I suspect that it is highly unlikely that Hamas will give up the armed resistence and halt rocket attacks.
The article summed up by saying:
Hamas' military wing indeed suffered a harsh blow, yet the group's chief commander, Ahmed Jabari, is still capable of managing a war and firing rockets to Kiryat Gat, and he still has more than 10,000 fighters who did not break at his disposal. The war deepened the schism within the Arab world, yet Hamas boosted its legitimacy even in Turkey. The war also deepened the schism between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and now Hamas will not allow Abbas any foothold in Gaza.
An Israel National News article is now reporting that Palestinian armed groups have given Israel a week to leave the Gaza strip.
Hamas and other Gaza terrorist groups announced on Sunday afternoon that they would give Israel a week to withdraw ground troops from the Hamas-controlled area, according to Agence France Presse. Mussa Abu Marzuk, the deputy leader of Hamas's politburo, said in Damascus, "We in the Palestinian resistance movements announce a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and demand that enemy forces withdraw in a week and open all the border crossings to permit the entry of humanitarian aid and basic goods."
While Israel made many strides in destroying Hamas operational ability in the Gaza strip, including the assassination of several prominent Hamas leaders, the ultimate end result was that Israel was once again through international pressure made to end their military operation before completing their goals. The IDF did state that they achieved all operational goals in the fighting, but this remains to be seen if Hamas returns to firing rockets at Israel. If they do, which I suspect they will, it will just reaffirm the belief that once again the IDF was not allowed to finish the job. This lack of finishing the job is what gave a big blow to Israel's deterrent factor during the Second Lebanon War.
The following days and nights will be especially trying as Israel completes the ceasefire and redrawing of troops in the immediate area. We need to pray for Israel as they go about their work and that the God of Israel, who neither sleeps or slumbers, will continue to watch over his chosen people as we head to the final redemption of mankind.
For prophecy watchers, the current situation is especially interesting in light of the Psalms 83, Isaiah 17, and Ezekiel 38-39 scriptures. If the rocket attacks do continue on, we could see a strong hand be applied to the Palestinians that could lead us to the fulfillment of these scriptures. While only time will tell, let us remain sober and watching for the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ.