Understanding Israel’s War: The Deadly Ring of Fire
Dr. Jim Garlow's crucial seven-part series concludes.
Please read Parts 1 through 6 before reading this, Part 7 of “Understanding Israel’s War.”
Summary of the Attempts to Destroy Modern Israel
This is only a partial list of what the Jewish nation has been through since the 1947 vote to create the modern state of Israel:
- Israeli War of Independence (November 1947–July 1949)
- Suez Crisis (October 1956)
- Six-Day War (June 1967)—Israel is attacked by Arab neighbors on the south, west, and north: Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. In addition, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Algeria sent troops and assistance to attack Israel. In only six days, vastly outnumbered Israel miraculously regained East Jerusalem from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria, and Sinai and Gaza from Egypt.
- Yom Kippur War (October 1973)—Egypt and Syria intentionally launch a surprise attack on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur in an attempt to regain the territories lost to the Israelis during the Six-Day War. Once again, Israel won.
- Palestinian aggression in South Lebanon (1971–1982)
- 1982 Lebanon War (1982)
- First Intifada (1987–1993)—A large Palestinian uprising in the West Bank (Samaria and Judea) and the Gaza Strip.
- Second Intifada (2000–2005)—Second Palestinian uprising, a period of intensified violence, which began in late September 2000.
- 2006 Lebanon War (Summer 2006)
- Gaza War (December 2008–January 2009)
- Hamas rocket attacks on Israel (2014)—An IDF offensive after the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, with continual attacks on Israel by Hamas militants, and discoveries of several dozen tunnels into Israel for the purposes of terrorizing and killing civilians. (Note: I was there during the rocket attacks in 2014 and had the opportunity to see the Iron Dome in operation, operated by 18- and 19-year-old female Israeli Defense Force soldiers.)
- Hamas rocket attacks on Israel (2021)—ongoing. Whereas in 2014, 2,500 rockets were fired on Israel over 50 days, Hamas has already fired 3,100 rockets at Jewish communities in the first six days of this war. In addition, civil unrest has developed in many communities with Muslim Arabs rioting.
In between these wars and uprisings against Israel is a much longer list of continual skirmishes, resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent Israeli civilians.
The Iron Dome is a highly sophisticated missile defense system, in which young female IDF soldiers have a few seconds to make a decision to fire the interceptor, based on computer readouts of whether the Hamas rocket is going to fall into a nonpopulated area or not. This advanced defense system was jointly developed by the U.S. and Israel working together.
The Complexity of the Enemies of Israel
On one of our trips to Israel several years ago, we received a most sobering report. We were taken to the Israel-Syria border where we were met with members of the Israeli Defense Forces. Pointing to some villages in the distance, our guide said (at that time), “That village is now controlled by Hezbollah, that one by al Nusra (a branch of al-Qaeda), the next one by al Nusra, the next one by the Syrian Army, the next one by al Nusra, then the next group of villages are controlled by some fifty different Jihad groups, and then down there, is ISIS.” One half million Syrians have been killed, with millions more displaced.
Why Not Just Split the Land?
Many have advocated that they just just chop up the land and split it between the Palestinians — mainly Muslim — and the Jews. Some claim that if Israel just gave land to the Palestinians, referred to as the “two-state solution,” then peace would prevail. The fact is that Israel has given up land and offered land repeatedly, but the Muslim Arabs continue to attack Israelis.
Remember, Israel is tiny, only one-sixth of 1 percent of the Middle East. The remaining twenty-two Arab nations have 99.8 percent of the land. Israel is only nine million people surrounded by three hundred million Arabs, many of whom want them dead.
In the Middle East, it is not uncommon to see maps that show Israel wiped off the map — literally. Here is an example of a map of the Middle East with no Israel.
Even so, Israel has repeatedly offered land for peace:
- Offer Number One—1937. The Peel Partition Plan. The British offered to divide Palestine into a Jewish State (20 percent) and an Arab State (70 percent) with 10 percent or so to be retained by Britain. The Zionists approved partition but asked for a larger percentage. The Arabs of Palestine and beyond completely rejected the idea of partition.
- Offer Number Two—1947. The United Nations Partition Plan. The UN offered to divide Palestine 50/50 into a Jewish State and an Arab State. The Jews said yes. The Arabs rejected partition and launched a war to destroy the Jewish state.
- Offer Number Three—1967. Israel won the Six-Day War and conquered the “West Bank” (Judea and Samaria). Shortly thereafter, the Israeli cabinet split between those who wanted to return the “West Bank” to Jordan and those who wanted to give it to the Palestinians. In September, the Arab League issued its three no’s: “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.” That ended the debate over the West Bank.
- Offer Number Four—2000. At Camp David, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat all of Gaza, Arab East Jerusalem and approximately 94 percent of the West Bank with some land swaps from Israel. Arafat said no. Shortly thereafter, the bloody second intifada was launched and over a thousand Israelis were killed in terror attacks.
- Offer Number Five—2008. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Mahmoud Abbas all of Arab East Jerusalem and approximately 96 percent of the West Bank with land swaps from Israel proper equal to the remaining 4 percent. Gaza had already been given to the Palestinians in 2005. Abbas asked for time to think about the offer. He never got back to Olmert.
The Palestinian Authority does not want some land. They want all the land. With the Jews gone. You cannot negotiate with people who want you dead. For those who call for a two-state solution, understand that we already have a two-state solution. In the forming of present-day Israel, Britain lopped off a stunning 77 percent of Israel’s land mass to form the State of Jordan in 1948. The Jews accepted the remaining 23 percent of the land for themselves. Arabs who do not desire to be with Jews can live in Jordan.
Furthermore, all the land that the Jews owned then was purchased. They paid for it. For decades they bought swamps and deserts. They rehabilitated the land. The same Arabs that sold it to them then wanted it back once they saw that it could be developed. (Land changes hands two ways: by purchase or through war. The Jews have gained land by buying it, except during the wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973.)
People forget that before the Jews returned to Israel (then labeled “Palestine” by the Romans) it was desolate, mainly just swamps and deserts. Well known American literary figure Mark Twain visited Palestine in 1867 and wrote that the country was “a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken land.” Why is his famous quote important? Two millennia of abuse of the land, with water and wind erosion, had resulted in the land being non-productive. As the Jews returned to Israel, they purchased much of the swamp and desert land. They lovingly restored the land — literally — and thus it is now one of the most productive places on earth.
The Arabs who choose to live under Israeli authority have many rights and privileges. They can be elected to office. Arab Muslims serve in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. Some even serve on the Supreme Court. In fact, many Arabs living in the “West Bank” (Samaria and Judea) prefer Israeli control over the Palestinians. Yet the demand for Israel’s land never ends. If Israel were to give up total control of the West Bank, Israel would only be nine miles across at one point and unable to defend itself. Israel is here to stay, something the enemies of Israel need to learn.
One of my favorite T-shirts is a list of the nations that have opposed Israel. What do they all have in common? These empires are gone. Why? If you bless Israel, you will be blessed. If you curse Israel, you will be cursed. If you don’t like it, take it up with God.
Summary of the Ring of Fire Around Israel
The good news is that Israel has peace treaties with Egypt to the south and Jordan to the East. And the much touted Abraham Accords were joined by United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Monaco. Time will tell what the accords actually mean, in terms of support for Israel. But that is where the good news ends.
The bad news is that Iran has proxy terrorists placed all around Israel, a type of a “ring of fire.”
Southwest: Hamas has many rockets — 15,000 or perhaps more — that they are now firing upon Israel from Gaza. Hamas has a charter that states its goal is to destroy Israel.
North: Israel faces Hezbollah’s estimated two hundred thousand sophisticated missiles from the north, in Lebanon.
Northeast: Syria and the Assad regime have Iran and Hezbollah provided ballistic missiles.
East: Iraq has Shia militia from Iran poised to harm Israel.
East: The master of the evil in the Middle East is Iran, which has ballistic missiles that can cover all of Israel.
South: In Yemen, the Houthi rebels have a growing arsenal of missiles and attack drones.
How would you like to live in such a community? No wonder Israel has to defend herself.
When you hear liberal secularists or so-called leftist “Christians” (an oxymoron) falsely accusing Israel of attacking innocent Muslims around them, know that they are either deceived or are trying to deceive. Be prepared to refute their false statements with the truth.
And above all, pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
(Note: Portions of this newsletter were taken from Well Versed by James Garlow, or from This Precarious Moment by James Garlow and David Barton.)
Dr. Jim Garlow is CEO and Founder of Well Versed, bringing biblical principles of governance to governmental leaders and you.