Israel is under siege. The ruling regime in Gaza, Hamas, pulled off an all-out surprise assault on Israel. In the early morning hours, Hamas rapidly shot thousands of rockets to overwhelm the ‘Iron Dome’ missile defense system and hit populated areas. Their fighters also flooded over the border, indiscriminately killing innocent people and taking hostages. This has forced Israel to resort to extraordinary actions, including the establishment of a temporary siege on Gaza. They are doing everything possible now to rescue the 150 Israeli hostages Hamas kidnapped. Hundreds of people in Israel are dead and thousands more have been wounded and traumatized.
This issue has a very personal resonance with me. I was at the White House when President Trump announced the historic Abraham Accords, and later when these documents were signed. I was also invited to pray at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, a world-historic event that took place five years ago. I believe the Accords and the embassy were key milestones of political, moral, and biblical significance.
Although the timing and the scale of this conflict was a surprise, attacks against Israel have been ongoing for millennia. Hamas has represented a brewing threat to Israel’s safety for as long as it has been in power. This makes it all the more baffling that Israel has taken so much criticism for so long because of its tough stance against Hamas. For too long, commentators on the left wing of American politics have criticized Israel’s defensive actions and ignored the vast moral imbalance between the two sides.
When you evaluate any conflict between Israel and Hamas, you have to keep in mind an essential difference. Israel is a proper nation-state; Hamas is not. Hamas is a terrorist organization. That’s not my opinion—Hamas has been on the State Department’s list of “Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations” since the 1990s. Hamas’s actions over the last several days have shown why. Hamas has taken innocent Israelis as hostages, and they hardly treat their own people any better. In the last week, Hamas has lobbed thousands of rockets indiscriminately over the Israeli border, aiming at population centers. They have taken hostages, victimized women, and murdered unarmed Israelis in cold blood. Sovereign states have the right and the duty to defend their people from this kind of unprovoked attack. Israel has every right to use the force required to repel these unjust attacks and to neutralize this dire threat to their safety and their lives.
The attacks by Hamas come from their claim over Israel’s land, claims built on a false theology and a false history. You can read any history book or just pick up a Bible and see—Israel is not a usurper of the land they have. They are the most well-documented group of native inhabitants to have ever occupied a piece of territory. God gave them the land they are now defending, dating all the way back to Abraham (Genesis 15:18–21). They should take every measure necessary to defend their people right now. And they should have US support both now and any time they are attacked by terrorists trying to take back what was never theirs in the first place.
Five years ago, when I stood outside the US Embassy in Jerusalem, I ended my prayer by echoing the prayer of the Psalmist: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem… Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” (Psalm 122:6–7). We should support Israel fully as she defends herself, while praying fervently that peace will come soon. Though many will assail her, we know that these Satanic schemes will always be fruitless. God has promised that Israel will endure forever. God is faithful. He always tells the truth. Every promise made to her will be fulfilled!