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Dan's Thoughts on the war against Israel

Just some quick thoughts about the recent violence against Israel, from my point of view as a Christian and a military professional. (Note: I wrote this on July 25th, 2006, while the Hezbollah attacks and Israel's military response were still on-going. Obviously, this will become old news quickly...)

Dan on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, in June 2005.

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
'May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.'
For the sake of my brothers and friends,
I will say, 'Peace be within you.' " (Psalm 122:6-8, NIV)

Please pray for and support Israel in this time of being under attack. Israel is under siege: militarily, politically, and spiritually. They need the wholehearted prayers and support of Christians all over the world.

God established Israel originally in the promised land, and has restored them to that land in modern times. God promises to defend the people of Israel and the land he gave them.

Sunset over the Mediterranean, Tel Aviv, June 2005.

I lift up my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip; he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:1-4)

Violent Islamists started the hostilities this time, just as they have for many years. Here's just a little of the history:

  • In 1948, immediately after Israeli independence, Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Iraq attacked Israel.
  • In 1967, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt prepared for, and provoked, the Six-Day War.
  • In 1972, Palestinian terrorists kidnapped and murdered Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.
  • In 1973, Egypt and Syria started the Yom Kippur War against Israel.
Hezbollah started it this time, by invading a sovereign nation without cause or provocation, and killing and kidnapping its military members. Under international law and custom, that's clearly an act of war. Hezbollah itself has declared "open war" against Israel.

(Please understand that I don't mean to over-generalize...There are Israeli government policies I disagree with, and I have many Arab Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world...but this situation between Israel and Hezbollah is very clear-cut.)

Hezbollah is at war with the United States, too. Hezbollah terrorists murdered 241 U.S. Marines, soldiers, and sailors on October 23, 1983 in the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut. And, earlier this year (2006), those arrested for planning to destroy New York's Holland Tunnel had connections to Hezbollah.

Beach in Tel Aviv, with Old City of Jaffa in background, June 2005.

"May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him." (Psalm 68:1, NIV)

There are fundamental differences between the two sides.

Israel is a sovereign state, with a democratically elected government. The Israeli military is doing what it should -- defend the country -- under the direct civilian control of its national command authorities. The Israeli military is protecting Israeli citizens and property, and attacking targets of military significance, intending to destroy the Hezbollah threat at minimum cost in civilian casualties.

Hezbollah, on the other hand, is a violent Islamist terrorist organization, unresponsive to the legitimate Lebanese government, bent on the destruction of a neighboring sovereign state, uninterested in any sort of peace, and supported and armed by outside powers (Syria and Iran). Hezbollah fighters are cowards, hiding behind Lebanese women and children, unconcerned about casualties among their own countrymen, and indiscriminately trying to kill and terrorize Israeli civilians.

Some say Israel has responded "disproportionately." That's a false interpretation. There's a difference between starting a war, and doing what it takes to end a war. In WWII, the US was attacked on its soil by Japan at Pearl Harbor. We didn't start that war, but we did what it took to end it. President Truman had it right when said, on April 16, 1945:

"Both Germany and Japan can be certain, beyond any shadow of doubt, that America will continue the fight for freedom until no vestige of resistance remains. We are deeply conscious of the fact that much hard fighting is still ahead of us. Having to pay such a heavy price to make complete victory certain, America will never become a party to any plan for partial victory. To settle for merely another temporary respite would surely jeopardize the future security of the world. Our demand has been, and it remains, unconditional surrender."

That's how it should be in this war.

Dan at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (a.k.a. Wailing Wall) in Jerusalem, June 2005.

"He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God." (Psalm 98:3, NIV)

War is not about proportion. War is about victory. Peace does not come through appeasement. Peace comes through victory. There's no moral ambiguity here. Israel is right. Hezbollah is wrong.

How should Israel respond? By winning the war. Decisively.

Should the U.S. and other nations of the world intervene? Yes...to help destroy the threat of Hezbollah, and Hamas, wherever they are found. Let's support Israel in their defense against the evil on their borders.

Most of all, though, pray! I pray especially that those on both sides of the conflict come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Those who believe in other things, or say that their faiths are equally valid, are deceived. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6, NIV). He alone is the path to real peace.

Sunset over the Mediterranean, Tel Aviv, June 2005.

all images © 2005 Dan Bullock