Displaying items by tag: Middle East
The USA is resuming unconditional financial aid to the Palestinians without any stipulation that the PA end human rights violations and assaults on public freedoms. Lawyers for Justice said that the forms of torture in the PA-controlled Jericho Prison included hanging detainees from the ceilings, beatings, verbal abuse and electric shocks. ‘The Future List calls on all electoral lists approved by the Central Elections Committee, all human rights bodies and all honourable people of this country to form a united front to confront the arbitrary political arrests that aim to silence every free voice that rises in the face of tyranny and corruption practiced by the Palestinian Authority.’ It appears the diplomats care little that the PA is arresting, torturing and intimidating social media users and political activists. Western journalists loudly raise their voices when damning Israel. International silence and absolute support for the PA encourages Palestinian leadership to continue their repression.
Psalm 122:6 tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Currently Israel is undergoing significant upheaval whilst still facing threats from Palestinians in Gaza.
Having seen 11 days of relative peace following a ceasefire agreed between Israeli and Palestinian forces, the Israeli military confirmed an aircraft attack in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday 16th June, retaliating against incendiary balloons deployed by Hamas.
The attack comes barely two days after the ousting of Israel's former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The attack reportedly targeted Hamas armed compounds in response to incendiary balloons that were deployed from the area. The balloons caused 10 fires in fields of southern Israel, Reuters reported.
An unwieldy coalition calling itself “Change” has removed Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, after his most recent 12-year run. The eight-party coalition ranges from ultra-right religious nationalists to the secular hard-right, through the centre-right and residue of Israel’s left, to ally for the first time with an Arab Islamist party.
The new government will be led initially by Naftali Bennett, a champion of Jewish settlement. He is opposed to any Palestinian state and wants to annex most of the occupied West Bank and stands to the right of Netanyahu.
Yair Lapid, a former TV anchor and voice of liberal secular Israelis, whose party came second to Netanyahu’s Likud, is supposed to take over from Bennett as premier in 2023 and has provided what glue the coalition has.
Netanyahu’s removal from office has been met with dismay by some evangelical Christian groups whilst others have reaffirmed their support for Israel and a desire to stay out of day-to-day politics.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu continues to challenge the legitimacy a the newly formed Israeli coalition, calling it the result of “the greatest election fraud” in the history of democracy.
Pray: that His peace may reign over the land of Israel (Psalm 122:6)
Pray: for Naftali Bennett as the new leader of the Israeli Government. Pray@ that God will Provide him and the Government with the knowledge needed during these most difficult of times.
Pray: that the ceasefire may endure and that a peaceful resolution to this complex conflict may still be found.
Sources / More: The Financial Times, USA Today,
The outcome of Iran’s presidential election on Friday could reshape the country’s political balance of power – and Tehran’s relations with its allies and rivals.
Conservative candidate Ebrahim Raisi is widely seen as the frontrunner to succeed Hassan Rouhani, the reformist president whose second term is ending. Two low-profile reformist candidates are also vying for Iran’s highest political office.
A win for Raisi, or any of the other conservative candidates, would signal a break from the reform agenda headed by Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif since 2013.
Raisi was quoted in local media as saying, “I have come as an independent to the stage to make changes in the executive management of the country and to fight poverty, corruption, humiliation and discrimination.” Yet under his guidance as judiciary chief, more than 620 executions have taken place, the majority originating in unfair trials and minority groups.
That, in turn, could have significant consequences for countries keen to engage Tehran on a range of issues, including the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, a series of regional conflicts and the detention of dual-nationals.
The Christian church continues to operate with incredible courage at this time, whilst facing ongoing persecution, threats and violence.
Pray: with thanks for the witness of Christians in Iran, their courage and perseverance. Pray that they will know heavenly love and protection.
A tunnel used by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza has been discovered under one of the schools run by UNRWA. The school was one of two of the organisation’s facilities damaged during the 11-day conflict. But now officials at UNRWA have confirmed that a terror tunnel ran directly underneath the school. Also Israel’s bombing of Gaza’s Jala Tower caused international outrage as the office block housed media organisations Associated Press and Al-Jazeera. However, the building was also being used by Hamas’s military intelligence services to develop electronic jamming systems against the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system. Israel has defended its reasons for targeting the high-rise building, which it gave notice to evacuate, and as a good-will gesture has offered to rebuild the media offices.
Israel: God’s chosen people in Scripture, the very bloodline of Jesus Christ: yet most Jews in Israel still wait for the Messiah, not realising or recognising that Jesus already came to save them. But the Holy Spirit is moving. A growing number of Jews are recognising Jesus as their Saviour, and Arabs in Israel are also turning to Christ. In fact, following the recent violence, Arab and Jewish Christians gathered at the Gaza fence to pray together!
We continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and thank God that the fragile ceasefire between Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups in Gaza is holding. Hamas claimed a victory, but Israel did great damage to both the groups - to their leaders, weapons, headquarters, tunnels and personal homes, and probably to their reputation among Gazan civilians. However Israel knows this war is not over - with Iran openly boasting it is the driving force behind it all. The need for intercession has increased. Father, according to Numbers 10:35, we ask You to rise up, and scatter Your enemies. May all schemes plotted by Iran for the destruction of Israel come to ruin. We lift to you whoever leads the next government. Please fill them with heaven's wisdom to bring about Your purposes for the nation. We praise You for being a God who answers prayer (James 5:16b).
Christians are increasingly being persecuted violently: by brutal IS in the Middle East, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and Hindu extremists in India. Release International issued a report on persecution trends in 2021. It is a wake-up call to take our prayers for our persecuted family to new levels. Nigerian attacks are driven by Islamist ideologies to destroy ‘the infidels’. 300 Christians remain detained without trial inside Eritrea. The Chinese government is increasing its ‘clean-cup’ of anything that does not advance the communist agenda. North Korea’s policy against Christians is the longest, harshest persecution in recorded history. Iranians constantly fear they are under surveillance when they meet secretly. The pressure has led to an exodus from Iran that will continue in 2021. Egyptian Christian converts from a Muslim background will continue to pay a high price for their faith and will be expelled from their families, divorced, and lose their employment.
A Christian journalist in Bethlehem said the unrest between Israel and Gaza is a ‘spiritual battle’. In Genesis God tells the Jews, ‘I will give you this land’. Muslims believe that ‘a Messiah is coming soon and will free Jerusalem and give Israel and Palestine to them’. In his opinion this is making for a spiritual battle in the Holy Land - a view partly echoed by a Canon of St George's Cathedral in Jerusalem, Rev David Longe. ‘I think it's quite clear that elements within each of the warring factions will see it as a spiritual battle, because they will actually look to Scripture to give them the grounding for the reasons why these actions are happening.’ Rev Longe is desperately concerned for both sides in the violence, and believes it is vital for people across the world to continue to pray for peace in the region.
Parents with Covid, unable to look after their children and living in Gaza, have problems bigger than childcare arrangements. One such couple sent their children to their grandparents' apartment, then two days later the worst violence in years erupted on their doorstep between Israel's military and Palestinian militant group Hamas. Rockets and mortars flew everywhere. The couple have no access to health services, despite their worrying symptoms, and they are struggling with the separation from their children as Israeli airstrikes pound nearby. Less than 2% of Gaza's population had received a dose of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of April, and thousands are evacuating to shelters, the above couple included. Medical staff and humanitarian agencies are worried the enclave could be hit by a third wave of Covid-19 as dozens of schools are transformed into shelters. The health ministry believes the wave has already started, with 30% of people being tested proving positive and over 100 in intensive care units.
Sirens blare, the ground shakes and many now spend the night in bomb shelters as rockets launched in Gaza rain down nonstop. Clashes between Israel and Hamas puts them on the brink of full-blown war. Previously Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) only fired rockets into southern Israel. Now they are sending dozens of rockets into the heart of Jerusalem. In response, Israel launched a military campaign in the Gaza Strip, demolishing Hamas news outlets, targeting Hamas headquarters, and killing PIJ and Hamas commanders. Hamas and PIJ have fired 1,000+ rockets at Tel Aviv and central Israel. The international airport has had to relocate to Eilat. Israel signed normalisation agreements with Arab states last year including the UAE, which has called on Israel to stop the violence and respect ‘the Holy al-Aqsa Mosque.’ Tensions began when Israeli police cracked down on Palestinians protesting at the mosque - followed by Hamas’s call to bomb Tel Aviv and kill Jews.