Tragedy in Gaza

By Hal Lindsey
Gaza is an ongoing humanitarian disaster.  In just the last few days, dozens of Gazans have needlessly died attacking the Israeli border.  They were killed by Israeli soldiers defending said border.  But that’s not the whole story.  They were really killed by the people they entrusted with their spiritual and physical well-being.
According to the Palestinians, a 10-month-old baby girl named Layla died on May 14th from inhalation of Israeli tear gas.  They said nothing about the potential harm that may have come to Layla from the deep, black smoke of burning tires.  Later, a Palestinian doctor at the hospital treating the child, admitted that she died of a pre-existing heart condition — not Israeli tear gas.  Nevertheless, within hours, the Hamas PR machine turned the baby’s death into international rage against Israel.  
Almost universally, the media blamed Israel.  But they ignored the more obvious question.  Why was a 10-month-old present at these horrific, violent protests?
The Los Angeles Times wrote that Layla’s 12-year-old cousin took her to the scene of the riots in search of the girl’s mother.  He knew just how to get there.  Hamas leaders provided buses to get as many people to the border as possible, regardless of their age.  How many adults saw him board the bus carrying the infant?  That bus was going to a war zone.  The bus driver knew it.  Every adult and young adult on that bus knew it.  It didn’t matter.  They let the baby go.
Layla shouldn’t have been at the border.  Her 12-year-old cousin shouldn’t have been there either.  Neither should the cousin’s mother, or other family members.  Did anyone really believe these women and children would successfully breach Israel’s line of defense?  No.
At least 35,000 Gazans went to that border because they were told to.  Gaza’s political leadership, Hamas, worked with Gaza’s spiritual leaders, the Muslim imams, to whip the crowds into a fury.  Hamas designed the event for a single purpose — to maximum Palestinian casualties.
Monday the 14th was the 70th anniversary of Israel’s rebirth as a nation.  It was also the day the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem.  Hamas and their allies wanted split-screen TV coverage of the event. On one side of the TV screen, they wanted the festivities of the embassy opening.  And on the other side, they wanted the screen to show death and mayhem. They got exactly that.
Hamas created the riots at the border and staged them for television.  They made certain there would be casualties.  In fact, it is a tribute to the Israeli Defense Forces that more didn’t die.
The media says the people of Gaza were reacting to their terrible living conditions.  And from all accounts, those conditions are bad.  People suffer from lack of food, jobs, money, education, and healthcare.  But how did this happen?  And why does the suffering continue despite billions in humanitarian aid pouring into the small area?
Let’s go back to February of 2005.  That’s when Israel did exactly what the Palestinians asked.  They unilaterally pulled out of the Gaza Strip.  Every Jew left the region.  Israel got nothing.  Palestinians got everything.  For Israel, it was a straightforward show of goodwill.
And Israel did not set the Gazans up to fail.  In fact, they set them up to succeed.  The Jews left millions of dollars in infrastructure.  That included five hundred acres of sophisticated and expensive greenhouses.  As Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza was being planned, NBC News said, “The greenhouses are a centerpiece of Palestinian plans for rebuilding Gaza.”
But immediately following Israel’s withdrawal from the area, riots broke out across Gaza.  During those riots, Palestinian mobs destroyed the greenhouses.  Chaos reigned.  
It didn’t have to be that way.  Israel wanted the Palestinians of Gaza to succeed.  They wanted and needed a secure and stable neighbor.  The nations of the world poured vast sums of money and materials into Gaza.  It should have worked.
Here’s why it did not work.  Just a few weeks after Israel’s withdrawal, the people of Gaza elected a known terrorist group, Hamas, to govern them.  With that choice, the Muslim people of Gaza chose hatred over happiness.  They chose death over life.  They chose rage over prosperity.  They chose failure when success was ripe for the picking.
A wide variety of both Muslim and non-Muslim nations have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization.  They include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, the United States, Japan, the European Union, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.  
Some of the suffering in Gaza comes from the isolation imposed on it by its two neighbors — Israel and Egypt.  Why does Egypt limit what goes in and out of Gaza from their side of the border?  Because they don’t want to import terrorism into their nation any more than Israel does.
The biggest cause of suffering in Gaza is the corruption of the Hamas-led Gazan government.  Hamas leaders live in luxury while nearby children go hungry.  They line their pockets with money brought into Gaza for humanitarian relief.
Much of what they don’t spend on themselves, they spend on strengthening the military arm of Hamas.  When nations send concrete and steel for building houses, hospitals, and schools, Hamas uses it on terror tunnels running beneath the border as they plan future attacks on Israel.
Gaza is a sad story — a reminder that elections matter. 
It is also a reminder of God’s promise to Abraham over 4000 years ago.  In Genesis 12:3, God said to Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse.  And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
The last part of that promise — the part about all the families of the earth being blessed — will soon be fulfilled.  It will happen when Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish descendant of Abraham, returns to rule and reign on planet earth.
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