By Jonathan Falwell
I believe that the Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip is a just war.
Within hours of the Dec. 19 expiration of the "truce" declared by Hamas in June, the terrorist organization greatly accelerated the firing of Qassam rockets, mortar shells and Grad missiles deep into Israeli population centers, purposely targeting civilians.
Further, within a single week, 209 such projectiles had been fired, jeopardizing the safety of hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens and forcing the closure of 416 schools, 1,367 kindergartens and causing more than 195,000 Israeli children to hide day after day at home or in underground shelters. No other country in the world, with the means to do so, would stand by while her sovereignty was so blatantly violated and her citizens so egregiously terrorized.
James Phillips of the Heritage Foundation noted this week that "Hamas has essentially taken Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants hostage by putting a higher priority on killing Israelis than on protecting Palestinians." This is the hostile environment in which Israel must exist.
Therefore, it is my conviction that the Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip was forced upon Israel and was an effort of last resort by a sovereign state to defend her citizenry. I am convinced that the Israeli offensive was provoked solely by Hamas – the same organization that in the last several years has been responsible for numerous suicide bombings of buses, restaurants, cafes and supermarkets inside Israel. Hamas has almost exclusively targeted Israeli civilians, and has fired its rockets and mortars from its own most densely packed population centers in order to force Israel, in spite of its best efforts, to involve Palestinian civilians when defending itself.
I do not condone actions of war heedlessly – but I see no alternative for Israel when single-minded terrorists unleash weapons upon its citizenry.
Christians need to understand clearly that, in spite of the international community's best efforts, Hamas has refused to cease violence, recognize Israel or respect agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian authority.
I believe that Israel's actions are necessary because it is really their only option to halt the continued assaults on their nation. Hamas has continued daily to fire projectiles into Israeli territory even while Israel has continued to allow the free flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.
Clearly, Hamas, by continuing to rain down rockets and mortars on Israel, is knowingly and with premeditation inflicting horrific and totally unjustified suffering on its own people. This brutal and inhumane use of civilian populations, quite literally as political fodder, must cease.
I feel great sorrow for the suffering endured by both innocent Palestinians and Israelis at the hands of this terrorist organization. May God bless them, and may God bring peace to Israel.
I encourage Christians worldwide to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalms 122:6).