As 2017 ends, we see things heating up in the Middle East. Kevin Kallsen of Anglican Unscripted and Rev. David Pileggi of Christ Church Jerusalem talk about the building tensions in the region and what we should be praying about going into 2018.
This week has seen something unprecedented in the 70 years since Israel was reborn as a nation: a sitting United States president acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of modern Israel. Of all the things that Trump has done and said in his 10 months in office, this one has really made me think and ponder and pray.
The unofficial state of war spreads as Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza continue to strike Israeli cities, hitting Jewish civilians (and occasionally Arab citizens of Israel). These jihadi rocket attacks are shot from launchers deliberately positioned by Hamas among Gaza’s civilian population – a war crime by legal and ethical definitions.
Fast-moving events are transfixing Israel this week. The bodies of three Jewish teenagers murdered by their Hamas kidnappers were discovered. Jihadi rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip have been smashing into Israeli kibbutzim and towns even as we go to press. Saudi Arabia announced that it has moved 30,000 soldiers to its border with Iraq, concerned about the jihadi onslaught rolling like thunder across Mesopotamian fields.
The U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan had different original goals originally – the establishment of a threefold cord – Western democracy, a solid economy and a pro-Western military power. This week all three of those pillars have shattered with jihadi group ISIS taking control of Mosul and with the Iraqi government turning to Iran for help.