Blessed are the Peacemakers

Good Morning Beautiful People… Israel, We Stand With You

Rockets are fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair). The war in Israel has resulted in more than a thousand casualties so far.
Rockets are fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair). The war in Israel has resulted in more than a thousand casualties so far.

“This is our 9/11”: Why did Hamas attack Israel? What comes next?

“Babies, women, the elderly were dragged outside of their homes, were taken hostage. Civilians were shot and most were massacred in cold blood walking on the streets. This is something that, I mean, is truly unprecedented.” This is how Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan described the surprise attack Hamas launched on Israel by air, land, and sea early Saturday morning.

“This is our 9/11,” he added.

At this writing, more than 700 Israelis and about 413 Palestinians have died in the conflict; more than 2,200 have been injured. After declaring war for the first time since the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Israel launched retaliatory strikes against military compounds and locations connected to Hamas’s leadership in Gaza. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) announced this morning that it has retaken control of all communities around the Gaza Strip.

I have led more than thirty study tours to Israel, taught world religions at several graduate schools, and written books and numerous articles on Israel and Islam. In this context, I will view this tragedy with you today through the prism of geopolitical and religious narratives. Let’s ask why this is happening, then close with a practical and urgent way we must respond today.

Why did Hamas attack Israel?

Hamas called its attack “Operation Al-Aqsa Deluge” and claimed it was acting in retaliation for Israel’s “desecration” of the Temple Mount, but we should look beyond its words to its foundational beliefs.

Hamas” is an Arabic acronym for “Islamic Resistance Movement.” The terrorist group is part of a movement of radical jihadists who claim that the State of Israel stole its land from its rightful Muslim owners. They believe the Qur’an requires them to defend Islam by attacking Israel and anyone who supports the Jewish people (cf. Qur’an 2:190; 9:5). Since Israel is a democracy, they view its Jewish citizens, whom they consider “apes and swine” (Qur’an 5:60; see 2:65; 7:166), to be complicit in this “attack” on Islam.

Hamas has therefore been in conflict with Israel since seizing control of Gaza in 2007. Its goal is more than aggression against Jews, however.

Hamas published its official charter in 1988, calling for the destruction of Israel and raising “the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.” Its founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, stated that “reconciliation with the Jews is a crime” and claimed that Israel “must disappear from the map.”

To accomplish this goal, Hamas would need to do three things.

Continue reading >
In other news
1. What does it mean to have a bold faith?

Listen to the latest episode of The Denison Forum Podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or your preferred podcast platform to hear Dr. Denison discuss his recently released book, a commentary on Acts titled Bold Faith: First-Century Lessons for Twenty-First-Century Christians

2. “First Lady Laura Bush visited Brian in his hospital room, then hugged his wife Mel. She then told them that someone else wanted to see them. In walked the president of the United States.” 

Read more in this excerpt from Bold Faith.

3. A free course for you or your small group

The Greatest Commandment is our latest free resource for you: a self-paced online course on loving God and loving others well.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.