Gaza’s Ancient Ruins Threatened By Rapid Spread Of Urban Sprawl

In the Huffington Post:

The ruins of this ancient complex sit on dunes by the sea, a world away from Gaza City’s noise and bustle. Up in the sky, birds compete for space with children’s kites flying from a nearby farm.

St. Hilarion’s monastery, a reminder of the time in late antiquity when Christianity was the dominant faith in what is now the Gaza Strip, is one of many archaeological treasures scattered across this coastal territory.

But Gaza is one of the most crowded places on earth, and the rapid spread of its urban sprawl is endangering sites spanning 4,500 years, from Bronze Age ramparts to colorful Byzantine mosaics, experts say.

Archaeologists, short of funds and unable to find sufficient trained local staff, say they are scrambling to find and protect the monuments. Some are left open to the weather. Others are engulfed by new development projects.

“Archaeology in Gaza is everywhere,” says French archaeologist Jean-Baptiste Humbert, who excavated in the territory from 1995 to 2005. He says it was once a “very rich oasis, with gardens, cities and you have settlements, dwellings, fortresses, cities everywhere, everywhere.”

The strip of land on the Mediterranean, sandwiched by Israel and Egypt, is now largely isolated, but once was a thriving crossroads between Africa, the Levant and Asia.

Today, about 1.7 million Palestinians are squeezed into about 360 square kilometers (140 square miles), an area roughly twice the size of Washington, D.C.

The need for housing is in Gaza greater than that for preserving ancient artifacts, said Humbert, who is affiliated with the Ecole Biblique, a French academic institution in Jerusalem…

Rest here.

 

Holy Land Franciscans Lament Ban on Co-ed Schools in Gaza

CNA reports:

A law in the Gaza Strip segregating classrooms by sex threatens the existence of Christian schools in the territory, according to the head of a Franciscan group that supports Christians in the Holy Land.

In April, the Hamas-led government of the Palestinian territory on Israel’s western border passed a law banning co-education for children above the age of nine. It also ensures that teachers and other staff are of the same sex as students.

“The goal is not integration but co-existence … and this recent ruling does not make that easy,” Father Peter Vasko, president of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, said of the relations between Muslims and Christians in Gaza.

The Gaza Strip has been ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas since 2007. Of the territory’s population of nearly 1.7 million, only 3,000 are Christians.

The ban on co-ed classrooms, due to take effect in September, will primarily affect Christian schools in the area. Most public schools, as well as those operated by the United Nations, are already sex-segregated according to Al Jazeera.

The law effectively threatens Christian schools in Gaza because of the prohibitive costs they will have to incur to provide for a substantial expansion in the number of classrooms and teachers.

“Having to close schools that are there for the very reason not only to educate but to encourage peace and cooperation among the various groups is very counterproductive,” Fr. Vasko said in a July 18 statement.

The statement added that the new law is “yet another threat to Christians in the Holy Land already under extreme pressure by both Israeli and Palestinian rule.”

Fr. Vasko said the co-existence of Muslims and Christians in the Gaza Strip means “we have to learn that each has their own identity but at the same time building positive relations together” and that “closing any Christian schools in the area would be a serious loss.”

Christians run five schools in the Gaza Strip, three of which are Catholic. Most of the students in the schools are Muslim.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem educates more than 1,000 Gazan children in their two schools in the territory, and the Rosary Sisters run another Catholic school in Gaza.

“We don’t have the space and we don’t have the money to divide our schools,” Fr. Faysal Hijazin, education director for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, told the Catholic Herald last month.

“This will be a big problem.”

 

Why the Free World Must Stand with Israel

The Telegraph:

 

The Israeli prime minister’s speech before the United Nations in September is a must-read for anyone who cares about the defence of freedom in the Middle East, and the wider war against Islamist terrorism. Netanyahu laid out in stark terms what he views as an epic “battle being waged between the modern and the medieval,” between the forces of freedom and “the medieval forces of radical Islam.” As Netanyahu declared at the UN General Assembly:

The forces of modernity seek a bright future in which the rights of all are protected, in which an ever-expanding digital library is available in the palm of every child, in which every life is sacred. The forces of medievalism seek a world in which women and minorities are subjugated, in which knowledge is suppressed, in which not life but death is glorified.

These forces clash around the globe, but nowhere more starkly than in the Middle East. Israel stands proudly with the forces of modernity. We protect the rights of all our citizens: men and women, Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians – Israel wants to see a Middle East of progress and peace. We want to see the three great religions that sprang forth from our region – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – coexist in peace and in mutual respect.

Yet the medieval forces of radical Islam, whom you just saw storming the American embassies throughout the Middle East, they oppose this. They seek supremacy over all Muslims. They are bent on world conquest. They want to destroy Israel, Europe, America. They want to extinguish freedom. They want to end the modern world.

Militant Islam has many branches – from the rulers of Iran with their Revolutionary Guards to al Qaeda terrorists to the radical cells lurking in every part of the globe. But despite their differences, they are all rooted in the same bitter soil of intolerance. That intolerance is directed first at their fellow Muslims, and then to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, secular people, anyone who doesn’t submit to their unforgiving creed. They want to drag humanity back to an age of unquestioning dogma and unrelenting conflict. I am sure of one thing. Ultimately they will fail. Ultimately, light will penetrate the darkness.

As Hamas’ rockets rain down on Israel, even striking Tel Aviv and threatening Jerusalem, Netanyahu’s words ring true. This is a confrontation between the freest country in the Middle East, and brutal terrorists blinded with hatred who seek to advance their goals by murdering civilians and indiscriminate terror. The thugs of Hamas share the same goal as the Mullahs in Tehran, who provide the bombs, weapons and resources used to sustain a huge terrorist enterprise – i.e., the destruction of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist state.

Hamas’ Iranian-supplied missile stockpile in Gaza is now estimated to be 10,000 strong. For the Israelis, this is a war of survival in an intensely hostile region. They deserve the full support of the United States, Great Britain, and the Western world, which must stand shoulder to shoulder with a close friend and ally. As Hamas’ offensive illustrates, Israel is the front line of a global conflict between the forces of freedom and the forces of tyranny and barbarism.

This is not just Israel’s war, it is ours too. The threat Israel faces from the Jihadists is the same threat the West faces on the streets of London, Paris, Washington or Berlin. Al Qaeda, which has had significant ties in the past to Hamas, will be closely watching the outcome of Israel’s military campaign. An emphatic defeat for Hamas will be a huge blow not only to the Islamist dictatorship in Tehran, but to the followers of Bin Laden as well.

 

Israel: Rockets Rain Down on Israel. Tensions Rise in the Middle East

Virtue Online:

Last night I was watching CNN and Jenny (5) said, “What are those? Rockets?” It was footage of the fighting between Hamas and the IDF. I answered (without thinking about it), “Yeah, they’re firing rockets at Israel,” and then quickly added, “But not here.”

So soldiers are being mobilized and it looks like foot soldiers will be going into Gaza.

In truly worrying news, a rocket from Gaza recently reached the suburbs of Tel Aviv, which is the hub of the entire country. That little coastal strip from Tel Aviv up through Haifa is where most of the population of this little country lives. (Israel is about the size of New Jersey, incidentally.) If the guys in Gaza get better missiles from Iran (which is where they are coming from) then you will start to see serious casualties on the Israeli side, and the government will not permit that.

In the past Egypt could more or less be counted on to make smuggling arms into Gaza hard. No more…

Meanwhile, the fighting in Syria is spilling over into the always-unstable country of Lebanon. And fighting among the various parties (and there are several, not just two) in Syria recently made the Israeli army fire the first warning shots in decades in the Golan cease-fire area. It appears that the Syrians had not intended to cross the cease-fire line, fortunately.

Our neighbors in Jordan, which has the reputation of being a stable country, have recently eliminated fuel subsidies, which has caused massive protests over there. A line has been crossed, in fact, in that some people are openly calling for the abdication of King Abdullah. If he does not abdicate, force will have to be used to suppress dissenting voices. If he does abdicate the monarchy will be abolished, or a sibling of his will become monarch. Either way, Jordan will go the way of Egypt and become much more Islamist-leaning in its politics and foreign relations.

In my e-mail inbox this morning I had a message from the US Embassy-consulates are closed today and the embassy hours have been reduced. Also, diplomats may not travel through the West Bank because of the instability in both Israel and Jordan. Jordan, meanwhile, is trying to figure out what to do with tens of thousands of refugees from Syria. Jordan does not even have enough food or water for its own population.

We have been living in the Middle East now for many years, and I’m quite used to the occasional instability or violence. But it was always isolated to this or that area. The instability is too widespread now. I’m not an alarmist, but I don’t see how any of this ends up happily. That having been said, I do not feel our family is in any imminent danger, I am glad to say.

Would you please pray for peace in the region? Pray that the local churches would be part of the solution and not just close their eyes and ears to these difficulties? And pray for us, that in the midst of all of this we would be people of light and hope and witnesses to the grace of our Creator and the love of our Redeemer.

 

A Soldier’s Mother: ‘Don’t Cry for Him, Gaza’

Here’s a post from one of our favorite Israeli bloggers, on life under the Iron Dome, and her take on the recent rocket activity and retaliation:

In a pinpoint strike, Israel has assassinated Ahmed al-Jabari – equivalent to the Chief of Command of Hamas. al-Jabari died as he lived – a man of hatred and violence. I do not mourn his passing, nor do I celebrate it. That is not what Jews do. It is said that as the ancient Egyptians were drowning in the Red Sea as the Jews crossed into Sinai on their way to the land that God had promised them – that the angels themselves celebrated and danced. And they asked God why he was not celebrating too. God answered that he could not celebrate while his creations were dying.

Read more on A Soldier’s Mother.

Source

 

Can you Imagine if Even One Rocket was Fired on Washington, London, Paris or Moscow?

In a moving Huffington Post piece, International Human Rights Lawyer Aren Ostrovsky shares his anger – no, outrage – at the neglect, ignorance, lies, and hatred with which the international community continually approaches Israel.

Ostrovsky explains that it’s not just the 600+ rockets fired from Gaza to Israel in 2012 alone, nor the 80+ fired in the last 24 hours, that outrage him.

Rather, it’s the silence (and sometimes even solidarity) shown by many in the face of terrorism. It’s allowing world leaders who have pledged to destroy Israel to work toward the genocide of the Jewish people. It’s the unchallenged anti-Israel activism of the United Nations, European Union, many mainline churches, and human rights organizations around the world. It’s the failure of so much of the world to consider both sides of a very, very complex situation.

In his article Ostrovsky pointedly asks, “Can you imagine if even one rocket was fired on Washington, London, Paris or Moscow?”

His answer, and ours: “No nation on earth can, or should, tolerate such attacks on its people.”

“You see, as most Americans were waking up this morning, and those in Europe and elsewhere around the world were going about their daily routines, here in Israel — over one million people were running for cover from a hail of rockets being rained down by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.” – Aren Ostrovsky

Source

This is just so wrong. Unacceptable! Please spare a pray for the people of Israel…

 

80 Rockets, Mortars Fired at Israel in 24 hours

Out of Gaza:

Hamas claims responsibility for rockets; IDF intercepts 8 rockets fired toward Ashkelon; IAF strikes kill 4 Hamas members; southern local authorities cancel school.



Hamas’s armed wing, the Al-Qassam brigades, took  responsibility Wednesday for a barrage of rockets unleashed against  Israel since Tuesday night as well as the bomb that critically injured an IDF officeralong the Gaza-Israel border on Tuesday. The explosive was placed on a  gate in the Kissufim region, near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha. The Popular  Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) also took responsibility  for the Gaza border bomb.

In a statement posted  on its website, Hamas said it fired the rockets, which it said were in  response to Israeli air strikes from 7:00 till 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday.  It also said that on Tuesday it “detonated a roadside bomb near Israeli  infantry soldiers east of Khan Yunis city.”

Of  the projectiles fired by the terrorists, 22 landed in the Eshkol region  while 21 landed in the Lachish region, according to the Israel Police.  An additional 27 rockets landed in the South by Wednesday evening. The  barrage followed 10 rockets fired on Tuesday evening, making a total of  80. Five homes were damaged, according to Israel Radio…

More here.

 

The Sound of Terror

This footage, taken in Ashdod, home to more than 200,000, gives you an idea of the reality Israelis are living in right now. The next time you hear someone criticizing Israel’s attempts to eliminate the terrorists responsible for launching rockets at her citizens, remember this video. If this was happening in your city, wouldn’t you insist that your government take any measures necessary to stop it?

Source
 

Google Used as a Weapon

By Gaza terrorists to attack innocent civilians living in southern Israel:

Gaza terrorists have a new tool helping them to fire on innocent civilians living in southern Israel – the popular satellite mapping program Google Earth. A group of terrorists from the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades recently described their use of the program to a reporter for Slate Magazine.

“The technology is always improving,” a terrorist calling himself Abu Saif told journalist Sharon Weinberger. “Our struggle started with the Kalashnikov, and then it moved to the suicide bomb, then the locally made rocket, and now the Grad rocket.”

Gaza terrorists in rocket launching crews use Google Earth to aim their weapons, Abu Said said. The program is seen as superior to maps because it is more up-to-date and gives precise locations for potential targets.

Gaza terrorists who spoke to Weinberger said they plan to continue with rocket attacks despite the deployment of the Iron Dome system, which shoots short-range rockets out of the air. “The Israelis are using a lot of money for this defense, but during the last rocket attacks, our rockets made it through,” explained Abu Hamza, a senior Islamic Jihad terrorist.

Abu Saif suggested that Gaza terrorists were getting their hands on new technologies that would help them continue attacks. “At some point in the future, the Grad will be a thing of the past,” said Abu Saif.

Terrorists are believed to have used a laser-guided missile in a recent attack on a school bus that murdered Israeli teenager Daniel Viflic.

Another way in which terrorists are using modern technology is public relations. They have begun making their own videos to send to the media in hopes of gaining support…

More here.

On Israel

The Lord deals with the nations as the nations deal with the Jews

 - Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister from 1874-1880

Then this via the Jerusalem Post:

An anti-tank missile shot from the Gaza Strip directly hit a school bus outside Kibbutz Sa’ad in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council on Thursday, injuring two people. Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the IDF to respond speedily and to attack using all means necessary…

 

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