ICEJ Statement and Appeal regarding the Gaza conflict

In the time since Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip in August 2005, the Islamist terror militia Hamas seized control of the area and increased its relentless rocket and mortar attacks against the southern towns of Israel. These daily barrages literally kept thousands of Israeli civilians in siege-like conditions, while the world stood by and said almost nothing about the thousands of children traumatized or the needless loss of life and property. Sderot, one of the towns closest to Gaza, took the brunt of these attacks.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has firmly stood by the Israeli communities in the western Negev during these tense times, providing social assistance through local charities and aid workers and delivering a number of portable bomb-shelters to the region. This ministry has also undertaken numerous fact-finding visits to the area and has thus witnessed first-hand the brutality and indiscriminate nature of these attacks from Gaza.

A brief 'lull' brokered by Egypt brought temporary relief to these war-weary residents of the Gaza periphery, but the rocket strikes returned in early November and began striking the city of Ashkelon. The Israeli government was reluctant to endanger the Palestinian civilians among whom Hamas hides, using them as involuntary human shields. But in the end Israel had little choice but to finally take action to protect its citizens, which is its rightful duty. One would expect the same of any state that cares about its citizens.

Now, Hamas has responded with longer range rockets that have hit the cities of Ashdod and Beersheva, placing over 700,000 Israeli civilians within range.

Loss of life is always regrettable and must be contained, and Israel more than any other country has demonstrated this principle. However, the Hamas regime in Gaza has no respect for life, denies the very existence of Israel, and works relentlessly for its total destruction. This is the stated position of the movement in its own words and clearly reflected in its charter. Israel was left with no choice other than to remove this threat from its southern region. Better to do so now than to wait until Hamas has the backing of a nuclear Iran.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem therefore finds it disturbing that many Western leaders have again opted to condemn Israel under the guise of what they call "disproportionate response." The "doctrine of equivalence" sees no evil, hears no evil and does no evil. It stands on the fence trying to lay blame equally on both combatants. This is an outrage and our world is giving in to radical Islamic terror because of it. Hamas is a terrorist organization supported by rogue regimes in Syria and Iran, and the international community knows this well but many leaders do not have the courage to say it. Appeasement is the only game in town! So, Israel must be equally condemned.

We stand behind Israel in its actions of self-defense on behalf of its citizens and call on the world community to lay the blame where it is due. In this regard, we recall the words of US President-elect Barack Obama when he stood in Sderot this past summer and stated that Israelis should never have to live under the threat of daily rocket attacks.

Further, we appeal to Christians to offer prayers for Israel in these difficult times as we enter the New Year. We also are offering the chance to be of practical assistance to the embattled residents of the Western Negev. The ICEJ has committed to temporarily relocating dozens of poor families with small children to safer areas elsewhere in Israel. We need immediate funds to cover their transport, accommodations and meals. Schools and daycares are closed in their region and normal life has become impossible, but these families cannot afford to relocate themselves out of harm's way.

Please respond by visiting the Canadian branch's donation page and making a donation today. You will receive a tax receipt for your online giving through Canada Helps. Funds should be designated as "Gaza Conflict - Relocating Families".

Thank you for caring!

Malcolm Hedding
ICEJ Executive Director

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