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Friday, 3 September 2010

A Brutal Terror Attack in the West Bank

On Tuesday — the eve of U.S.-led peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians (the Biblical Philistines) — four Israelis driving in the south Hebron hills near the West Bank town of Kiryat Arba were ambushed by terrorists. Their car was sprayed with bullets at close range and all were killed. One of the victims, it was reported, was pregnant. Among the dead are a married couple, Yitzhak and Tali Ames, who left behind six children, including an 18-month-old baby.

A statement released following the attack by the Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, said that Hamas takes "full responsibility for the heroic operation (just what is 'heroic' about an ambush??) in Hebron." One Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, called the attack "a natural response by the Palestinian resistance to the enemy's crimes." In Hamas-ruled Gaza, the mood was jubilant; photos from the area showed crowds celebrating in the streets, and Hamas supporters handing out sweets to occupants of passing cars.

The reality of such an attack — the thought that there are those who would not only perpetrate it but proudly claim responsibility for it and even celebrate it — is almost too horrible to contemplate. And yet we must face up to that reality — in order to try to bring the perpetrators to justice, to ensure against such a thing ever happening again, and, just as important, to come to a full understanding of the nature of Israel's enemies.

The fact is that the hatred Hamas and other radical Islamist groups feel for Jews and Israel is real. Those consumed by such hatred do not seek peaceful co-existence with Israel. Indeed, there are no possible changes in policy, no territorial concessions, no compromises that Israel could make that would satisfy them. They seek only one thing: the total elimination of the Jewish state.

The terrorists who committed this atrocity undoubtedly were attempting to sabotage peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians currently taking place in Washington. In this, they failed — the talks began as scheduled on Wednesday. Sadly, their attempt cost four innocent Israelis their lives.

The Bible tells us, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18), and promises that God "will keep in perfect peace" those who trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3). May God comfort and give His peace to those who are brokenhearted over the loss of the four men and women murdered in this cowardly attack — and may the peace that only He can give guide the talks in Washington, fill the streets of the Holy Land, and permeate our hearts as we go about His redeeming work in our broken world.

(With acknowledgement to the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews - www.ifcj.org)

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