Is peace between Israel and Hamas imminent?

Is peace between Israel and Hamas imminent? April 30, 2024

“In this moment the only thing standing between the people of Gaza and a ceasefire is Hamas.” This is how US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described a ceasefire proposal that he called “extraordinarily generous on the part of Israel.”

In its first phase, Hamas would release as many as thirty-three hostages in exchange for a pause in hostilities in Gaza and the release of Palestinian prisoners. A second phase, described as the “restoration of sustainable calm,” would include the exchange of the remaining hostages, captive Israeli soldiers, and the bodies of hostages for more Palestinian prisoners.

If Hamas accepts the proposal, will this bring peace to the Middle East?

Tragically not, so long as Hamas remains pledged to Israel’s complete destruction. If your neighbor publicly vowed to murder your family and burn down your house, I doubt you’d invite him to dinner.

If the protesters went to Gaza

While no one would blame you for defending your family, activists across our country continue to blame Israel for doing the same.

Student protesters at Columbia University declared this morning that they had taken over a building on the campus after defying a deadline to disperse. Protesters and police clashed yesterday at the University of Texas in a confrontation that resulted in dozens of arrests. The number of arrests at campuses nationwide is now approaching a thousand.

Imagine, however, what would happen if these activists actually went to Gaza: women would be subjugated, while gay and transgender individuals would likely be imprisoned or executed.

Ironically, the protesters would be far safer in the hands of the IDF in Gaza than with Hamas.

The Israeli soldiers whose work in Gaza is being so roundly condemned actually have a strong claim to being the most moral army in the world. In strong contrast with Hamas, the IDF operates by a clear code stating that “every individual is of inherent value, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender, or status.” Women and LGBTQ individuals are not their victims—they actually fight in their army.

But what about Palestinian civilian casualties?

According to one analysis, for every Hamas combatant eliminated, approximately 1.5 civilians have been tragically killed. Since the United Nations estimates that civilians typically make up 90 percent of the casualties in a war, this is an impressive ratio.

Given that Hamas hides its soldiers behind the Palestinian civilians it was elected to serve, it is even more so.

What students at Columbia are reading

You may be wondering why you don’t hear these facts from university protesters and the mainstream media. There’s a reason for that.

Many of the professors and journalists supporting the current activists were students in an era forged by Vietnam War anti-government protests, the rise of the sexual revolution, and the postmodern rejection of absolute truth and objective morality. Now, as George Packer notes in the Atlantic, their revisionist ideas are “so pervasive and unquestioned that they’ve become the instincts of students who are occupying their campuses today.”

To illustrate: New York Times columnist Ross Douthat explored the syllabus at Columbia for a course titled “Contemporary Civilization.” He reports that its focus for the twentieth century “narrows to progressive preoccupations and only those preoccupations: anticolonialism, sex and gender, antiracism, climate.” Unsurprisingly, the now-popular “colonialist occupier” caricature of Israel makes it an easy target for opposition and Hamas an exemplar of revolution.

If students who represent our cultural future are this militant in imposing their ideology on their campuses, what will they do when they graduate into places of corporate, cultural, and political leadership? Will their identity politics that divides humanity into oppressors and oppressed and views Christians as bigoted and dangerous become even more pervasive?

When non-Christians believe the gospel

By contrast, one reason the Christian gospel is such “good news” is that its news is good for everyone. Whether you are Arab or Jew, Palestinian or Israeli, Black or White or Latino, Democrat or Republican or Independent, whatever your sexual orientation and gender identity, you are the creation of the Father and loved unconditionally by the Savior.

Here’s the catch:

Non-Christians typically believe the gospel to the degree that Christians live the gospel.

This week we’re responding to our perilous times by remembering that Jesus is “the light of men” (John 1:4) and the corresponding fact that his “light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (v. 5).

Today, the transforming light of Christ shines through you and me when we demonstrate his inclusive love by our inclusive compassion and walk so closely with Jesus that others will know we walk with Jesus (cf. Acts 4:13).

St. Irenaeus (AD c. 120–c. 203) said of the Christians of his day:

Just as God’s creature, the sun, is one and the same the world over, so also does the Church’s preaching shine everywhere to enlighten all men who want to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Now it’s our turn.

Tuesday news to know:

Quote for the day:

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.” —John Calvin

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