[Today’s Prayer] Israel Plans for West Bank Annexation, Tensions Rise in Palestine

Dark clouds have once again come over the Palestinian territories, which is often nicknamed the powder keg of the Middle East for its volatile political condition.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, announced that he will start annexation of the Palestinian-occupied West Bank region on July 1st. The tension between Palestine and Israel has spiked.

In particular, clashes between Israeli troops and Hamas Palestinian armed factions that rule the Gaza Strip of Palestine are raising the anxiety of people in these regions.

When two rockets recently flew from Gaza Strip to Israel on the night of the June 26th, local time, Israeli forces mobilized a fighter jet to attack Hamas military facilities in Gaza Strip.

In a statement on the 27th, Hamas insisted on the Israeli air raids “only strengthening our resolve to respond to the annexation of West Bank.” Earlier, Hamas warned Israel’s annexation plan of West Bank on the 25th as “a declaration of war.”

More Palestinian protests against Israel have recently taken place in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In addition to Palestine, there has also been backlash against the annexation plan from other Arab and international communities, such as in Europe, as well.

Last month, King Abdullah II of Jordan warned in an interview with Germany’s weekly magazine Spiegel that “if Israel really annexes West Bank in July this year, it will have a serious conflict with Jordan.” United Arab Emirates (UAE) ambassador to the United States (US) Youssef Al Otaiba told an Israeli newspaper on June 12th that Israel’s annexation of West Bank would worsen Israel’s relations with Arab countries.

It is difficult to predict whether Israel’s right-wing leader Netanyahu will push ahead with the West Bank annexation plan, or withhold it, or stop it wholly. The Israeli media recently reported that the government is planning to pursue annexation of West Bank starting from several settlements near Jerusalem.

Netanyahu emphasized last year that if he succeeded to be re-elected, he would annex West Bank areas with Jewish settlements into Israel.

Donald Trump, the president of the United States, is pro-Israel and has also contributed to Israel’s plan for the annexation of West Bank. In January this year, President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the Middle East Peace Initiative, which included the recognition of Israeli sovereignty in some parts of the West Bank of the Jordan River.

The West Bank of the Jordan River is recognized as land governed by the Palestinian authority under international law. But Israel won the Third Middle East War in 1967 and occupied parts of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank of the Jordan River and continued to expand settlements into the West Bank of the Jordan River since.

The annexation plan recently announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu is claimed to have the intention of not only securing water resources, but also establishing “important” military bases on the West Bank of the Jordan River.

Currently, about 2.9 million Palestinians live in West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and about 600,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements. The Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley that the Israeli government is planning to annex makes up about 30% of the West Bank of Jordan River.

Source: Yonhap News

For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous;
Lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.
Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good,
And to them that are upright in their hearts.
(Psalm 125:3-4)

Lord, due to territorial conflict between Israel and Palestine, these two nations are pointing fingers at each other once again.

It is impossible to predict what kind of sacrifice will be repeated over the annexation of the West Bank of Jordan River in July, as people’s lives are at stake.

Lord of all lands, break the power of the wicked who want to start a war! Defeat all the lies that war can solve problems. Let people know that this land does not belong to Israel nor Palestine. All land belongs to You, oh God!

Let the Israeli church and the Palestinian church proclaim that this is God’s land. May they remember this land is granted by God to whom He loves freely through His grace!

Israel, remember God who has called you, once strangers, out of Egyptian land to return you to Canaan! Palestine, remember the grace of Jesus Christ who has saved you, for you were once gentiles!

Let the churches of Israel and Palestine be full of the Holy Spirit. Let them love with one heart and mind to overcome war together. May they work together to preach this gospel of love to the ends of the earth! Amen!

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