Yet again the world’s attention turns to the thin strip of fertile land bridging Africa, Europe and Asia, to Israel, tucked tightly between the Arabian Desert and the Mediterranean Sea. Everyone wants control of Israel! Yes, God knew exactly what he was doing making this part of the planet the center of his work and will in history. His story in Israel continues still, which reminds us again to pray continually for the “Peace of Jerusalem”… “Shalom!”
The latest crisis exploded with the Gaza flotilla raid on May 31st. This incident began when the Israeli navy seized an aid flotilla of six ships carrying humanitarian supplies and 663 activists from 37 nations, known as “Gaza Freedom Flotilla.” Activists aboard the ship intended to break through the Egyptian blockage which Israel established to keep weapons out of the Palestinian territory. The Israeli government routinely inspects shipments coming into Gaza. They do permit humanitarian organizations to deliver non-military items to pass through. In this case Israeli forces halted and boarded the lead ship of the flotilla when its captain refused to halt or change its course toward the port of Ashdod.
At least ten persons aboard the MV Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of the convoy, were killed by Israeli soldiers. Up to 60 activists and 10 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers were wounded. The clash turned violent when Israeli soldiers, carrying non-lethal paintball guns were attacked by baseball bats as they boarded the boat
Reactions from around the world have been swift and polarized. Those inclined to support Israel see the act as justified self-defense. (Videos shot and posted on the internet seem to support that claim). Those predisposed to oppose Israel’s right to exist see it as a provocation.
“Lord God of Israel – and of the whole world – we again pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We ask, “Shalom!” You have created this land of Israel as a special place, the very center of your redemptive work in history. We pray that you would once again demonstrate your grace and power and mercy in this place, and with and for all the citizens of this sacred land. We pray for the Jewish people who have inherited Israel by a covenant promise given by you to their ancestors. We pray for strength and courage and protection for those Jews living in Israel as well as for those scattered around the world. We pray too for the Palestinian people living as resident aliens in the Israel. Help them to find security and prosperity, and finally to come to accept and even embrace the divine right of Israel’s stewardship of this land. Peace will come only when the whole world recognizes Israel’s God-destined place as caretaker of this land. God, acknowledging this, we ask for grace and rest and Shalom peace for the Israel. Bring your Kingdom to the earth, and may that ruler of peace grow outward from Jerusalem! In the name of Jesus, the Messiah!”