Israel’s ground invasion into northern Gaza last weekend was surprising for many people. Unfortunately, the ground war had to occur in light of Hamas’ failure to cease bombing Israeli citizens. Palestinian sympathizers are already depicting the struggle as a David vs. Goliath conflict. In a strange biblical reversal the Israelis are now being painted as Goliath because of their superior military power. In reality, the Palestinians have been the aggressors who hope to win the war for public approval and sympathy.
As I have analyzed the situation, it seems to me that Israel’s recent escalation of the conflict is ironically the only way they can actually hope for peace. Israel’s goal is obviously to topple, impair, or reform the Palestinian government. They hope that a governing entity will emerge from this ground invasion with which someone can reason. Once Israeli leaders decided that they had to stop the killing of their citizens immediately, this course of action became inevitable. Even a casual observer understands that Hamas cannot be trusted to negotiate peace in good faith. Despite these facts, no one wants Israel to create their own version of Iraq. Many ministers believe that Israel did the most moral thing in a morally confused dilemma.
I am not advocating war. Neither am I suggesting that all Palestinians are evil. Other the other hand, I do believe that peace-loving Christians should advocate that all nations deal harshly with terrorists. Despite my strong sentiments, a reasonable person may still ask, “Aren’t the Israelis stooping to the same moral level as Hamas, because their violent retaliation will result in the loss of innocence, civilian life? The answer is “no.”
Unfortunately, there are times, in a fallen world, when war cannot be avoided. Bible believing Christians are universally slow to endorse war, but sometimes it is the only option to defend innocent life.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.