Watching the escalation of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last week, the words of God as recorded in Deuteronomy 30:19 continue to run through my head: “I call heaven and earth as my witnesses against you right now: I have set life and death, blessing and curse before you. Now choose life–so that you and your descendants will live.”
What the world is witnessing in Gaza during the past week is the stark contrast between Israel, a nation and a people that choose life, and Hamas, a bloodthirsty terrorist organization that celebrates and embraces death.
During the past few weeks, Israel has taken action to defend itself against an onslaught of rocket and missile attacks that have terrorized its citizens for years. For the men, women and children who live in southern Israel, 15 is the most important number in their lives. That is how many seconds they have to seek shelter once the air raid sirens go off. Fifteen seconds is how long it takes for the rockets fired in Gaza to soar toward sovereign Israeli territory and detonate close to civilian targets.
Hamas and other terrorist groups inside Gaza have fired thousands of these rockets into Israel, indiscriminately targeting men, women and children. The rockets have fallen on schools, apartment homes, kindergartens.
For the unacquainted, Hamas is not merely the political faction that came to dominate the Gaza Strip following Israel’s total evacuation of the territory. It is also the radical Islamist party that advocates jihad and whose founding charter states its commitment to destroying the land of Israel. For Hamas, no tactic is beyond the pale and nothing is too brutal or murderous. Suicide bombings, indiscriminate rocketing of innocents, drive-by shootings–it’s all fair game and a means to achieving their stated end goal of eliminating Israel.
This latest conflict between Hamas and Israel has again shown the world how low Hamas will stoop and just how little it values human life. Not just the life of Jews, but of all mankind. Several days ago, Hamas fired long-range rockets it had acquired from Iran toward Jerusalem, which is not only the location of Christian, Jewish and Muslim holy sites, but also home to Muslims and Arabs as well as Jews and Christians.
Like its apocalyptic supporters in Tehran, Hamas embraces a culture of death and enjoins its young people to pursue jihad. While most political parties around the world work to create a brighter future for their constituents, Hamas is more concerned with maintaining violence against Israelis, firing from near mosques and within crowded civilian areas. Hamas knows that doing so reduces the likelihood that Israel will return fire, out a fear of accidentally injuring or killing civilians. It hides cowardly behind the people it purports to serve, hoping that an errant Israeli strike will result in collateral damage that will lead to the international community condemning Israel.
I have been to Israel many times and have seen first-hand a people who want nothing more than to live in peace. Israel is an amazing country spearheading medical breakthroughs and high-tech miracles. It’s a country that seeks to make the world a better place, and the Jewish people choose life and celebrate it as the greatest gift in the world.
Unfortunately for Israelis, their lives are literally on the line, and to protect their future and their families they are often forced to fight. That is exactly what we are seeing in Gaza today.
Israelis, who choose life, are left by their enemies with no choice but to defend themselves. Meanwhile, Hamas, which chooses death, continues to deliver yet another round of misery and violence not just to the Israelis, but to their own people as well.
What we Americans must grapple with is the fact that this is a prelude to what will happen to us, and ultimately to the world at the hands of these merciless fanatics, if we fail to take action to interrupt their twisted, deadly goals.
Armstrong Williams is on Sirius/XM Power 128, weekdays 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m. Become a fan on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.