Israel and the US: Terrorism As the Tie That Binds

I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life—if you and your offspring would live. Deuteronomy 30:19 (The Israel Bible™)

As scenes of tear gas being used against angry foreigners hurling rocks and storming the fence on the U.S.’s southern border appear in the media, they are a stark reminder of similar images depicting the conflict on Israel’s southern border. A closer look reveals that seemingly unconnected events in Israel were precursors, opening up the door for similar horrors to befall the rest of the world.

As per God’s promise to Abraham, world events can be predicted without the aid of prophecy simply by inspecting how the nations treat his descendants.

I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.” Genesis 12:3

Divine intervention into the realm of international politics seemed to appear at landmarks in the political efforts to force Israel to relinquish land in what was euphemistically referred to as “the peace process.” Steps toward forcing Israel to compromise the Biblical borders of its land were frequently accompanied by natural disasters.

These coincidences linking politics with natural disasters began in 1992 when President George Bush, Sr. opened the Madrid Conference with an expectation that Israel would trade “Land for Peace.” While the politicians plotted against Israel, the “Perfect Storm” hit the Eastern United States. The president returned home to Kennebunkport, Maine to his nearly destroyed home.

Hurricanes, scandals, and financial crises accompanied every step forward, most notably when less than two weeks after the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif, Hurricane Katrina struck.

Though it may seem that the U.S. and Europe have vastly different security concerns than Israel, a closer look reveals a synchronicity that indicates the possibility of a spiritual cause and effect relationship; as if a door was opened in the Holy Land. If the world allowed Israel to suffer, giving tacit approval, that particular type of evil was then allowed to spread out to the rest of the world.

Border Threats

On March 30, the Palestinians began a weekly series of protests along the border fence separating Israel from Gaza. Tens of thousands of civilians showed up, claiming their desire to cross the border into Israel and retake allegedly confiscated property. Hamas began to direct the events and the protests turned violent. Initially planned to last six weeks, almost eight months later the riots are still continuing.

Gazans regularly throw stones, use slings and other devices to amplify the effect. Gazans routinely cut the fence and attempt to force entry into Israel. Firebombs and hand grenades have been thrown at troops and improvised explosive devices have been set on the fence. One soldier was killed by sniper fire from the Gaza side of the fence and another wounded. Thousands of tires have been burned in an attempt to obscure the IDF’s field of vision.

IDF troops charged with protecting the border have resorted to live-fire. Palestinian sources claimed 168 dead and more than 15,000 injured. Hamas and Islamic Jihad identified many of those killed as members of their military wings.

Israel faced international criticism for the use of force in protecting its borders from hordes of people. In June, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution condemning Israel for using “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate” force against a “peaceful assembly.”

The U.S. is facing an almost identical crisis. In mid-October, a group of Hondurans set out with the intent of illegally crossing into the U.S. Though estimates vary, Kirstjen Nielsen, the current Secretary of Homeland Security, said in a recent statement to the press that there were two groups comprising 8-10,000 people, mostly single adult men including at least 500 known gang members and criminals. Nielsen reported that members of the caravan have been involved with violent encounters with authorities along the way, using incendiary devices.

On Sunday, images depicting the border separating San Diego from Mexico became almost identical to those depicting Israel’s southern border as hundreds of migrants rushed the security fence en masse, some throwing stones at U.S. border agents. The agents resorted to using tear gas to prevent the migrants from crossing the border. Just as Israel was forced to close the Erez Crossing as a result of Gazan violence, the U.S. closed the border for several hours.

Incendiary Kites/California Wildfires

On March 30, Hamas began to hold its weekly March of Return riots along Israel’s southern border. In addition to civilians challenging the security fence, Hamas organized terrorist cells charged with sending aerial incendiary devices into Israel. Using thousands of kites and balloons, these cells destroyed more than 6,200 acres of nature preserves and farmland in Israel, causing millions of shekels in damage. In addition to the aerial incendiary attacks, Gazans burned thousands of tires in an attempt to obscure the field of vision of the IDF soldiers protecting the border. The thick toxic smoke created an environmental hazard to Gazans and Israelis alike.

In an attempt to assuage international criticism of the IDF attempts to cope with the arson terrorism, Israel entered into Egypt-mediated ceasefire talks with Hamas. In the first week of November, when the draft of the Hamas-Israel ceasefire was published, California’s deadliest wildfire on record broke out, killing at least 76 people.

The two events seem dissimilar as Israel’s fires were ignited intentionally as politically motivated terrorism. California’s fires were the result of unintentional arson. But the two events may have much in common. In 2012, Al Qaeda’s English language magazine Inspire issued a threat, urging supporters to light fires in America’s forests. The magazine went on to give detailed instructions on how to ignite an “ember bomb,” recommending Montana because of the rapid population growth in wooded areas.

“In America, there are more houses built in the [countryside] than in the cities,” the article stated.

A few months later, Russia’s security chief, Aleksandr Bortnikov stated that this threat of arson terrorism had already been actualized and that Al-Qaeda was complicit in recent forest fires in Europe.

The threat of this new type of terrorism is quite real in Israel, Europe, and the U.S. An article published last year in UCLA’s online magazine by Holly Buck, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, confirmed this danger.

“In theory, multiple fires could be planned and executed to create a disaster equal to a multi-megaton nuclear weapon — delivering similar results with much less effort and risk,” she wrote.

She cited a 2005 doctoral thesis written by a U.S. Marine Corps major which suggested such an attack could be initiated by incendiary balloons with the most devastating effects being produced in California.

Though the recent California wildfire is known to have been artificially created, whether the cause was intentional or inadvertent is still unknown.

Ramming attacks

The first official ramming attack in Israel took place in 2001, when a Palestinian affiliated with Hamas drove a bus into a crowd of pedestrians, killing eight people and wounding 26. Six months later, an Islamist rammed a car into a synagogue in Lyon, France. Israel has suffered countless attacks of this type since that first attack, including at least nine that resulted in fatalities.

Significantly, this tactic began to be used in other parts of the world. In 2006, an Iranian-American drove an SUV into pedestrians on the campus of the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill to “avenge the deaths of Muslims worldwide” and to “punish” the United States government. While no one was killed in the vehicle-ramming attack, nine people were injured.

There have been at least three more ramming attacks since 2006 in the U.S. including one in New York City, and ten more in Europe. In 2016, a Tunisian Islamist drove a truck through the promenade in Nice, France, killing 86 people.

Bus Bombs/9-11

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda were perpetrated against the United States. Four passenger airliners were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. Armed with box-cutters, the terrorists took over the cockpits and flew two of the planes into the two towers of the World Trade Center and a third plane into the Pentagon. 9/11 in the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history, with 2,996 people killed and more than 6,000 injured.

Though horrifying on an unprecedented scale, there were events that set the stage, paving the way for 9/11. Though it was not the first time airliners had been hijacked, 9/11 was the first time terrorists had hijacked an airliner with the primary intent of killing the passengers in a manner that would mean their inevitable deaths as well, in what is referred to as a “suicide attack.”

Suicide attacks have historically been used in war but the first terrorist attack against civilians officially classified as a suicide attack took place in Israel. On 6 July 1989, Abd al-Hadi Ghanim of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza grabbed the steering wheel of the #405 Tel Aviv-Jerusalem bus, running the bus into a steep ravine. Sixteen civilians died in the attack — including two Canadians and one American, and 27 were wounded.

Though officially classified as a suicide attack, Ghanim did not die. After being treated in an Israeli hospital, Ghanim was convicted and given 16 life sentences for murder, hijacking and terrorism. On 18 October 2011, Ghanim was released to Gaza as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas, giving a tacit pass to the horror he had committed.

For the twelve years leading up to the 9/11 attacks, there were an average of 3 attacks per year killing approximately 18 people per year. In the ten months leading up to the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. there were 30 suicide attacks in Israel killing 55 people, marking a four year period in which Israel was struck by 127 suicide attacks.

Rabbi Ken Spiro, a historian and Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, noted that there are parallels connecting events that happen to the Jews and Israel and what happens to other countries but emphasizes that it is impossible to draw conclusions.

“There is certainly something here, some connection. Obviously, God is involved in these events because nothing happens without Him,” Rabbi Spiro told Breaking Israel News. “But I believe it is impossible to ascribe specific meanings to these things since there are no prophets today. Nothing happens by accident but I think would be incorrect to label the events in the U.S. as some kind of divine retribution. America is hardly the country that is the most guilty of Israel bashing, especially now that U.S.-Israel relations are so good. This is puzzling and requires a lot of thought since there are many levels of understanding behind the major events in the news headlines: geopolitical as well as religious. God is acting behind the scenes but with a much bigger perspective than we, as humans, can see.”

“This raises the question of why we don’t see these events happening more in European countries that are the real hypocrites. If an Islamist rams his car into Jews in Israel, he is labeled a militant in the British press but if he does it in London, the same media calls him a terrorist. There’s no metaphysics there that one event is related to the other.”

Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific end-of days author and prominent scholar, noted that a simple inspection of the timeline of these events indicates some type of connection.

“When anti-Semitism happens to the Jewish people, it doesn’t stop there. It goes out into the world,” Rabbi Winston told Breaking Israel News, noting a glaring example from modern history. “That was clearly the case in the Second World War, which started with the Jews.”

“How many other nations can you say this is about,  that if you go against them, or allow evil to happen to them that it will come back and hit you in the face?” the rabbi asked. “On the level of social morality, it tells us that if you don’t stop evil when it comes after the Jews, it will go after you in the end.”

“Unfortunately, no one ever listens,” Rabbi Winston said. “This is partially due to apathy but the main issue that there is so much cognitive dissonance in the world.”

Cognitive dissonance is a theory in psychology describing the mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds contradictory beliefs. The discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a person’s belief clashes with new evidence.

“People don’t internalize what they are witnessing so it continues to happen over and over again. For believers in God, these events are chizuk (reinforcement) for what they already know. If someone doesn’t believe in the hand of God guiding history, they would have no explanation for why these ‘coincidences’ keep coming up.”

“In Biblical times, it was a universally accepted belief that God influenced events. The only difference between then and now was in those days we had prophets telling us about it. We don’t have prophets today to interpret these events. I am just a person who is looking at these events and asking questions, trying to connect the dots. And this is the answer I am getting.”

“One of the main reasons people would refuse to look at the events in this way is that the implication of divine influence in history is that they would have to acknowledge God and live their lives accordingly. Many people don’t want to be spiritual and this influences how they view events.”

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