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Bethlehem journalist says Christian 'revival' the only solution to War in Gaza as 'Hamas destruction' would not stop conflict

by Will Hobbs
2024-02-12T075658Z_648879974_RC2T06AHKIYP_RTRMADP_3_ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS.JPG - Banner image

A journalist in Bethlehem says Christian revival is the only hope for an end to devastation in Gaza and the wider Middle East, saying he believes "nothing would change" even if Hamas were to be destroyed in number, as pledged repeatedly by Israel.

Instead, Paul Calvert has urged Christians to pray boldly for both sides, given the limitless of the grace of God.

"We know the head, the son of Hamas, he became a Christian. So there is grace and there is mercy for Hamas.

"And just pray that God's grace and mercy would actually move over the Gaza Strip as well. If the people are gonna go through this terrible, terrible situation of a very, very difficult war, we want to see people turning to the Lord from it through it.

"So just pray for revival also as well Israel. We pray that Israel would see revival. We do know that many, many people are seeking God at this time."

Calvert says the return of two hostages is excellent news in Israel, with doubt continuing to grow around the probability of recoveries.

Calvert told Premier he was reminded of the necessity for hostage return efforts at a recent press conference in Jerusalem, involving families of returned and unreturned hostages. One father, he recalled, described how one of his daughters, returned with her sister, would not have survived much longer in captivity.

"One father said that he got his wife and his daughters back, and she had to go to the hospital, she got checked out, and she needed medication, she needed antibiotics. And if she hadn't got those antibiotics, so if she hadn't been freed, she would have died in prison. So it's very, very important indeed, for Israel to get their hostages back."

The cost of the return of Argentinian nationals [60-year-old] Fernando Simon Marman and [70-year-old] Louis Har is a reported 67 Palestinian deaths in the proceeding Israeli air strikes, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

These lives were lost in "a specialist military operation," Jeremy Barker, Director of the Middle East Action Team for the Religious Freedom Institute, says he understands why world leaders, including President Biden and Lord Cameron, have serious fears of the consequences of an expanded land operation.

"You're in a very small area where now upwards of 1.2 million, many of the displaced in Gaza, are concentrated in this small area. And so there's massive concerns of civilian casualties.

"It also is for Hamas, both their political but also military leadership is also centered in this area as well. And so it's a risk of intense urban warfare and combat, which is always heartbreaking. So we've seen a couple of years ago in Mosul in Iraq. These last stages are among the most intense and potentially the most devastating. And that's what we're on the brink of potentially, in the coming days."

If fighting does intensify in Rafah, it appears aid will be significantly affected, given its location on the Gaza and Egypt border.

Local medics in Rafah have told the BBC the humanitarian situation in the border city is worsening by the day, with little access to water or food, and rapidly dwindling medical supplies.

According to Calvert, Israel's forces have been working to obstruct aid, in the belief that it is being seized and monopolized by Hamas' leaders.

On President Netanyahu's single aim to defeat Hamas, with no desire for a pause in fighting until it's achieved, Calvert doubts whether his objective could achieve any tangible hope for an improved situation for Israel or the region at large.

"I don't think anything is going to change. Because every so often Hamas used to fire rockets from Gaza into Israel. So Iran can then say to Hezbollah in the north in Lebanon, okay, we want you to fire the rockets now.

"So we're gonna have rockets still coming into Israel, but from a different location. And while they're firing rockets, then the new breed of Hamas can actually develop and grow in the Gaza Strip.

"So can Israel really deal with this? I don't know.




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