What ignited the current Gaza-Israel crisis? Joel Rosenberg breaks it down in an interview with David Brody
Rosenberg also talks about why the former Israeli ambassador was right when it comes to Evangelical Christians
ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel C. Rosenberg shared his personal experience as the first rockets in the latest conflagration were launched at Israel.
And, in an interview with David Brody, host of The Water Cooler on Real America News, he answers the question – what started it all?
“I was out in my backyard chatting with some friends when we heard the sirens go off. And it’s so rare to hear an air raid sirens go off in Jerusalem, we didn’t actually believe it,” Rosenberg told Brody. “Then we heard the boom and felt the shaking of a rocket hitting and destroying a house not far from us.”
That was the beginning of what has now been 72 hours and counting of another Gaza-Israel conflict which has resulted in over 1,500 rockets in three days and 600 strikes by the Israeli Air Force on targets in Gaza.
“It’s been a very painful 24 hours, we’re just past the 24-hour mark, more than 650 rockets have been fired at Israel, including seven fired towards Jerusalem,” Rosenberg said during Tuesday's interview. “I moved here with my family here in 2014. We actually arrived in the midst of that rocket war when more than 4,200 rockets were fired in a one-month period.”
But now, he noted, “We’ve had 650 in one day, and seven at Jerusalem.”
The rocket fire began as Jerusalem Day – celebrated by Israelis as the reunification of the city under Israeli control during the Six-Day War in 1967 – was coming to an end.
So what is the connection between Jerusalem and Gaza?
“Tactically, what happened was Hamas and other terrorist organizations decided to encourage young people to stockpile rocks and stones and pieces of concrete in the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and then start throwing those at Jewish worshippers down on the Western Wall Plaza,” Rosenberg said. “That’s what tactically set this thing off because, then, of course, Israeli forces had to move into the Temple Mount to stop this barrage, this violation of religious freedom.”
The optics sent shockwaves throughout the world.
“It’s a very dangerous thing when you have rocks raining down on your head,” Rosenberg noted, but, “this was designed to pull Israeli forces in and then create a moment right where you have tear gas and you have all this stuff going on, so that the … radical Islamist world could begin to say, ‘Israel is encroaching on our religious freedom and they are desecrating our holy sites.’”
“The mainstream media acts as though suddenly, one day, Israel decided to be mean to Palestinians and then started bombing Gaza,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg said the 30 days of fasting food and water during Ramadan – which ended yesterday – also contributed to tensions, which have been brewing for weeks. The culmination of these tensions was Jerusalem Day, a national holiday in Israel, considered the Naqba – a “catastrophe” for Palestinian Arabs.
“For them, it’s the loss of Jerusalem. It’s not the reunification,” Rosenberg said.
And, on top of this, Rosenberg points out that Hamas expected to win the Palestinian elections, which were cancelled.
“Hamas has decided to create a moment where every Palestinian knows that they’re in charge and they’re the ones that are tough and the other guys are weak,” Rosenberg said. “It’s a bad convergence, a perfect storm of trouble.”
Rosenberg said it is difficult to predict the timing – the fighting could die down in 24 to 48 hours or could explode into a regional war.
On another note, Ron Dermer – former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. – sent his own shockwaves through Israel and the Jewish world when he recommended that Israel should expand its outreach to Evangelical Christians.
His remarks were misinterpreted by many in Israel who thought he meant to give up on American Jewish support.
“Israel does not spend enough time engaging with the Evangelical community in the United States,” Dermer said in an interview with an Israeli reporter.
Dermer, Rosenberg said, is right, as he noted in an article he wrote earlier this week.
"Dermer is an Orthodox Jew, was being interviewed by an Orthodox Jew to an Orthodox Jewish audience. So it sounds strange to their ears. And they’re like, what are you talking about? He said, ‘Look, 25% roughly of Americans are Evangelical Christians. Their numbers are huge. Their passion for Israel is huge. Israel, for most Evangelicals, is either the No. 1 issue or two or three. For some American Jews, they don’t care at all about Israel.’”
Evangelicals are Israel’s strategic allies and are the reason America is pro-Israel in Washington – and Dermer has come to realize that, Rosenberg said.
“The American Jewish community is very small. The evangelical community, the pro-Israel community, is the backbone, (Dermer) said, of the relationship. And we need to nurture it, encourage it and develop it. And I totally agree with them.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.