On Saturday October 7th, Hamas attacked Israel. The attack was unprovoked, unexpected and very well planned. And it was brutal. Thousands of terrorists entered Israel with the express purpose of murdering as many Jews as possible. They had a detailed plan of action targeting each of the small communities near the Gaza Strip, as well as the larger towns of Sderot and Ofakim. The terrorists carried small booklets with them that included detailed instruction to murder, rape, mutilate bodies and kidnap civilians, all explained as religious obligations of a good Muslim.
The terrorists that entered one of the communities were equipped with maps, detailing the location of each home, the names of the families in each home and details of their residents. They had gotten the information from a Gazan who was a regular employee of families in that community. He had done all kinds of handy work, painting homes, refurbishing homes, fixing things. And he was so friendly. Everyone liked Ahmed. They invited him into their homes, shared meals together. Community members helped him get a work permit in Israel, provided him with rides, helped him obtain medical care. And all along, friendly Ahmed was feeding information to Hamas that would ultimately lead to the murder of so many in that community.
For years, Hamas and their allies, would attack Israel with rocket and artillery fire. They aimed their fire at civilians, then took cover in schools, using Gazans as human shields. But every time they struck us, every time they succeeded in murdering a Jew, thousands of Arabs took to the streets to celebrate, handing out candies and sweets as they cheered the murderers among them.
In anticipation of a ground invasion to Gaza by the IDF, Israel has been sending messages to the Arabs in Gaza City and the northern areas of the Gaza Strip, urging them to evacuate before the invasion. Israel wants to do whatever it can to enable innocent civilians to escape, even at the expense of notifying their enemies as to the areas that will be targeted first. And hundreds of thousands of Gazans are leaving their homes to move south, where they hope they will be safe.
Israel has cut off water, electricity and fuel and is blocking all movement of goods into Gaza. The international community is calling upon Israel to enable supplies to reach civilians in Gaza and is urging Israel not to cut off vital utilities. But the Israeli public remains firm – if the people of Gaza want water, food and electricity, then let them ensure the release of the 199 hostages being held by Hamas.
The international community refers to the people of Gaza as civilians, distinguishing between them and Hamas. But does that distinction make sense? As we watch the families streaming south to Gaza, we see young men, older men, women of all ages, children and teen-agers. And we know that people of all of these ages in Gaza are actively involved in murdering Jews. Children attend summer camps to learn how to use explosives and weapons. Women hide weapons in their loose garments. Teen-agers are active members of terrorist cells.
The culture of Gaza is a culture of hate. And that culture is prevalent in all the Palestinian areas. Are there good people in Gaza? I hope so. But is there any way to know who are the good people and who are the terrorists and their supporters? I don’t think so.
As Israel prepares for its invasion of Gaza with the express purpose of wiping out its terrorist infrastructure, ensuring that not a single weapon, knife, tunnel, bullet, missile or terrorist is left with the ability to harm a Jew, the choice must be put before the Gazans once and for all. Are you for us or against us? There is no middle ground. If you support the massacre of Jews, if you cheered on the attacks over the years, you are against us. You are not a civilian. You are an enemy. And if you think these actions are barbaric, if you want to live with Israel and with Jews in peace then say so. Stand up for what is right. Then you can be a civilian. Then you can be considered a member of the human race, supporting human dignity and moral behavior. There is no middle ground.
Sondra Oster Baras is the founder and International President of CFOIC Heartland, an
organization that connects Christians all over the world to the Jewish communities in Judea
and Samaria, Israel’s Biblical Heartland. To learn more about her work and to support the
people of Judea and Samaria, visit www.cfoic.com . Or send an email directly to Sondra at