Wednesday, October 18, 2023

World War Three? Part Two: Israel and Hamas

In Part One of this series, I speculated that we might be seeing the start of World War Three. Recent events seem to be building the case for that likelihood.

The Russia/Ukraine war shows no sign of stopping. In the nearly two years since it began, Belarus has made clear that they are firmly on Russia’s side. Despite efforts by the majority of U.N. members to choke off aid to Russia, some countries have given either tacit approval or active aid to Russia’s aggression, including:

  • China
  • India
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Syria
  • Myanmar
  • Eritrea
  • Mali
  • Nicaragua

In October, 2023, China hosted Russian leader Putin at an economic meeting that was also attended by Hungary’s president, Viktor Orban. Orban shook Putin’s hand and expressed his eagerness to “expand contacts.” He said, “Hungary never wanted to confront Russia.”  

On the other side of the hostilities, Finland joined NATO in April, 2023, taking their stand against Russia after decades of neutrality. In October, Finland accused Russia of sabotaging an undersea pipeline and telecommunications cable, possibly as a retaliatory move.

Sweden, after a long-standing policy of neutrality, also applied to join NATO in May, 2022, allying themselves against Russia. They, too, reported damage to an undersea cable. They haven’t yet blamed Russia, but the implication is there.

Russia seems to have a split personality: They have a strong anti-extremist policy which they have used against Islamic organizations within Russia (which they have weirdly applied to decidedly non-extremists, like Jehovah’s Witnesses). But they have also always kept an open mind toward Islamic governments outside Russia. They trade, for example, for military drones from Iran. Iran doesn’t need Russia’s oil, but they do import billions of dollars worth of other goods from them.

Russia also has strong diplomatic ties to Israel. Until now, Israel has not joined most of the World in sanctioning Russia for its attacks on Ukraine. A significant portion of Israelis hail from Russia, and a Russian speaker can navigate quite comfortably in Israel.

Just as nations chose up sides in 2022 between Russia and Ukraine, they are now having to choose between Israel and Hamas. (To read my column on the origin of the modern-day state of Israel, click here.)

Hamas is described as an Islamic extremist group or terrorist organization, depending on who’s doing the describing. They disagreed with the peace treaty worked out between Israel and Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian organization back in Bill Clinton’s day. Hamas maintains, as the pre-Arafat Palestinians did, that Israel has no right to exist and should be exterminated. They began ‘poking the bear’ with small attacks against Israelis in the early 2000s. From 2007 on, Israel has walled off the densely populated, tiny Palestinian metropolis known as the Gaza Strip, turning it into a virtual outdoor prison. Anyone entering or leaving Gaza had to be cleared either through a gate east to Israel or a gate south to Egypt. 

On October 7, 2023, Hamas fired an estimated 2,200 rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Where did they get the rockets? Some say they were manufactured in Iran; Iran denies it. Just as the Mexican drug cartels dug under the southern border of the United States, Hamas dug tunnels under the border with Egypt to bring in rockets and other contraband from - somewhere. They also seem to have learned how to make rockets themselves.

Coordinated with the rocket attacks, they also launched ground attacks against the checkpoints into Israel and began killing random Israelis in villages and kibbutz’s outside the Strip, grabbing hundreds of hostages and dragging them back inside.  They took hostage many other non-Palestinians who were already within the Gaza Strip.

With the open war between Israel and Hamas, unsurprisingly the United States and most of NATO have come to the aid of or expressed support for Israel. Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, Qatar, and Lebanon have all expressed their support for Hamas, as have the terror groups Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad and others.

True Christians are strictly neutral as to world politics. But that doesn’t mean we are uninterested. We are saddened by the harm, stress, and loss of life in all countries affected by war. But these stressful conditions reaffirm that we are, absolutely, seeing the signs the Bible told us to watch for.

Only two major signs remain unfulfilled.

The next one calls for a significant cry of ‘Peace and Security!’ As we’ve discussed in previous columns, that cry could come in several different ways: 1. A dramatic end to a very large scale war, such as happened at the end of World War Two; 2. A change in the U.N.'s methods or ability to regulate international relations; 3. A shift in the human condition - such as a technological 'miracle' or a significant economic change - that causes the populace to begin saying that they personally are feeling more peaceful and secure than they ever have.

Personally, I’ve always expected the latter. I even speculated about it in my novel Resurrection Day. But if the fulfillment requires the declaration of peace at the end of a major war, then the current crises could escalate to exactly that climax.

 You can read Part One by clicking here. You can read Part Three here.

Your polite comments are welcome. 
 Bill K. Underwood is the author of several novels and one non-fiction self-help book, all available at You can help support this site by purchasing a book.

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