| · West Bank: 5,877 km2
| · Population: 2.4 million
| · 408 people per km2
| · 19 refugee camps
| · Gaza Strip: 365 km2
| · Population: 1.5 million
| · 4,108 people per km2
| · 8 refugee camps
For the Palestinians living in the Gaza strip, Nablus (the old Sichem), Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah and elsewhere, life is hard. Economic survival is difficult for most Palestinian families in normal periods, but the conflictual relations between the Jews and Palestinians as well as the conflicts between the Palestinians themselves makes things much more difficult. Families, the elderly and the handicapped are especially suffering.
Stress and Bitterness
Despite their withdrawal from Gaza, the Israeli military presence at sea and on the borders of the Gaza strip is still commonly perceived by Palestinian Muslims as an Israeli occupation because of the difficulty of importing goods from the outside world into the overpopulated enclave. Gazans can only rarely leave the enclave to travel abroad. On the Egyptian side the difficulties of getting visas are enormous. Most Gazans have never even been across the frontier with Egypt or to Cairo, which is the biggest city in the Arab world, only 350 kilometres away. And since the Arab Spring Uprising in Egypt 2011, matters have become more complex than ever. The West Bank is still under very strict Israeli control as well, however happily there are some isolated pockets of prosperity. While the Palestinians do get economic help from abroad, some countries also send weapons, shells and rockets that often only make the situation worse. This incites further violence against Israel.
Enormous stress, bitterness and often actual hatred is felt because almost every family had a son, a nephew, a cousin, a father or a mother or sister who died during the wars, protests, armed insurrections, terrorist efforts and confrontations of the last 65 years. Even among the Arabs, factional fighting between their own political and military groups (Hamas and Fatah) have killed many hundreds of people (about 600 people died in 18 months in 2006 and 2007 alone). Ultimately only God’s love can change the people and take away hate and resentment.
Believers In Gaza
About 2,500 people in Gaza call themselves believers. However, the vast majority of them are not practising, although some committed believers have been martyred for their faith. Some have actively done things to help the widows, the handicapped and the elderly. The Gazan believers definitely need encouragement. Visitors to Gaza from the outside tell how their hearts are touched and they are moved to tears when they leave. “The believers in Gaza say ‘Do not forget us.’”
- Thank God that he has not forgotten his promises to the Jews or the Arabs. He is faithful to both; some Arab speakers (from Arabia) first heard about the Messiah on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11). God obviously wanted them to hear the Good News. Thank God for the Palestinians who have recognised the Messiah already. Ask for more!
- Pray for profound inner healing for many. The scars of decades of conflict destroy lives in the present.
- Pray for the Hamas and Fatah militants. May their hearts be changed. May they come to know the love of the Messiah. Simon the Zealot was among Jesus’ disciples. Many zealots at the time of Jesus used violence to accomplish their goals (Mt. 10:4).
- Pray for the brave believers who live among the Muslim Palestinians that they may be a good witness (Mt. 5:16). May they be strengthened in their faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).
“The best way I can help Israel is by leading her enemies to Jesus Christ.” ~ Brother Andrew
Listen to the Podcast – DAY 11 – Palestinian Territories