“The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” (Joel 2:31)
A 72-hour Egyptian-brokered ceasefire seems to be holding between Israel and Gaza. It went into effect Tuesday at 8:00 a.m., but not before Hamas fired off a last-minute salvo of rockets at communities throughout Israel.
Because Hamas seems to be honoring this ceasefire, Israel has sent a delegation to Cairo to join Palestinian factions for long-term truce talks.
Meanwhile, Jerusalem seems to be on the brink of a third intifada as Arab violence incited by Fatah and Hamas boils over in the Jerusalem neighborhoods, the Temple Mount, and elsewhere in Israel.
The world-shaking events of the last month give us every indication that we are living in prophetic days that are leading up to Yeshua (Jesus) coming back as the King Messiah to reign in Jerusalem.
They were preceded by what many are proclaiming a celestial sign: the first eclipse of the year, which coincided with the first night of Passover. This eclipse will be followed by three consecutive lunar eclipses coinciding with the Jewish feasts of Sukkot in 2014 and Passover and Sukkot again in 2015. It is a rare celestial event called the Blood Moon Tetrad.
This series of four eclipses occurs at approximately six-month intervals. Over the last 2,000 years, there have been eight such Tetrads coinciding with the Jewish festivals of Passover and Sukkot and recent ones have also coincided with major events in Jewish history:
- The Tetrad of 1493–94 occurred after the expulsion of Jews from Spain, which took place in 1492.
- The Tetrad of 1949–50, followed the establishment of the modern-day independent State of Israel and the subsequent War of Independence. In 1949, Israel had its first legislative election. At the time of the tetrad, the Israeli Knesset (government) was moved to Jerusalem on King George Street, and Prime Minister Ben Gurion declared Jerusalem as the Eternal Capital of Israel.
- The Tetrad of 1967–68 coincided with the 1967 Six-Day War and the reuniting of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Now, after the first blood moon tetrad of 2014–2015, dramatic events continue to unfold, including the following:
- Hamas and Fatah united as one government,
- Three Jewish teens kidnapped and murdered,
- Full scale war with Gaza, and
- Continuing Arab riots and acts of terrorism in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and throughout Israel.
On Tuesday afternoon, on Tisha B’Av, a security guard near the police station in Ma’aleh Adumim, which is close to Jerusalem, was moderately wounded when a Palestinian stabbed him. The assailant escaped into a nearby village.
On Tuesday morning, masked men threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police near the Mughrabi Gate at the Temple Mount compound. The police contained the violence by pushing the rioters back into the Al-Aqsa Mosque before the Mount could be reopened to Jewish worshipers.
On Monday just before the beginning of the fast of Tisha B’Av, Israeli police were called in to keep the peace in Jerusalem as Arabs rioted in East Jerusalem.
On Monday morning, Arab youths threw stones and fireworks at police forces at the Mughrabi Gate. In the afternoon, masked Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at police forces in the Isawiya neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
Also on Monday, Naif al-Ja’abis from the Arab neighborhood Jabel Mukaber used a large construction excavator as a weapon of terror by hitting Rabbi Avraham Walles, a 29-year-old father of five as he was walking to work at a nearby construction site.
The attacker then used the arm of the digger to overturn a passenger bus, slightly injuring the driver and four others. Police in the area shot and killed the Palestinian driver before he could continue to kill and maim. It is not the first time heavy equipment has been used to kill Israelis, and Hamas was quick to praise the act of terrorism and call for more:
“Obviously it was a local initiative no matter what organization he belonged to,” a Hamas spokesman in Qatar said. “We rely on the West Bank and look forward to even more extensive activity. We understand the difficult conditions in the West Bank, but they have the opportunity to act. We call on them to perform further acts of heroism, even independently.” (i24)
Just a few hours later, a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire on a hitchhiking station on Mount Scopus in East Jerusalem. A 20-year-old soldier was seriously wounded when he was shot in the stomach. Several others were injured.
Arab rioting has been so active that in the past month alone, 430 suspected rioters have been arrested and over 150 indictments have been filed.
The rioting and murders happened as Israel unilaterally called for a partial ceasefire covering parts of the Gaza Strip. The 7-hour “humanitarian window” came as health officials in Gaza declare an estimated 1,800 Palestinians killed. Israel estimates that at least 900 of those killed were militants. As many as a fourth of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents have been displaced. (BBC)
The ceasefire was declared in order to allow hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. It was planned to last until 5 p.m. Monday, local time.
Once the humanitarian ceasefire began, however, Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel. It isn’t the first ceasefire that Hamas has violated.
On Thursday, the UN and the US announced a 72-hour ceasefire that was supposed to have gone into effect at 8 a.m. Friday morning.
Within an hour and a half, Israeli soldiers at work dismantling a tunnel in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, were attacked by terrorists. One detonated an explosive vest killing two Israeli soldiers and a third, Lieutenant Goldin, was believed to have been captured but was later declared dead when body parts found at the scene were proven by DNA testing to belong to him.
Israel has faced strong criticism from the US administration and the UN for strikes that have resulted in civilian casualties in Gaza.
Last week, the UN Human Rights Council even demanded that Israel and America supply Gazans with Iron Dome systems to defend themselves against Israeli airstrikes.
As well, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement that the world should impose a political solution on Israel.
The statement followed Palestinian accusations that an Israeli air strike on Sunday killed 10 people and wounded about 30 in a UN-run school in the southern Gaza Strip.
“This is why we need a political solution, of which the components are known, and which I believe should be imposed by the international community, because the two parties—despite countless efforts—have unfortunately shown themselves incapable of completing talks,” the statement read.
“Ceasefire, imposition of a two-state solution and security for Israel—there is no other way,” he added.
In an earlier press conference, the US President said, “It’s hard to reconcile Israel’s legitimate need to defend itself with our concern for those civilians. And if we can pause the fighting, it’s possible we may be able to arrive at a formula that spares lives and also ensures Israel’s security. But it’s difficult, and I don’t think we should pretend otherwise.” (NYT)
Hopefully, such a formula will be found in Cairo.
Nevertheless, Hamas and terrorist activity continue. Until Hamas is disarmed, it is unlikely that the bombing will stop for long. So, ultimately it is possible that this season of Blood Moons on the Jewish holidays of Passover and Sukkot in 2014 and 2015 may signal a time of international intervention and pressure on Israel to restrain itself in the face of Hamas aggression and terrorism, and even perhaps, to divide Jerusalem in an imposed two-state solution.