Israel faces one of the most perilous security situations to arise in its short lifetime. On its northern border, Israel faces a rearmed and resurgent Hezbollah. In the south, Israel faces a Hamas-run Gaza Strip armed to the teeth with sophisticated weapons. And just over the horizon stands Iran, a country that moves closer every day to building the nuclear weapons it has threatened to drop on Israel.
Though these enemies seem desperate and disconnected, they are not. Iran is the brain that controls this multiheaded beast and the bank that feeds it. Hezbollah and Hamas are nothing more than Iranian proxies, armed, trained and directed by their patrons in Tehran. The rise of these simultaneous threats is a carefully orchestrated effort by Iran to close the noose around Israel's neck.
After Israel's war with Lebanon last summer, Iran quickly rearmed and rebuilt Hezbollah. Hezbollah now has not only more missiles but also more sophisticated ones than it had prior to last summer. Israeli intelligence estimates that Hezbollah has a stockpile of at least 20,000 rockets, including an unknown number of Iranian Zelzal rockets, that can strike Tel Aviv.
While this was happening on Israel's northern border, Iran was also busy in the south. Last October Iran signed a pact with Hamas under which Iran agreed to transform Hamas into a sophisticated fighting force. Tehran agreed to train thousands of Hamas men and to ship sophisticated weapons to Hamas storehouses in Gaza.
Independent reports verify that this treaty is being implemented. The Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot reported in February that Fatah officials in Gaza captured five Iranian agents, including an Iranian general, who were teaching Hamas activists how to manufacture explosives. Numerous sources also confirm that Hamas has received sophisticated anti-tank missiles that could exact a heavy toll if Israel needs to re-enter Gaza.
During last summer's war with Hezbollah, Israeli writer and soldier Michael Oren observed that the conflict was similar to the Spanish Civil War. In that war, which preceded World War II by a number of years, Nazi Germany armed and trained the Spanish fascist allies.
According to Oren: "The world had a good warning about what Nazi Germany was really all about, but they didn't do anything about it. It was too late, and the Nazis were upon them and conquering most of Europe. Here in this war, we've had good foresight, a good vision of what Iranian-backed Islamic terrorism is going to look like."
Almost a year has passed since Oren made that cogent observation. Iran has made a year of steady progress toward its goal of building weapons of mass destruction and the long-range missiles with which to deliver them. And still no one is doing anything about it.
We must understand that Iran is building these proxy armies because it intends to use them. When Iran chooses to start another war through the proxies, Israel will be the target. This time Israel will face attacks not only from Hezbollah in the north but also from Gaza in the south.
Although the threats have changed—and changed for the worse—certain things will not change. When hostilities resume, Israel will be forced to fight enemies who hide their militants and missiles among the civilian population. When Israel seeks to defend itself, the media will once again criticize Israel, not the aggressors.
We Christians who love Israel must do everything in our power to ensure that when these events come to pass, we are united, organized and ready to leap to Israel's defense. We will need to be a powerful force that can ensure that America will continue to stand with Israel in the face of these threats. Sadly, Israel is going to need every last one of us.
John Hagee pastors Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. He is also the head of Christians United for Israel and the author of several books, including his most recent release, In Defense of Israel (FrontLine).
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