In Gaza, who your neighbors are might determine whether or not your house will stay standing. When political enemies are targeted by rocket strikes, bystanders are often caught in the crossfire. That’s what happened to one Christian family in Gaza during recent attacks.
Although strikes are not uncommon in Gaza, the frequency and severity of attacks is increasing. John,* Gaza Study Center Director with Bethlehem Bible College, was in Gaza a few weeks ago when the attacks reached a peak.
“There was a sense of more tension in the two or three days that I was there, and on the Wednesday night, I did hear rockets landing in Gaza in the south,” John said. “I was in Gaza City and [while] there was nothing happening actually in Gaza City, about a mile away from Gaza City, there were these rocket attacks going on and exchange of fire.”
John left Palestine on Thursday. That night, as well as over the next few days, attacks began with especially vigorous frequency. “The whole thing was a mess,” John says. “Lots of rockets were landing and destroying houses and killing some people in Gaza. And of course, as far as the Israelis were concerned, their attack was in retaliation for rockets going over from led by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”
Since then, there have been attempts at a ceasefire, although John says there have been some exchanges of fire over the past few weeks. He believes more than 200 rockets landed in the Gaza area, decimating neighborhoods and homes.
Caught in the Crossfire
Often, people who are impacted by the exchanges of rocket fire aren’t actually involved in the conflict. Most targets are political, but many attacks see bystanders caught in the crossfire. According to John, “The experience of the people and the experience of the Christians in Gaza is ‘Is it going to happen to me? It may not be my house, but is it going to be the house next door that going to be hit?”
That’s how one Christian family lost their home a few weeks before these more recent attacks. Unbeknownst to them, the neighboring apartment in their complex was an office for an opposing political party. A rocket strike targeted the office, and their home was caught in the collateral explosion.
Almost everything the family owned was destroyed. There are only 900 Christians in Gaza, so when one family suffers, the entire Church of Gaza feels it. The local Body of Christ is doing what it can to help the family recover. For example, “I’ve been raising and other people are raising funds for this family, and they’re hoping next week to move into a new apartment,” John says. “The international community of Christians is providing a lot of support for them.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Alex Anhalt