By Mark Ellis
As the world watches and waits to see if a cease fire will take hold, one courageous woman who ministers in the refugee camps in Gaza prays for God to shield the innocents.
“God doesn’t hate the people of Gaza,” says Karen Dunham, founder of Living Bread International Church. “This is a war against the principality of terror,” she maintains.
Now based in east Jerusalem, Dunham says she lost communication five days ago with her office in Gaza. “All the phone communication was cut,” she notes. “You have 1.5 million people who can’t communicate with each other.”
Using a generator for a few minutes, her office manager in Gaza managed to get out one email to Dunham. “We are all really prisoners, prisoners of terror. We are suffocating,” the message read. All the windows in their Gaza office were blown out by the concussive effects of nearby explosions.
“They all want out of Gaza,” Dunham observes.
She also heard from one of her Muslim converts to Christianity. She encouraged him to move from his neighborhood into her home, which is in a safer area of Gaza. “His whole family are jihadists,” she says. “He said, ‘Mom, I can’t move. We can’t even step outside.’”
She says the Palestinians in the old city of Jerusalem near her office are also filled with trepidation. “The Palestinian people are really afraid,” she notes. “Even though they are far away from Gaza, they have shut down their schools.”
Only a few minutes ago, an air raid siren went off near Dunham’s office. She is highly critical of Hamas, but doesn’t believe they want to hit the old city intentionally with missiles.
Dunham describes an extensive underground network of tunnels beneath Gaza, where Hamas conceals themselves. “They hide under day care, schools, hospitals, and even under the U.N. building,” she says. This strategy places women and children at risk, but the Hamas leadership doesn’t seem to be concerned.
“They don’t care if they die, because it’s like a trophy for Allah and they go instantly to paradise. It’s a warped ideology. But if you understand extreme ideology, then you can know how to pray.”
“We’re asking people to pray to release the shield of the Lord, to ask the Lord to shield the people. We want the principality of terror to fall.”
Dunham met with an Israeli friend with government connections this afternoon, who said there have been escalations of protest activity by Palestinians in Jenin, Jericho, Bethlehem and Hebron. “At the Damascus gate, only one block from our office in Jerusalem, they are protesting, throwing stones,” Dunham notes. “The people are aggravated.”
Her friend insisted that the current crisis should not be referred to as a war, but rather an operation. “They are on a specific assignment, to take out the weapons,” Dunham notes. “They don’t want to finish until the job is finished.”
Even as a cease-fire seems imminent, Israel continues to call up reservists. “They just called more reservists today: doctors, teachers, and medical drivers, everybody they need.”
Dunham is anxious for the cease-fire to take hold, so she can back to the refugee camps in Gaza and bring food and other relief to the Palestinian people. “I don’t sympathize with Hamas, but I do sympathize with the Palestinian people,” she says.
“I love Israel and I stand with Israel. Gaza is part of Israel. It was blood-bought at Calvary. It’s part of Judah’s inheritance.”
“Do I love everything Israel does? No. I don’t think we should go in and wipe out all the Palestinian people.
“God loves Israel and Israel will become all that God created her to be. “There is room for both people. I side with God and God loves all the people.”
If you want to hear more about Karen Dunham’s life, listen to episode 1 of our Best of God Reports Interview Podcast with journalist Mark Ellis: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-1-karen-dunham-ministry-in-refugee-