What's God got to do with it? Israel and Hamas heat up religious rhetoric
As the bitter fighting rages on between Israel and Gaza, both sides have upped the ante on divine justifications and religious mud-slinging in a bid to turn the most recent bloodshed and destruction into a 'holy war'.
Civilians have endured five days of conflict. With no sign of let up in sight, as children in Gaza die and buildings fall, both Hamas and Israel wrap the feud up in holy ideas.
Israel attached devout meaning to their military offensive from the offset, calling their operation, 'Pillar of Cloud', taking its name from a verse in Exodus referring to the form God adopted to protect the Children of Israel. But it wasn't long before Hamas got in on the religious act, using a verse from the Qur'an as the inspiration behind its own 'Stones of Shale' operation.
On Friday the armed wing of Hamas announced on Twitter: "Al Qassam Brigades launch two M75 homemade missiles towards occupied Jerusalem." While the two rockets fired by Gaza militants to the outskirts of the holy city might not have caused any physical damage or injuries, the attack has opened the floodgates for religious rhetoric.
One Christian Israeli from Jerusalem reportedly put the lack of destruction caused by the rockets down to the 'deflecting power of the angelic host'.
Following the attempted missile attack on the holy city, the Times of Israel reported: "We are grappling here with people who have lost “tzelem elohim” (the image of God), who have spurned the divine gift of life, rejected the sheer joy of drawing breath on this planet."
Claims have since surfaced on Twitter that, in a blatant attempt to insult Hamas' faith, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Israeli television: 'Whoever's bombing Jerusalem does not know God.'
With the violence set to escalate this weekend, many more are left wondering what on earth is 'holy' about all this devastation?
What do you think of this story - is the escalating violence in contradiction with religious beliefs on both sides? Does Hamas' attempted attack on Jerusalem show that they do 'not know God,' or were they left with little choice? Share your comments with us below!