In his “Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People,” aimed at moving from “Peace to Prosperity” (the Deal of the Century), President Trump recognizes Israel’s right – in the words of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967 – “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries, free from threats or acts of force.” He proposes to give the Arabs of Judea and Samaria more lands, money, and a state. He also envisions a just settlement of the refugee problem by offering the refugees assistance as part of a huge $52 billion package.
President Trump recognizes the rights of the Jews living in all parts of their historic homeland, in part of Judea and Samaria, but not in part of the proposed Palestinian state. He considers that the settlements are not illegal and he recalls that this land is the homeland of the Jews, its native/indigenous people. This is a clear answer to the charge of the International Criminal Court that such Jewish settlement is illegal.
Land for Peace (and Money)
Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims are engaged in a jihadist-religious, theological/metaphysical conflict with Israel’s Jews however much the West may refuse to see it.
During the 20th century, the Middle East conflict was seen as an Israeli-Arab territorial conflict that later became the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and was dealt with as such. The Palestine of the British Mandate, which was to become the Jewish homeland, was divided in order for the Arabs to have their own land. But it did not solve the conflict. The Arabs still did not want a Jewish home after getting 75 percent of Mandatory Palestine.
Already in 1935, Muslim scholars issued several fatwas1 prohibiting peace and normalization with Jews. In 1936, scholars at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University ruled that it was the duty of all Muslims to engage in jihad “to save Palestine.” In 1989, eminent Muslim scholars from 18 countries ruled that it was prohibited for Muslims to give up any part of Palestine.
Some 1,300 years after the conquest of the land by the Muslims in 636, Haj Amin al-Husseini,2 the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, led the Great Revolt in 1936 that was suppressed while the Jews continued to dry the swamps, to settle and rejuvenate the land. These events confirmed what the Zohar (Kabbalah) had said, namely, that the deserted land was given temporarily to the children of Ishmael for 1,300 years (636-1936). No more.
After 1967, the concept of “land for peace” was again considered a condition for resolving the conflict. For Israel, the 1993 Oslo Agreements and their territorial concessions were supposed to bring peace; instead they brought death and suffering. During the 25 years before the Oslo Agreements, “only” 254 people were killed in attacks committed by Palestinian Arabs. From the signing of the Declaration of Principles on September 13, 1993, to September 28, 2000, that is, in seven years, 256 civilians and soldiers were victims of Palestinian terror attacks. From September 27, 2000, to September 1, 2015, some 1,217 persons were killed (868 civilians) and 5,087 (4,737 civilians) were wounded. From September 2, 2015, to September 17, 2019, 99 were killed and 60 injured. And the attacks continue today.
Bas du formulaireFor the Palestinian Arabs, the Oslo Agreements were the application of the PLO’s 1974 “step-by-step plan.” Few have ever considered that what Israel strives for – peace and normalization – the Palestinian Arabs and Muslims cannot deliver, nor that Israel can never deliver what the Arab Muslims want: the disappearance of Israel and of the Jews in their own land – land they consider an Islamic trust.
New actors have appeared in the Middle East conflict, including the Iranian mullahs (1979), Hizbullah (1982), Hamas (1987), al-Qaeda (1988), and ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, 2006).
All states have considered the conflict as a territorial one and dealt with it as such – even Israel, and with a reasonable hope that a compromise over land would bring peace. The Trump administration seems to follow the same concept, while adding the sweetener of “billions of dollars” and the risk that after four years the Jews will be able to settle in their entire homeland.
But a wider perspective of this conflict leads to the conclusion that because of misguided thinking, ideology, and theology, there is and will be, for the medium term, no peace in the Middle East.
As noted, Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims are engaged in a jihadist-religious, theological-metaphysical conflict with Israel’s Jews however much the West refuses to see it. The BDS movement and the resulting sudden rise in anti-Semitism is part of this jihadist war against the Jews living around the world and in America, who are considered to side with Israel. It aims to delegitimize them and destroy the existing alliance between the United States and Israel, and to bring the world to accept the end of Israel.
American Jews have failed to realize that Islamic propaganda has made headway under the guise of Palestinian human rights. They do not fight the aims of J Street, an Obama creation designed to support his actions in siding with the Palestinian/Arab/Muslim discourse and to weaken American Jewish support for Israel. They have underestimated the effect of the Arab states’ investments and propaganda in American universities. They do not fight IfNotNow,3 Jewish Voice for Peace,4 and other NGOs such as the New Israel Fund,5 whose members might well be diagnosed as having a “Stockholm syndrome” unless they are unaware of the nature of the conflict.
Understanding the problem must begin with inspection of its roots. The Palestinian leaders, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabis, Hizbullah, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, most of the Muslim states (including Erdogan’s Turkey), the Iranian mullahs and government, all from whichever Islamic persuasion, share the same jihadist ideology, encapsulated in one sentence: “Allah is our goal, the Prophet is our ideal, the Koran is our constitution, jihad6 is our way, and death for the sake of Allah is our aspiration.” It has also been translated as “Allah is our objective, the Koran is our law, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our way, and death for the sake of Allah is the highest aspiration.”
The Jews in Israel are not their only enemies to be destroyed. This ideology justifies the killing of Jews and of infidels whoever they are and wherever they are found – from New York to Mumbai, Paris, Boston, San Bernardino, Orlando, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Berlin, Manchester, and London; and as far away as China, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and the Philippines.
This jihadist war is also underway against the Americans and all those “infidels”: Christians, Yazidis, Hindus, Buddhists, polytheists, pantheists, and generally all those who do not believe in the “religion of truth,” that is, Islam, and also against those Muslims who compromise with such so-called infidels. Over time, the Palestinian/Arab/Muslim conflict with Israel was extended against the non-Muslim world, and all those Muslims who do not share that goal, ideal, constitution, way, and aspiration. One does not have to be a prophet to foresee that unfortunately, a radical backlash, as in the horrific murders in Christchurch, New Zealand, is coming as a consequence of this jihadist war.
Muslims cannot accept that the Jews did not convert to Islam; that Christendom did not convert to Islam, nor that Islam’s conquests in Europe ended somewhere before Poitiers in France; that they lost Andalusia and some of the other lands that they had conquered for Islam in Europe, in Asia, and the Far East; and that they now feel discriminated against and even persecuted in several countries as far away as the Philippines, China, Burma, Kashmir, Somalia, Eritrea, Chechnya, Russia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
History has shown that to make an abstraction of the various complex dimensions of Middle Eastern conflicts leads nowhere. Nonetheless, world leaders and the media continue to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian/Arab/Muslim conflict as a territorial issue. They believe that if it could be resolved, Kumbaya peace and brotherhood7 would come to the whole world.
Land for Peace, Billions of Dollars Won’t Change Islam
Muslims fight the Jews to prove that their “divine promise” is still unborn; that it is an invention; that Jews should leave Israel and return to where they came from.
For many Muslims and Christians, except for Evangelists and others who view it as a divine plan, the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland can only be an accident of history – a parenthesis to be erased at some time in the future.
Muslims argue that since Jews and Christians did not convert to Islam, the world will be in turmoil until it acknowledges the Koran as the divine word.
Indeed the Koran, in its final version, is really two Korans. The first is spiritual, characterized by peace and tolerance (the one that former President Barack Obama referred to); the second is legislative and military, and promotes jihad and intolerance (the one that Obama ignored).
The Koran includes surahs and verses that were revealed in Mecca and in Medina, and “in case of contradiction, the last word of Allah prevails. Thus, by this rule, the Koran is stripped of more than 114 ‘soft,’ peaceful, previously revealed verses…”8 (see Surah 16:101).9
However, a chronological order has been provided to us by the studies of scholars of Islam, who distinguish between the Meccan surahs and the Medina surahs. The result is a chronology with major consequences, because what comes into play is the principle of abrogation10 (a nasikh verse repealing an abrogated mansukh verse), which is contained in the Koran itself (see Surah 2:100).11
The fight against the infidels, the idolaters, the nonbelievers, the Jews, and the Christians is declared starting with these two verses:
Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them,12 and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; God is All-forgiving. (Surah 9:5)
Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden, such men as practice not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled. (Surah 9:29)
The idolaters to be fought unless they convert to Islam are all those who do not believe in the religion of truth, i.e., Islam, constituting not less than half of humanity. The Jews and the Christians have a special status because they received the Bible, but they must be fought until they pay the tribute and are humbled. To be protected from angry Muslim mobs they must pay a tax (the djiziya), pursuant to Omar’s Rules on the dhimmi13 (protected-minority or second-class) status. Since today they are not humbled and do not pay any tribute, they must be fought.
The Prophet Muhammad foresaw that Islam would extend to the whole earth. It is therefore not surprising that Muslims interpret the massive immigration and the demographic increase of Muslims in Europe as a sign confirming Muhammad’s promise. In North America the number of Muslims is expected to nearly triple from more than three million as of 2010 to more than ten million in 2050, making Muslims the third-largest religious group in the region by mid-century.
For Islam, Once a Given Land Is under Islamic Rule, It Belongs to Islam
In this perspective, no permanent peace can be reached to resolve the Jewish-Israeli/Muslim-Arab-Palestinian conflict. It is not a territorial conflict. “Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion,” as stated by the Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), Article 13. For Islam, the sole solution is the end of the state of Israel before or on the Judgment Day. It is important to remember that the land of Palestine was under the Islamic Ottoman Caliphate for hundreds of years, and under Islamic rule for almost a millennium before that; it came under the rule of Great Britain only in 1918.
Indeed, by its mere presence on the land, most Muslims believe that Israel puts the Koran itself into question. The Koran states that the Jews (the Apostles) falsified the Bible by not mentioning the coming of a messenger named Ahmad (Surah 61). A second falsification, according to the Koran, is the substitution in the Bible of Ishmael by Isaac in the episode of Abraham’s sacrifice, and attributing the Divine Covenant to Isaac and his son Jacob and thus to the Jews, thereby attempting to deprive the Arabs of such a covenant. These Muslims consider that the Law of Moses was falsified by Ezra14 and that the Jews who follow the Torah earned God’s anger and do not have any legitimate right to the land. This is what they mean by claiming that the Jews falsified the word of God.
When confronted with the “Zionist” verses in the Koran that prophesize the return of the Children of Israel to their land, Muslim scholars dismiss them out of hand with claims that such verses are superseded or abrogated. If it is charged that this is a weak argument, they will assert that the Jews are not the Children of Israel and/or that the Jews, “as we know them,” are not worthy of wearing the mantle of being chosen.
Europeans and Americans who oppose any Jewish presence and building of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria (in Area C) perceive this as an obstacle to the so-called two-state solution. In parallel, Muslims fight against the Jews to prove that their “divine promise” is still unborn: that it is an invention and that Jews should leave Israel and return to the countries they came from. As for those who were born in the land before 1948, they must return to their natural, subservient dhimmi status; until then there can be no peace.
When the Israeli government dismantles a village in Judea and Samaria, it is simply applying a decision of Israel’s Supreme Court. But the Muslims see this as additional proof that God is against the Jews – that He is using Jews to fight against Jews, that their would-be “divine promise” is a lie, and that Jews have no right to be there, least of all in any sovereign capacity.
It is not by chance that the more religiously fanatical Hamas is a major threat to the less fanatical Fatah, infiltrating the latter continuously. Indeed, the proverbial “problem of Palestine” is four-square at the heart of the current struggle within Islam itself. Land for peace and billions of dollars will not end such religious war.
Land for Peace and the End of the Religious War
Although the Koran foresees the return of the Children of Israel to the land, for Muslims the Jews have no historic right to the land of their ancestors. Islam does not consider the Jews the Bnei Israel (the original Jews) but converts by religion. For both Islam and Christianity, at least for the majority of their adherents, the Jewish religion was replaced by Christianity, and then – as Muslims believe – Islam replaced Christianity.
When Islam refers to Jews as “People of the Book,” it is not invoking some ecumenical principle as liberals would have it. Rather, it is referring to the Jews as the first recipients of the word who then proceeded to falsify it, even though some glimmer of Islamic truth can be seen through a glass darkly in Jewish texts.
For Hamas, Fatah, the Arab Sunni Muslims, and the Shiite Iranians, “Israel with its Judaism and Jews challenges Islam and the Muslims by the simple fact of their existence” (see the Hamas Charter, Art. 28).15 In new words: “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims” (see New Hamas Charter, Art. 20).16
The Jews are no longer in the physical and metaphysical inferior position as Islam would want them to be. The Almighty brought the Jews back to their land, including to Judea and Samaria at its center, round about the ramparts of Jerusalem. There is no tribute (djiziya) paid for protection against Muslim mobs, and the Jews are no longer in the inferior position of dhimmis in their own land. The repeated attempts to erase the state of Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 were unsuccessful. The Jews won all those wars and the intifadas that followed.Bas du formulaire
Most Arab Muslims feel theologically and even emotionally humiliated because they can no longer humiliate the Jews. Muslims living in Judea and Samaria are required to show permits at checkpoints and are compelled to present an identity card to Jewish soldiers, including (supreme humiliation) to black Jewish soldiers, women Jewish soldiers, and sometimes black women Jewish soldiers who give them orders. Their lost “dignity” or “honor” will come back only when they will be able once again to humble the Jews.
This is not just a psychological condition, but one of theological trauma that they have to overcome. The return of the Jews to their land challenges Muslims theologically, calls into question their respective roles in their interpretation of the Creator’s plan and in what their civilization has brought to the world. How could one explain otherwise that 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide want to destroy Israel, a country of only nine million (the size of New Jersey) and its six million Israeli Jews?
The “Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People” (Deal of the Century), which includes land for peace, billions of dollars, and a state, will not end the religious/theological/metaphysical war. It will not stop the hate education in mosques and the media, as well as the present worldwide jihadist war. Money cannot buy Muslim beliefs. Giving more land and money to the criminals in Ramallah and elsewhere will make the Palestinian Authority more dangerous. It will give the Muslims/Arabs/Palestinians more strength to fight the Jews. The Israelis will not agree to surrender more land and risk their lives. They know what Oslo brought them.
Peace will come when the Jews say to the Muslims that the Jews are the Jews of the Bible and of the Koran, and that all the land (on both sides of the Jordan River) belongs to them; that God has given the land to His people; that they have come back as foreseen by the prophets and the Koran; that the Muslims should accept the Almighty’s will. Peace will come when U.S. President Donald Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, President Putin, the Pope, and other world leaders, such as President Macron, will have the courage to say the same.
Indeed, the return of the Jews to their land is in accordance with the prophets and the Koran:
And We [God] made a people [the Children of Israel] considered weak (and of no account), inheritors of lands in both East and West [east and west of the Jordan River], lands whereon We sent down Our blessings. (Surah A’raf, “The Heights,” 7:137)
And We said to the Children of Israel, “Dwell in the Land; and when the promise of the world to come comes to pass, We shall bring you en masse.” (Surah al-Isra, “The Night Journey,” Bani Isra’il, “Children of Israel,” 17:105)
Peace will begin when Jewish and Israeli leaders will state that the Jews are the native/indigenous people of the land and they will settle en masse in Judea and Samaria in accordance with the prophets and the Koran: “My people, enter the Holy Land which God has prescribed for you, and turn not back in your traces, to turn into losers” (Koran, “The Table,” 5:21). Until now they have turned into losers.
Peace will be when they will exercise without fear their right pursuant to international law: the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Agreements, the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), the British Mandate (1922), the San Remo Resolution (1920), the Treaty of Sèvres (1920), and the Balfour Declaration (1917), which reestablished the Jews’ historical indigenous rights to all of the land.
The religious war against the Jews and the non-Muslims should be tackled head on. The Islamic world is in crisis, and the leaders of the world must have a road map to address it to prevent a World War III. Still, world leaders say that it has nothing to do with Islam, or that it merely represents a perversion of Islamic teachings. They must be politically correct.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is aware of the harsh reality. He clearly stated before Al-Azhar University in Cairo and the Awqaf (Religious Endowments) Ministry on December 28, 2015,17 and in connection with Prophet Muhammad’s upcoming birthday:
We must take a long, hard look at the current situation. I have talked about this several times in the past…. It is inconceivable that the ideology we sanctify …is hostile to the entire world. Is it conceivable that 1.6 billion [Muslims] would kill the world’s population of seven billion, so that they could live [on their own]? This is inconceivable. I say these things here, at Al-Azhar, before religious clerics and scholars. … Let me say it again: We need to revolutionize our religion.… Honorable Imam [the Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar], you bear responsibility before Allah. The world in its entirety awaits your words, because the Islamic nation is being torn apart, destroyed, and is heading to perdition. We ourselves are bringing it to perdition.18
On March 13, 2018,19 President Bouteflika of Algeria stated: “We must call the ulemas, religious authorities and centers of academic research to work for the renovation of religious discourse and its purification from diversions.”
A declaration was adopted during an International Gathering of Ulama (Halaqah) held on May 21-22, 2017, at Pondok Pesantren Bahrul ‘Ulum, Tambak Beras in Jombang, East Java. This special document, entitled the “Gerakan Pemuda Ansor Declaration on Humanitarian Islam,”20 was sent to this group’s emissary for the United Nations, the Americas, and Europe for distribution. Although most Indonesians have adopted Wahhabism, this group has the merit to tell the truth to world leaders and to state that they see a threat to all humanity:
The Islamic world is in the midst of a rapidly metastasizing crisis, with no apparent sign of remission…. It is false and counterproductive to claim that the actions of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram and other such groups have nothing to do with Islam, or merely represent a perversion of Islamic teachings. They are, in fact, outgrowths of Wahhabism and other fundamentalist streams of Sunni Islam.…
For more than fifty years, Saudi Arabia has systematically propagated a supremacist, ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam among Sunni Muslim populations worldwide.
Muslim religious and political leaders should be told that the hostilities against Israel and the non-Muslim world might lead to the War of Gog and Magog, of which the Koran says: “There is a ban upon any city that We have destroyed; they shall not be restored until Gog and Magog are unloosed, and they slide down out of every slope, and nigh has drawn the true promise, and behold, the eyes of the unbelievers staring: ‘Alas for us! We were heedless of this; nay, we were evildoers’” (Surah Anbiyaa, “The Prophets,” 21:96-98, Arberry translation, p. 331, standard numbering: 21:95-97).
In this context, the Koran warns: “Upon the day when their faces are turned about in the Fire they shall say, ‘Ah, would we had obeyed God and the Messenger!’ They shall say, ‘Our Lord, we obeyed our chiefs and great ones, and they led us astray from the way. Our Lord, give them chastisement two-fold, and curse them with a mighty curse” (Sura Ahzab, “The Confederates,” 33:66, Arberry translation, p. 435, standard numbering: 33:66-67)
The Trump administration should adapt his “Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People” (the Deal of the Century) to this context, since the Israeli/Arab-Palestinian conflict is in reality a Jewish/Muslim-Arab-Palestinian conflict that has been extended to the world.
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1 A fatwa, in Islam, is “a formal ruling or interpretation on a point of Islamic law given by a qualified legal scholar (known as a mufti). Fatwas are usually issued in response to questions from individuals or Islamic courts. Though considered authoritative, fatwas are generally not treated as binding judgments; a requester who finds a fatwa unconvincing is permitted to seek another opinion” (Encyclopaedia Britannica).
9 Surah 16:101: “And when We substitute a verse in place of a verse – and Allah is most knowing of what He sends down – they say, ‘You [O Muhammad], are but an inventor [of lies].’ But most of them do not know.”
10 Amelie Boukhobza, “Jouissances jihadistes: genèse d’une haine intellectuelle,” https ://www.theses.fr/2015NICE2036.
11 Surah 2:106: “We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?”
14 Ezra was a priest (kohen) and a Jewish scribe of the Law of Moses who at the time of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, returned with Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem where the Second Temple was rebuilt. He was sent by the king to take care of “Judah and Jerusalem according to the law of his God that is in his hand and to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 7:14).
17 MEMRI. https://www.memri.org/tv/egyptian-president-al-sisi-al-azhar-we-must-revolutionize-our-religion.
18 Daniel Pipes, “Sisi and the Reform of Islam,” National Review, January 19, 2015.
19 “Message du Président Bouteflika à l’occasion de la 35e session du Conseil des Ministres arabes de l’intérieur,” 7 mars 2018, https://www.aps.dz/algerie/70826-message-du-president-bouteflika-a-l-occasion-de-la-35e-session-du-conseil-des-ministres-arabes-de-l-interie%20ur.
20 “Letter of Instruction Regarding Gerakan Pemuda Ansor Declaration on Humanitarian Islam,” May 23, 2017, https://www.baytarrahmah.org/media/2017/Gerakan-Pemuda-Ansor_Declaration-on-Humanitarian-Islam.pdf.