From the very beginning of the modern political struggle for the territory set aside by the League of Nations as a Mandate for Palestine (encompassing both sides of the Jordan River), a three-sided imbroglio has ensued. On the eastern side of the river the British situated a branch of the Hashemite ruling family, from the Hijaz region in Arabia, and disallowed any Jewish residency there. In exchange for Jewish agreement to this initial British partition, the remainder of historic Palestine-Israel (the western half of the country) was placed under mandatory authority as a future homeland for the Jewish people.
Palestine was the name that the Romans gave to Israel after they defeated an insurrection against their rule by the Jews, in the second century A.D. The Roman church subsequently alluded to the territory as “Palestine” in their religious attempt to dissociate the country from its proper name (Israel), and therefore its proper ownership. In the entire history of Islamic theology and territorial expansion, the word “Palestine” was a complete non-entity. It never existed. The terms Jews and Judaism come from the ancient Israelite province of Judea, which encompasses most of what is now the so-called “West Bank”. Islam has established this land through the Koran (5-21) as prescribed by Holy Writ, specifically for the Jewish people.
The history of the long-held Islamic theological understanding that the “Holy Land”, as described in the Koran as a “land which G-d has prescribed for you,” couldn’t be more clear. According to G-d’s words through the direct intermediation of the Prophet Mohamed, Jews have been commanded to “enter the land”. All true Islamic followers of G-d’s Holy Words understand and agree that the ownership of the Land of Israel had been established long before the events of Mecca and Medina. The Koranic allusion to Moses and his people, and their linkage to Israel-Palestine, is also the visibly manifest proof that to be a Muslim (to submit to G-d’s authority) requires an understanding of the Divine Intention as described in both Torah and Koran. For Muslims, Abraham was the father of the Islamic Ummah (nation or community). But the Koranic connection of this father is not only to his son Ishmael, but also lives through the Jewish line of Isaac. The glorious events at Sinai and their aftermath are inscribed by the Koran as an everlasting covenant — from the first monotheist and leading directly to Moses, Joshua, David and Solomon. Therefore Israel has been enshrined as the Jewish Holy Land by Allah both through the Koran and through the main line of Torah prophecy.
Even in the last one hundred years, many leading Islamic leaders and theologians have subscribed to this view. After WWI the Sharif of Mecca, Hussein bin Ali, and his son King Faisal of Iraq proclaimed their support for Zionist views. On March 23, 1918 Al Qibla, the daily newspaper of Mecca, printed the following words in favor of the Balfour Declaration of 1917: “The resources of the country (Palestine) are still virgin soil and will be developed by the new Jewish immigrants. We have seen the Jews from foreign countries streaming to Palestine from Russia, Germany, Austria, Spain and America. The cause of causes could not have escaped those who had the gift of deeper insight. They knew that the country was for its original sons (the Jews), for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland. The return of these exiles to their homeland will prove materially and spiritually an experimental school for their brethren who are with them in the fields, factories, trades and all things connected to the land”.
On January 3, 1919 Hussein’s son, Faisal I of Iraq, and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization, signed the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement. This conditional agreement called for expansive Arab-Jewish partnership and cooperation for the regional development of the Levant. Faisal conditionally accepted the Balfour Declaration and stated unequivocally: “We Arabs look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organization to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper. We will do our best, insofar as we are concerned, to help them through; we will wish the Jews a most hardy welcome home. I look forward, and my people with me look forward to a future in which we will help you and you will help us, so that the countries in which we are mutually interested may once again take their places in the community of civilized peoples of the world”.
The true and only authentic Muslim position with regard to the Jewish Holy Land has also been expressed by many Islamic scholars and theologians. They range across many countries from Morocco to Indonesia. The Islamic Oral Law on this subject has an eleven hundred year old history. Abu Jafar Tabari, writing sometime between 838 and 923, established the definitive understanding. According to Tabari, Muslim tradition holds that there is a “Preserved Tablet” in heaven by which all the sacred documents of the three linked religions of the Abrahamic tradition are stored. It is upon this tablet that the ownership of the Jewish Holy Land rests. Nothing can supersede this “Preserved Tablet”. In other words, the Jewish possession of Israel is an understanding established not only within Judaism, but as an ecumenical, interfaith document as well. In Islam, Israel is not only a Covenant of the Torah but it is a Jewish, Christian and Islamic Trust established by Divine Order and “preserved” solely as a possession for the Jewish People.
Enter Hamas, a self-proclaimed Islamic organization. They advocate for the violent and permanent elimination of the State of Israel. One only needs to read their charter to understand vividly their unholy anti-Islamic intent. The preamble to this evil document states: “Israel exists and continues to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it (Islam) obliterated others before it”. This statement cannot be Islamic, for it severs the Divine connection to Abraham in his fatherly totality, and thereby the Islamic line to both Judaism and Christianity. Hamas is declaring that only Islam has rights in “Palestine” and that the Torah and the New Testament are false applications of Divine Will. But Islam cannot exist without its Divine connection to Judaism and Christianity. Both Moses and Jesus are written into Koran. Koran cannot be expunged of its Jewish and Christian roots, for it is the Divine Word of Allah. To say otherwise is to be a non-believer.
Now, once again, the Oslo Peace Process and its two-state, west-of-the-river paradigm has broken down. The PLO and Hamas have initialed a Unity Agreement. From a Jewish perspective, this can only be interpreted as a declaration of war. Perhaps more precisely, the final breakdown of Oslo should be considered the end of a long truce intersected by outright warfare (the second intifada). Whatever the future holds, Hamas can have absolutely no legitimate role other than that of a combatant.
On the other hand, once this infidel organization adopts a truly Islamic position with regard to Israel, a genuine theological peace process can begin. Hamas holds the key to the future of the Palestinian people. It can fight the Divine Will, or it can submit to it. The Arab future in the Jewish Holy Land, on both banks of the Jordan River, rests with Hamas and the Islamic Brotherhood. The Jews have chosen from the very inception of the conflict that it was a Divine Command to live in peace with their Muslim brothers. Once their brothers choose the same way, the war will end. Hopefully, true Islam will prevail.