Peaceniks misunderstand Islam

At a special ceremony in Jerusalem to mark the unification of the city 49 years ago during the Six Day War, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared: “The idea of a divided, split, wounded city is one we will never return to.” That statement mirrors the Israeli consensus on the subject of Jerusalem.

But, the Europeans, and many others, feel they cannot remain on the sidelines without contesting the Jews’ claims to Jerusalem and its homeland. For whatever reasons, they yearn to establish a State of Palestine (despite the existence of the Hamas-ruled Gaza and Palestinian Arab-majority Jordan.)

The Western “peacemakers” feel strongly that they must act because the status quo is intolerable. Coincidentally, they don’t have such feelings about the truly horrifying situation in the rest of the Middle East, where scores – if not hundreds – are killed daily (Libya, Yemen, Syria, Iraq) and borders which have stood for half a century have been erased (Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen).

There are continuous peace proposals from well-meaning Westerners, including Israelis from the (retired) security and diplomacy establishment, to “finally” settle things with the Arabs. These, presumably, are realistic plans. However, what all these plans have in common is the lack of understanding that Islam is a political religion, one that demands that its territories be free of non-believers, unless they accept dhimmi status (3rd class residency).

This huge omission makes the two-state solution a non-starter for Israelis. What good is a treaty with the Arabs that is just a prelude to the next, inevitable war against us, after we have made ourselves more vulnerable by retreating? Experience has already proven this in Lebanon and Gaza.

There is some type of agreement, albeit a temporary one, which is more realistic. That is a hudna: cease-fire, used specifically in the context of the 7th century CE Treaty of al-Hudaybiyya, but which lasted for only two years.

“Over the course of history, hudna became the standard term to describe a cessation of hostilities during jihad. … Should a Muslim victory seem remote, the caliph could declare a truce in the interests of the umma [worldwide community of Muslims].” www.middleeastforum.org

If one understands that a durable peace with Israel, on what Muslims claim is their irrevocable land, is impossible according to the Koran, a hudna might be reached between the adversaries. This temporary ceasefire would depend on Israel’s qualitative military advantage being maintained permanently, thereby allowing the Arabs to get the best deal possible while they hope for a more opportune time to fight Israel.

The latest “peace” proposals, under the aegis of the Israel Policy Forum, were developed by the Center for a New American Security and the Commanders for Israel’s Security, a coalition of some 200 former senior members of the IDF, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), Mossad and police forces who advocate in support of a two-state solution. The aim is to be a “plan of action to extricate Israel from the security dead end and to improve its security situation and international standing.”

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amnon Reshef, a former commander of the IDF Armored Corps, told journalists recently: “The rationale behind our Security First plan is that you don’t have to have a partner [for peace] and Israel can and should launch certain measures independently, without considering whether there is or isn’t a partner, until some future negotiation will occur on the permanent solution.”

Is this first report suggesting a hudna? No, it is the same kind of unilateral action which former Prime Minister Sharon foisted on Israel, when 8,000 Israelis and the IDF were hastily removed from the Gaza Strip. Instead of improving Israel’s security situation and international standing, the opposite occurred. So it has been with every withdrawal in the name of “land for peace.” What results is not peace, but renewed attacks from Arabs taking advantage of naive Israeli peace lovers.

Reshef stressed that military action and security measures are not enough to defeat terrorism. Perhaps, but diplomacy without overwhelming military might doesn’t work. Pretending that unilateral withdrawal is enough to defeat terrorism is groundless, if I may use that word in both its definitions.

“It [the plan] should be combined with helping the relevant Palestinians, whether they are in the West Bank, Jerusalem or Gaza, to improve their standards of living, provide them with a kind of hope,” Reshef said, “Then, we will neutralize a lot of their disappointment, their frustration, and they might not enter the roots of terror.”

This theme, which ignores the Islamic imperative for conquest (jihad) in favor of economic benefits, totally misses the point of Islamic revanchism (a policy of retaliation, especially to recover lost territory). Reshef and his colleagues further believe that Israel should give up all its claims to Judea and Samaria beyond the security barrier, including giving up “Palestinian neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.” (That includes Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount, and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the second holiest site.)

The second report lays out six key principles for a security system of a two-state solution: “Israel retains the right of self-defense in emergency situations; minimizing Israeli visibility to Palestinian civilians; conducting significant upgrades to security systems and infrastructure; planning a phased redeployment of Israeli security forces; establishing joint operations centers and data sharing mechanisms for Israelis and Palestinians; and employing American forces along the Jordan River.”

In other words, Israel should remove its security forces, which eliminate most terrorist attacks, join with the Arab security forces which are often made up of terrorists, and lastly, ask Americans to be Israel’s first line of defense on the eastern border (which violates Israel’s cardinal rule to protect its borders with Israeli soldiers).

“The basic assumption that we make is that the Palestinians will give [in to] Israel on security in exchange for borders,” Ilan Goldenberg, co-author of the proposal explained. “This is something that could be acceptable to both sides. It’s very important to dispel this myth that the security issue makes it impossible to get to any kind of agreement.” Land for peace, yet again.

Goldenberg added that some of the suggested steps could be taken today, without negotiations or any agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. (Jerusalem Post, June 5)

The Israel Policy Forum states in its principles that it is promoting a lasting peace for Israel. These principles include, “Both Israelis and Palestinians have a responsibility to prepare their peoples for compromises that will be essential for a future negotiated peace, and to oppose incitement, extremism and violence.” Yet it makes proposals that give away Israel’s advantage with no requirement that the Palestinian Arabs completely cease incitement, extremism and violence. How smart is that? After all, look what’s happened in Gaza, which takes orders from Iran, as does Lebanon.

Israel can do without what I think are weak proposals that rely on the good will of Muslims. There are certainly Muslims who are liberals, but there is no such thing as moderate Islam. The West needs to learn that lesson. (See: There is no “radical Islam” and there is also no “moderate Islam” by Dr. Mordechai Kedar,) Until moderate Muslims take charge, well-meaning, Western peacemakers won’t accomplish a thing.

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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