“Arabs who have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminating legislation against us—– never did a nation molest, degrade debase and hate us as much as they—-” [Maimonides]
Scanning the world news one finds that little has changed since the time of Maimonides. In 1986, Connor Cruise O’Brian described precisely the same observation and authored a book appropriately titled “The Siege”. Indeed, the world is oblivious to the fact that there is only one country worldwide which suffers from this state of affairs continuously, which dates back prior to its inauguration.
Military aggression enacted by Israel’s enemies prevailed for years, replaced by diplomacy and now involves both. “Arab League warns Israel playing with fire over Temple Mount.” Incredible? Israel installed metal detectors at entrance to the site to prevent visitors and ostensible worshipers from smuggling weapons into the place. One would have thought that this would have been welcomed by all the parties. But no, the new equipment “fanned criticism and protests that Israel had unilaterally changed the rules regarding religious worship and tourist visits at the complex—”
Why have the Muslim authorities responded with such rage? Why is Abbas who it is known largely dependent on Israel for his safety, threatening to cut off ties with Israel? The Oslo II Accords resulted in the West Bank being “temporarily” segregated into three areas designated as A, B and C. Area A was to be exclusively administered by the PA, Area B was to be administered by both the PA and Israel while Area C, which contains Israeli settlements was to be administered by Israel.
It is a fact that where the Palestinian residents elect to function normally, they enjoy a higher standard of living than Arabs anywhere in the Middle East. So why the rage? Why throughout the years has Israeli concessions led to rebellions? Why is the Arab League joining in the Chorus? Why are Jews in Turkey being attacked consequent to the Temple Mount crisis?
It is true that we have become accustomed to heinous and wanton Jihadist murder in our streets with some regularity. But we should at least not be fooled by the lies which accompany the shear cruelty of events such as we have witnessed in recent days. At the heart of this current wave of violence is not metal detectors. It clearly is about Israel’s sovereignty as a Jewish state and it is about Israel’s identity as a promised people on a promised land with a promised destiny. We surely know that this problem will remain until we persistently put forward and articulate our alternative plans to the two state non-solution.
Vic Rosenthal’s brilliant “The Three Jewish-Arab- Conflicts” surfaced this past week on July 21. He cleverly explains the existence of three separate conflicts “raging in the same place, involving more or less the same people.” He sees them as having distinct objectives intertwined in a complex way detrimental to ending any of them.
The first concerns the PA/Israel over borders, settlements, security and other geopolitical issues which Rosenthal characterizes as a political conflict. The second is a national conflict between the Jewish people and those Arabs “whose self-defining national narrative is that of ‘Palestinians'”. The subject matter is that of disagreement over the historical title to the land between the river and the sea. The third is the religious conflict between “Jews and Muslims.”It has to do with Muslim belief [Shari’a Law] which alleges that ‘land that had once been Muslim’ must not be allowed to remain in the hands of infidels.”
Rosenthal points out that the general public are somewhat unaware of the fact that the 2nd and 3rd conflict greatly supersedes the 1st. He provides as an example, the generous compromise at Camp David/Tuba, which failed simply because Arafat could not accept an agreement which did not include the “right of return” of refugees.
The Arabs contend that the “Palestinians” are a distinct people dating back to residence in the land [both sides of the Jordan]since biblical times. Further, they were usurped by colonial Zionists through invasion in 1948.
Of course, this is entirely false, not withstanding much universal acceptance. To them, only complete repossession can commence to restore Palestinian honor. There is an imperative to regain the land between the river and the sea as an “Islamic waqf” as stated in the original Hamas Charter. Thus the need to satisfy religion and national honor is sacrosanct.
Metal detectors are used in Mecca during the Haj in addition to more intense measures. Two issues pertain, the negation of issuance of directives by non-Muslims on who may enter the site to safe guard Muslims and the acknowledgement of permisibility of resistance to the “occupation”. It needs to be understood that Jihad for the sake of recovering land that was once dar al-Islam is” praiseworthy”.
There is no way to solve political conflicts through negotiations or compromise where honor and religion apply. This can be readily observed in both the failed Camp David meeting, which resulted in the 2nd intifada and the violence which followed the Clinton inspired Barak offer. As noted by Vic Rosenthal, contemporary diplomacy can only solve political conflicts, not ones about honor or religion.
In a previous blog by this blogger, the political and nationalistic positions espoused by Professor Sari Nusseibeh were addressed. His religious arguments follow:
“——-while Jerusalem is mentioned 600 times in the Bible, it is not mentioned once in the Torah as such -a fact that any Biblical Concordance will easily confirm.” This statement is absolutely in error. While it is true that the word “Jerusalem” does not appear in the Chumash [Five Books of Moses], this is simply because it was not yet called Jerusalem; the Chumash refers 19 times to “the place that God will chose” as the center for Jewish life and religion [e.g. Deuteronomy 12:11, 14 etc.]. The Prophets Shmuel and Gad finally reveal to King David that this chosen place is Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Maimonides, writing around 882 years ago, offers 3 reasons that the Chumash does not reveal the identity of the holy city:
[a] The nations may have tried to take advantage of its spiritual nature by making it into a centre of idol worship.
[b] If the nations had learned that this place would express the highest Jewish ideals, they would have united in an effort to occupy and prevent the Jews from ever controlling it.
[c] Each of the 12 tribes would have desired Jerusalem in their borders, and this would lead to disunity.
Once the Jews had conquered and divided the land, the above ceased to be a consideration.
The core of Nusseibeh’s religious case is in the following outlandish statement:
“——–and indeed no responsible person can morally recognize Israel as a “Jewish State” as such. It has to do with the very Covenant of God in the Bible with Ancient Israelites of the promise of a homeland for Jews.” He then proceeds with full quotes from Genesis 15:18-21, Deuteronomy 7:1-2 and 9:1-4, Joshua 6:21 and Samuel 15:1-3 to confirm his assertion. Thus:
“Nevertheless, it remains true that, in the Old Testament, God commands the Jewish state in the Land of Israel to come into being through warfare and violent dispossession of the original inhabitants.” He expands on this by stressing that the command has its roots in the very Covenant of God with Abraham [or rather “Abram” at that time] – the core of Judaism. This is true, but what he selectively fails to do, is to point out that the nations mentioned were ancient enemies of the Jews.
In response, it is recommended to him that he reads Senator Jim Inhofe’s “Israel’s Right to the Land” published by Aish.com on March 4, 2002. The “moderate” professor Sari Nusseibeh needs to understand that Judaism encompasses three core ideas – God, Torah and the Land of Israel. Furthermore, our “warlike” stature as forecasted was in preparation of the many wars imposed on us in defense of our sovereignty and our very lives.
In closing, for the good professor’s benefit, a reminder. The great 11th century Biblical commentator Rashi asks a question of the very 1st sentence in the bible [Gen 1:1]. Why does God begin the bible with the creation of the universe? If the bible is a book of theology for the Jews, why not begin with the creation of the Jewish nation and go immediately to the story of Exodus? That’s when the Jews become a nation, get the Torah, and go into the land.
And Rashi answers; stating that in the future, the nations of the world will say “you are thieves” to the people. You have stolen the land from the Canaanite nations. So God begins the bible here at the creation of the universe to tell the world, “I am the Creator of the Universe. Everything is mine. I choose to give the Land of Israel to the Jewish people.”