The Arabic Answer to Arabs

The plight of the Arabs of Palestine since 1947 can be summed up in one or two simple Arabic words.

When they complain about the existence of the Jewish State of Israel or of their dispossession of former homes and land now in Israel. we should simply remind them of the teaching of Islamic religious faith in two Arabic words: mashallah (it is the Will of God) and insh’allah (God has wanted it to be).

It is indeed the Will of God that His promise to the ancient Hebrews (Israelites) was realized by the Prophet Mohammed when he wrote in the holy Quran that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews.

For solely political purposes, obviously, the Islamic imams fail to teach it to their followers.

Instead, they instill within them the Arabic word jihad which has three meanings: a fight or struggle against the enemies of Islam, a fight against infidels, and a struggle within one’s self to avoid sin.

None of the Islamic or Quranic texts define it as a massacre or persecution of others. And especially, as Jews are never regarded as infidels by Islamic teachings, jihad should never be applied to Jews.

Interestingly, in 12th-15th centuries in Spain, Jews and Muslims lived side by side in peace, tolerance and often in deep friendships with one another. The bitter hatred that we know today began in the late 19th century when European Jews began moving to Palestine, buying and cultivating land from Arabs.

The fear of Arab eventual homelessness inspired their religious leaders to fight against the Jewish “occupiers” of Arab land. And it grew with the development of Jewish settlements, agricultural colonies like Rishon Lezion and Petach Tikvah, and stalwart protected areas such as Ain Harod, Tel Chai, Kfar Giladi, among others on the border with Lebanon.

The Zionist manifesto born out of the labors of the Austrian-Hungarian writer and thinker, Dr. Theodor Herzl, put terror into the hearts of all Arabs and Muslims in the entire Middle East. Their way of life was being overturned by cultured and well-educated European Jews, joined with many Jews from Islamic countries, in particular the Jews of Yemen who were among the first Jews to settle in Palestine since the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple by the Romans in the year 70 C.E.

The Yemenite Jews were Arabic-speaking and initially it was believed that the eastern Jews and the Arabs had more in common with each other than the Arabs and European Zionists.

But it did not take too long before the Arab riots resulted in the deaths of the Jews in Palestine.

The November 1917 Balfour Declaration of Great Britain specifically promised Palestine as a “home for the Jewish people”. It was ratified by the nascent League of Nations in 1918 and again at the San Remo Conference of the League of Nations in 1922.

With those internationally recognized documents, Palestine became the recognized Jewish homeland.

The Arabs, after the Treaty of Versailles, disputed such recognition based on the meaning of a “home” and a “homeland”. To them a “home” simply meant a place where Jews could live under Arab authority, whereas a “homeland” meant that the entire country was now given to the Jews.

The Arab riots and massacres of many hundreds of Jews— men, women and young children – began in Hebron in 1929 and continued in Jerusalem and other Jewish settlements and cities from 1936-1939 under the British Mandate of Palestine which began in 1918 and ended in 1948 when the Zionists living in Palestine proclaimed their independence on May 14 of that year on the day of the termination of the 30 years under the British Mandate.

While there were mixed populations in certain cities like Haifa, Jerusalem, Safed and Tiberias, many Jews and Arabs lived in relative harmony.

That ended in the mid 1930’s when the leader of Palestine’s Arab Muslims, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, declared open war on the Jews and whose troops massacred hundreds of Arabs who in some way were helping or being friendly with Jews.

In order to evade arrest by British police, he fled to Germany in 1940 and met frequently with Adolf Hitler in Berlin. Throughout World War II, the mufti served Hitler by creating an Islamic fighting force in Croatia to fight under the Nazi flag.

Regrettably since 1948 there has been no responsible Arab leader willing to make peace with Israel. The one great exception was the Egyptian president Anwar Sadat who, on November 19, 1977, flew from Cairo to Tel-Aviv and who addressed the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem declaring that it was time for war and enmity to end and for peace and friendship to blossom.

Years later, under different circumstances, King Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan signed a treaty of peace with Israel. A cold peace but a binding peace nonetheless.

So when you meet an Arab who tells you “this is my land. Why are you here”? simply reply in his native tongue: MASHALLAH ! God has willed it !

If he understands Hebrew tell him “zehu ratzono shel Elohim”.. this has always been the Will of God.

And so it shall be for all eternity.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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