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The Main Reason for the Present Middle East Conflict: ISLAM and not "The Territories"

by Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center

Because of the humanistic and mainly secular mindset of the West, also of the major part of Israel’s population, the following will be difficult to accept and digest, and that is: The chief reason for the Middle East conflict is not so much a secular political one, but a religious Islamic one!

Because the West nor Israel, generally speaking, does not want to be seen as being against another man’s religious beliefs there is a widespread reluctance to face up to this problem.  It is not done in our so-called tolerant society to criticize the tenants of a whole religion which comprises one billion adherents, and yet it is impossible to really solve the present Middle East conflict without facing up to this overall problem.

This is what this essay is purportedly trying to do.  It will be in some ways difficult, but it is highly necessary.  Because Islam believes that it is the final revelation of Allah, superseding all previous ones, it has a high built-in characteristic of intolerance.

From the main religions it is indeed the youngest and thus the latest one and therefore it can easily claim without too much fear of contradiction that it is the final and more superior revelation of God.  This being so, Islam has conveniently divided the whole world into two spheres:  ‘Dar al-Harb and ‘Dar al-Islam.’  Dar al-Islam being the house or region of peace that means all lands and peoples already conquered by Islamic forces; and Dar el Harb being those lands and people in the world that still need to be conquered by Islam which is therefore the whole remaining world. 

In The Dhimmi Bat Ye’or writes (page 45):

The jihad is a global conception that divides the peoples of the world into two irreconcilable camps: that of the dar al-Harb, the “Territory of War,” which covers those regions controlled by the infidels; and the dar al-Islam, “the Territory of Islam,” the Muslim homeland where Islamic law reigns.  The jihad is the normal and permanent state of war between the Muslims and the dar al-Harb, a war that can only end with the final domination over unbelievers and the absolute supremacy of Islam throughout the world.

Once the forces of Islam conquer a land or territory, it is to remain under Islamic dominion forever (‘for generations’), and it is a mortal affront to the supremacy of Islam when such territories would ever be lost to the dominion of Islam and revert to previous - infidel - ownership as was the case in Palestine.  It was a Muslim controlled territory (under the Muslim Turks and later the Muslim Arabs) and reverted by the decree of the U.N. resolution back to its previous owners: the Jews. 

This is how the Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement spells it out in several passages:

Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan el-Banna)

“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day.  It, or any part of it, should not be squandered; it, or any part of it, should not be given up.  Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that.  Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Muslim generations until Judgement Day.  This being so, who could claim to have the right to represent Muslim generations till Judgement Day?

This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia (law) and the same goes for any land the Muslims have conquered by force, because during the times of (Islamic) conquests, the Muslims consecrated these lands to Muslim generations till the Day of Judgement.” (The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement, 18 August 1988, Article Three) 

The Arab League Secretary General Azzam Pasha, said on 1 May 1948  thus even before the Jewish State was born:

If the Zionists dare establish a state in Falastin, the massacre which will ensue here will dwarf anything which Genghis Khan and Hitler did.”

Therefore, the acceptance of Jihad or ‘holy war’ comes easy to Islam.  From its inception Islam has been a warring and very bloody, subjugating religion, which has not blushed at the use of war and terror but glorified it as the absolute will of Allah.

This then is the main problem.  As long as Islam remains intolerant of really accepting any other group of people on an equal basis - rather than as dhimmies to be subjugated by Islam - there can never be a real peace with an Islamic power.  Only a ‘submission’ (which is what Islam means) to its stated superiority and dictates.  This awaits the whole world including the secular, often irreligious, West.

This is why the Muslim children chant, especially during the Middle East Wars: “We shall fight on Saturday and then on Sunday”  In other words, first the Jews and then the Christians.  Make no mistake about this. When Israel will be swallowed up by the sea of Jihad, soon to be armed by weapons of mass destruction acquired by Muslim Iran and Muslim Iraq and others, the Muslims will believe that Allah has brought them to this point that they can finally reoccupy their Muslim Palestine and drive the Jews, the infidels as they would call them - into the sea as they have said and screamed many times in the name of their Allah.

We only need to look at the genocide by Muslims of over a million Christians in Southern Sudan, the massacres of Christians in Indonesia by Muslims and elsewhere not to mention the genocide of Armenian Christians in the past by Muslim Turks - to know that this chant is no empty threat.

But when Israel is no more their hands will be free to turn yet again to the West as they did in the sixth and seventh centuries when they were finally stopped in their Islamic invasion at Tours and Poitiers in the middle of France having conquered all areas of Europe from Istanbul to Vienna and from Morocco to the middle of France, including Spain.  This time after Israel has been dealt with in true Islamic fashion they will try again.

Through their oil, wealth and the enormous spread of their religion through thousands of Mosques and millions of Muslim adherence all over the world, Islamic leaders believe the day has come to wipe out the humiliation of that defeat in Europe by the armies of Charles Martel and now re-conquer Europe and all the West for Allah thus adding also these territories Europe to become ‘Dar al-Islam’: part of the house and possession of Islam.

This however, is not seen or understood by the vast majority of the Western leaders, nor in that sense by most of the leaders of Israel.  Therefore the West with all its diplomacy and myriads of trips to help find a solution to the Middle East conflict were unable to do so because of an unwillingness to face up to this central reason for the conflict.  This essay tries to put the finger on this overall problem without which no solution will be found to this Middle East conflict.

Because of this its very nature from the beginning Mohammedans have believe that is their holy duty - to subject the whole world - even be it by force of Jihad - to the teaching of Islam.

The word ‘Islam’ as has already been noted, expressed this very connotation: to submit.  Therefore, there is little restraint if any with the fanatic adherents to this faith about using force, terrorism, war and cunning to attain this goal.  Actually all of this is sanctified and rewarded by Allah.

As John Laffin writes in his book, The Arab Mind:

The fundamentalism and fanaticism of the Islamic revolution have affected Arab thinking and especially that of Shi’a Arabs … as well as that of those Palestinians who are members or supporters of the PLO.  They have embraced terrorism and violence as normal expressions of political opinion. (Page 169)

Thus if the Jews or Israelis finally see one of their members snap and kill Muslims in an exasperation of fury - as Dr. Baruch Goldstein did in the Mosque at Hebron - practically the whole Israeli society blushes for three days, incrementing themselves for having allowed such an atrocious deed, apologising to the whole world.

There is hardly any such blush or incrimination on the Muslim side only maybe a faint apology mainly for political purposes towards the West that they, the Muslims, are against all acts of violence.  But none of the self-incrimination seen at the Israeli and Western side for similar atrocities. 

General Ariel Sharon, now Prime Minster, was not directly involved in the massacre of Muslim Arabs in Shatilla and Sabra in Lebanon by Phalangists.  Nevertheless, Israel took to the streets in massive self incriminating demonstrations not against the Phalangists, the perpetrators of this cruel deed, but against their own leaders for not having foreseen it and thus allowing it to happen.

There is no such self-criticism even for acts and massacres much worse on the Muslim side.  There the worst kind of terrorists are praised - not condemned - as being true and courageous martyrs for Allah who will be rewarded in heaven by beautiful damsels and wine.

This then is the difference we are dealing with and unless we are willing to confront it head on it will continue to dictate the gruesome realities of wars and violence still to come all in the name of Allah and Islam.

Take for instance the gruesome lynching and murder by Muslim Arabs in Ramallah seen on television sets worldwide.  Was there any credible outcry of disgust by Arab or Muslim leaders at the sight of this heinous crime?  No.  For the built-in provision for violence and degradation of the non-Muslims or infidels in such a part of the philosophy and sadly practice of Islam that unless condemned in the strongest ways possible by those still courageous enough in the West it will not go away or cause ad true reversal of such practices in the Middle East.

Justice and Righteousness are indivisible.  It counts for all.  Listen to the rather courageous words of Zakariya Muhammad, a Palestinian intellectual:

"I cannot understand the attitude of the Palestinian intellectuals toward the abominable murder of the two [Israeli] captive soldiers in Ramallah.... When I see a Palestinian intellectual sinking his teeth into the flesh of the Israeli intellectuals in his newspaper column without saying even one word of truth against the murders committed on our side - I sink into depression. Justice is one and cannot be divided. You cannot use the part that serves you and cast off the other part, because in so doing you destroy the very essence of justice, which is supposed to be the intellectual’s principle weapon."

So what can we do if this all is such an integral part of the tenants of the Muslim faith if we want to reverse it and so have a chance to bring real peace to this trouble Middle East?

If it is true that the root problem of the Middle East conflict - or the Arab-Israeli conflict - to be found in the tenants of Islam then we have to address these tenants as the main reasons.  Just as we in Europe would have had to address the tenants of Nazi ideology as being the main reasons and culprits for the terrible massacres and destruction all over Europe.  We cannot say -  as some indeed have done - that because people believe a certain ideology or even religion therefore we have to accept and respect this.  This is probably the gravest error of our time.  All in the name of this so-called tolerance the wicked or fanatics then triumph.

Now bringing it right up to the point because of which politicians so far failed to resolve this Israeli-Arab conflict - the burdensome stone or problem of Jerusalem ‘claimed’ by both religious Islam and Judaism as their ‘holy’ city and property.  Islam hardly even recognizes any sanctity of this city or Temple Mount in relation to Judaism whereas the Jews bend over backwards to make room for the sensitivities and wishes of the Muslims, by allowing them to conduct their religious affairs on Judaism’s most holy hill.

How would we go about solving - this seemingly insolvable problem - of Jerusalem?  It is like the two mothers both claiming before King Solomon to be the true owners of the disputed baby.  But one was lying.  One of them was usurping her rights without any basis for she had stolen the baby - replacing it with her own dead baby.  And that is exactly the story of Islam - they are the great usurpers - building their mosques preferably on sites formerly belonging to other faiths and then claiming it henceforth as belonging exclusively to themselves.  This needs to be addressed as a lie and falsification of history - if we ever want to come to a righteous, true and just solution.  One of the mothers was lying before the wise Solomon - it was not her baby.

Until this very day we see this endeavor to rewrite and alter history is perpetrated: MK Abdul Malik Dahamshe of the Democratic Arab Party stated the following on 24 March 1997: 

That the Western Wall is holy to the Muslims is not new.  We think, and also knowledgeable Israeli sources think, that the Western all is not associated with the remains of the Jewish Temple.  When the Temple was destroyed not a single stone remained in place.  The Western Wall is part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.  When Muhammad took his horse to Jerusalem - and it was a special horse - he tied it to the Western Wall before he ascended into heaven.  Also, Jewish sources say that there is nothing connecting the Jews to the Western Wall.

Jerusalem is not, as is often held, the city of the three great monotheistic faiths.  At the most it is the city of origin of two faiths:  Judaism and Christianity.

Islam did not originate in Jerusalem, it originated in Mecca and Medina on the Saudi Arabian Peninsula.  Not once is Jerusalem mentioned in the Koran, whereas the Bible mentions Jerusalem over 600 times.  Therefore, Jerusalem is not in the same sense important to Islam, as it is holy to Judaism and Christianity.

The reason that Islam built the stunning golden Dome of the Rock on the Jewish Temple mount was to express its repudiation of Jewish or Christian claims of sanctity, thus usurping the right to call Jerusalem 'el-Quds' - the holy city for Islam because Islam conquered it.

The interpretation of the Muslim legend that says that Mohammed on his nocturnal journey through Sinai, Bethlehem and Hebron arrived at the place of ‘the Farther Mosque” when there was as yet no mosque on the Temple Mount - the time of that dream - was at a later date claimed by Muslims to have been the Mosque on the Temple Mount.  Therefore today the Al-Aqsa Mosque carries that name: “The Farther mosque.”

Here is how Eliyahu Tal describes this Muslim falsification of history:

Featured prominently in today’s headlines, Al-Aqsa, at the time of Mohammed, was according to some Orientalists, an obscure mosque located in Arabia distanced from the Ka’aba the most venerated shrine in Mecca.  It was a ‘stopover’ in the Prophet’s nocturnal flight to Heaven as recounted in the Koran: “Glory be to him who transported his servant by night to Heaven from the Sacred Mosque to the Farther One.”  Al-Aqsa, in Arabic, means the farther, the extreme one (Ch. 17, Verse 1).  Jerusalem, of course, is not mentioned at all, because at the time it was still under Byzantine rule.

The Prophet, who died in CE 632 (six years before the city surrendered to the Muslims) could never have set foot in Jerusalem.  The Arabic name of Jerusalem Al-Quds (The Holy One) is derived from “Beit-el-Muqadas” (e.g. ‘Beit H’amikdash’), the Hebrew name for the Temple mount.  The sanctity of Jerusalem was not enshrined in Islam at its inception, but was introduced into it after the death of Mohammed.

Now if it is true as is here maintained that Islam’s so called ‘holy rights’ to ownership of the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem: ‘Al-Quds,’ are mainly usurped rights - having replaced and driven out after their Islamic conquest the claims and sensitivities of other religions then they have not a just claim to this city in the way the Jews may have.

This is how I once expressed it in an article:

It is unbelievable how quickly the criticism has come, both from inside as well as outside of Israel, against Ariel Sharon, as if he is the one responsible for the wanton destruction and violence that has erupted all over the land of Israel, just because he as opposition leader wanted to visit the most holy place of Judaism on one of the high holy days of the Jews. 

How would British people react if their Buckingham Palace or the St. Paul’s Cathedral had been taken over by invading Muslims who by building four Mosques around these places - as the Muslims have done on Israel’s most holy and important place - would henceforth claim Buckingham Palace as their sole property being unwilling to even allow the British to visit their own historical royal residential site or bar them from even praying at St. Paul’s Cathedral? 

Would there not be an outcry in Britain especially when on a British high holiday a leader of the Conservative opposition party would finally muster enough courage to visit one of these sites at a moment that a present Chamberlain-like British government would be willing to forfeit sovereignty over these two historic British places in order to placate the increasingly violent and dangerous Muslim population in England.

Would also then the BBC scold the British Conservative leader for even daring to want to visit Buckingham Palace or St. Paul’s, as they did Sharon.

Therefore how would the nations of the world react if the people of Israel would have invaded and conquered Saudi Arabia had built their most beautiful synagogue over the Ka’aba stone claiming henceforth sole and exclusive ownership over Mecca and the Muslim’s most sacred shrine, demanding before the entire world what from henceforth is only a Jewish sacred place?  The entire world would rebel.

This is exactly what the Muslims have done.  Should this be rewarded as has been tried in Camp David and other venues of negotiations by pressurizing the Jewish people to give up their unique historic and divine right to Jerusalem and the biblical land of Israel for peace sake - a peace which according to the prophet Mohammed’s example can be broken at will as soon as it would suit the Muslim powers?

After having signed the D.O.P. agreement in Oslo, Norway with Israeli leaders, Arafat said to an exclusive Muslim audience in a mosque in Johannesburg, South Africa, that he viewed this agreement he made as ‘a despicable truce’ which he said he would be able to break as soon as it suited him - just as the prophet Mohammed broke his truce with the Kuraish Tribe in Saudi Arabia centuries ago.

So if this is true - and it is - what kind of truce or peace is Israel or the West expected to make with those who, even after the signing of such a peace agreement, can break it at will and then obliterate their opponent all in the name and for the sake of Islam and Allah?

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By Jan Willem van der Hoeven, 
Director International Christian Zionist Center

This page was produced by Joseph E. Katz
Middle Eastern Political and Religious History Analyst 
Brooklyn, New York 
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Portions Copyright © 2000 International Christian Zionist Center, 
Portions Copyright © 2001 Joseph Katz
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