Category Archives: delegitimisation

The End Game – Deliberations on the Israeli – Palestinian Conflict – Part III

In Parts I and II I posited that, through reference to the literature, the remaining vestiges of the 100 year Arab Israeli conflict, the Israeli Palestinian conflict, has effectively reverted to a religious struggle overlaid with a nebulous and varying Arab notion of “Palestinian” nationalism. In Part II I argued that both Hamas and Fatah/PLO/PA were waging antisemitic or Judeophobic jihad based on both documented Koranic traditions as well as later, more modern European National Socialist dogma such as The Protocols and showed the nexus between the extremist fundamental Islamism of Hamas, the national socialist inspiration of Fatah/PLO/PA and white right wing supremacists which championed violence to gain the goals of religious/cultural hegemony (Hamas/Fatah) or racial purity (white supremacists) no matter the cost to others.

In the third section of this series, Part III, I will look at the tactic of demonization of the Jew as a part strategy in the propaganda war to neutralise Jewish claim to historic Jewish lands and delegitimise modern Israel as a sovereign state in the Middle East.

However, and this is over-imprinted over all three parts of this article, my position in the case against “Palestinian” Arab violence against Jews is not based on a denial of the right of Arab existence on the land or the principle of two states for two peoples.

What it does mean is that, in any future creation of a neighbouring Muslim Arab sovereign state called Palestine to exist in peace and security, that Arab state must likewise accept the right of a sovereign Jewish national state to exist in peace and security.

All else is negotiable.

This condition is based on the principle that it is the Jews who are indigenous to the area despite Arab invasion(s) and colonisation and that, in addition to the unopposed validity of four Muslim majority nation states created by the Mandate out of the defeated Ottoman lands, the creation of a single Jewish majority state is just as valid a creation, the convenient man-made Muslim concept of conquered lands remaining “an Islamic endowment in perpetuity” (the waqf) notwithstanding.

This concept of a Muslim “endowment in perpetuity” didn’t apply to India after the Moghul invasions, it didn’t apply to Spain after the Moorish invasions, and it does not apply to the State of Israel after the Muslim Arab invasions.

All the same, the historical track record of demonizing one’s adversary goes far back in history. It has evolved over time, mutating from a once literal belief in demonic possession to a now figurative—and more politically charged—accusation against one’s adversary.

The process of demonization of one’s enemy highlights the intimate historical relationship between religion and politics: how the Devil – an ancient religious character – is used in historic and modern political discourse in international conflict situations.

Thus, today, in the fevered discourse of some Muslim states, America is the “Big Satan” and Israel is the “Little Satan”, and Jews are designated “Sons of the Devil” if they are not dehumanised as the “offspring of pigs and apes”. No change here, showing that demonization is one particular narrative-based and psychological dimension of conflict framing a polarizing identity of “us” as good and “them” as evil. As an example, the 1988 Hamas Charter uses the word “evil” seven times to describe Jews and Israel.

But, when all is said and done, it makes absolutely no difference to the facts on the ground: Israel exists, there is as yet no viable Palestinian state, and an Arab demonization and dehumanisation of Jews and Israel will not produce an additional Arab state called Palestine. Nor will BDS, Iranian cartoon competitions on the Holocaust nor the tsunami of interest-based pro-Palestinian academic articles decrying what they term Israeli apartheid, Israeli abuse of human rights, stating that Jerusalem is not the core of Jewish life and spirituality these past 3000 years, that the Temple Mount is a Muslim construct, that the Holocaust didn’t really happen, that Israeli Arabs are not equal in Israeli law, that Israel itself is a colonialist construct, that Jews are foreign interlopers on Muslim soil, that Gaza is occupied by Israel, that the IDF gargets civilians and that Jesus was a Palestinian to name but a few of the gross historical fallacies which inculcate Jew-hate in a new generation of millions of non-Jews a lifetime removed from the realities on the ground of Israeli life.

Rebutting these and other deliberately antisemitic and clichéd propaganda untruths will be the basis of the remainder of this article.

  1. The Jews do not have national rights in Mandated Palestine

Jews are a religion and a nation, with cultural and ethnic characteristics, a documented truism as true before Israel was established as it is true today. By being a nation, Jews are entitled to national rights, not only to religious and cultural rights which include the right to state-level self-determination. Just like Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. That some commentators might argue that world Jewry never saw their Judaism as justification for a Jewish nation state despite identifying as Jewish, has its corollary in the fact that fundamentalist Islamic Hamas and the (mostly) secular PLO do not differently view their Palestinian state as Muslim.

That is to say, in the context of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, if religious Muslims and secular Muslims believe in the right of a Muslim state called Palestine as their national right, then that same principle may also be applied to Jew, Judaism and the sovereign state of Israel.

Any future Palestinian self-determination is not an excuse to delegitimise Jewish self-determination.

  1. The “Zionist entity” is a foreign colonial aberration on Muslim soil

Framing Israel as a ‘settler colonial state’ is now routine in academia and the U.S. and EU media, a disheartening signal of the primacy of political activism over critical inquiry – and inconvenient facts; a deliberately pointed charge, part of an ongoing campaign to undermine Israel by challenging its very founding.

The Muslim law of a permanent endowment in perpetuity is a man-made law of Muslim colonialism subservient to a Caliph in Baghdad or Saudi Arabia. It never existed in other colonial enterprises like the Belgians in the Congo, the French in Lebanon, Cambodia or Niger, the British in India or the Dutch in Indonesia. There is, then, no overarching historical logic in Muslim exceptionalism.

Besides, several Muslim scholars such as Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al-Husseini make the case that this claim has no basis in the Koran: not only that, but the foundation text of Islam, in fact, recognises the special link between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. “You will find very clearly,” says, “that the traditional commentators from the eighth and ninth century onwards have uniformly interpreted the Koran to say explicitly that Eretz Yisrael has been given by God to the Jewish people as a perpetual covenant. There is no Islamic counterclaim to the Land anywhere in the traditional corpus of commentary…. Nobody can go to the text and just freely interpret the text for their own purposes.” (Jewish Chronicle, 18 March, 2009, What the Koran says about the Land of Israel)

The term “settler colonialism” conjures historical memories of exploitative white European empires militarily invading lands in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. In actual fact, just this terminology is perfectly well suited to the Arab Islamicisation of the Levant and Middle East where various Caliphs and Muslim brought in hundreds of thousands of soldier slaves loyal to their pay masters. The Tulunides brought in Turks and Negroes. The Fatamids introduced Berbers, Slavs, Greeks, Kurds. The Mamelukes imported legions of Georgians and Circassians. Saladin brought in 150,000 Persians who were given lands in Galilee and the Sidon district for their services. In the fourteenth century, 18,000 Yurate Tartars from the Euphrates were brought in, soon followed by 20,000 Ashiri and 4,000 Mongols who occupied the Jordan Valley and settled from Jerusalem south.

This was population transfer on a grand scale and accounts today for the great variety biological markers in the Arabs (now Palestinians) of Palestine.

“From the time that Athens established an outpost at Ephesus, colonies have related to a metropole, or a mother country. The Puritans saw themselves as English, Afrikaaners as Dutch, Muslim conquerors as Arabs, Algerian Pied-Noirs as French. They spoke the mother country’s language and attempted to transfer its culture to their new land… The early, pre-state Zionists, however, sought to escape Europe, not to replicate it. They rejected Yiddish and adopted an old Middle East language – Hebrew – which they updated for modern purposes, while changing their German or Russian-sounding names. They created no “New Odessas” in the Holy Land.” (Lubet and Zasloff, Jul 5 2021, “Is Israel Really a Settler Colonial State?” Haaretz)

For the Jews, the only country in which they had ever exercised political sovereignty was Zion, the Land of Israel.

The Land of Israel was/is integral to the Jewish religion and culture, the connection between Jews and the land is embedded throughout Jewish rituals and texts. There is no “motherland” to which the Jewish population in the land of Israel may otherwise return, unlike Dutch, French and British colonialists. And, prior to 1948, Jews immigrated to the Land of Israel of their own volition, not directed nor overseen by any state or military power like colonialists.  They came, and still come to Israel escaping antisemitism and other forms of persecution. Typically, the European settler colonists were not escaping persecution or bigotry.

The oft-claimed cliché that Zionism is nefarious because it promoted Jewish return is no more nefarious than “Palestinianism” which demands a return of Arab refugees who fled Mandated Palestine at the outbreak of a war initiated by 5 Arab armies in 1948 fixated on the goal of destroying a nascent and legal sovereign Jewish state.

Thus, if the context of the Israeli Palestinian conflict is justified and validated by the Arabs as “Palestinian” nationalism  (Palestinianism), in lands conquered by Muslim invaders, then how is Zionism not justifiable as a Jewish nationalism in a section of the southern Levant, home to the only remaining indigenes who had an unbroken existence in the region centred on Jerusalem for 1700 years before Islam was created 1400kms away in the Saudi Arabian Hejaz?

Ironically, and apropos the allegation of “Jewish colonisation”, the Arabs (now Palestinians) chose a national nomenclature granted by another colonising force, the Romans, and now “…use an English word, based on a Latin one that in turn has its roots in a Greek one… [where] somewhere in-between it was adopted in Arabic…” and localised to “Filasteen” (Adir Bar Yohanan, Oct 1, 2022,“Palestine:A story of Colonialism through the ages, https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/360614)

3. Israel as a Jewish state is biased against its Arab citizens

Israel does not have a written Constitution; it has a Proclamation of Independence.

This document

  • guarantees equal citizenship rights to all the inhabitants of the country without discrimination and assures the cultural and religious rights of all communities. Israel has 2.1 million Arab Muslim and Chrisitian citizens with complete freedom of worship
  • enshrined the Law of Return, which guaranteed the right of immigration and citizenship to every Jewish person willing to immigrate to Israel.
  • ensured Arabic was declared the second official language of the Jewish state as is evident from the bilingual inscriptions on its stamps and currency; a requirement NOT demanded by the stipulations of the UN partition plan.
  • gave Israeli Arabs the right to send their children to state schools which teach in Arabic, with the curriculum tailored to the cultural differences involved.
  • extended voting rights to those Arabs who had remained in the country and the participated in the elections on an equal basis despite the fact that Israel was still at war.

That the nascent state of Israel enshrined democratic liberal pluralism in those early uncertain and violent days of 1948 is to Israel’s credit that on this issue, the newly established country, despite having been attacked and besieged, did not adopt a harsher policy. It remains an unwavering testament to the values which continue, despite all difficulties, to guide the moral compass of the Jewish state.

4. Jews are not indigenous to the Middle East

Jews and Jewish communities have lived in parts of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf region for more than 2,500 years.

Historical records verify Jewish communities in Iraq, 6th century BCE;

Lebanon,1st century BCE;  Libya, 3rd century BCE;  Yemen, 3rd century BCE; Syria,1st century CE;  Morocco, 1st century CE;  Algeria,1st-2nd century CE; and Tunisia, 3rd century CE; i.e several centuries before the Islamisication  and Arabisation of the Levant.

The allegation that Israel is made up solely of latter-day immigrants is therefore a distortion of history because Jews were resident in the region over one thousand three hundred years before the advent of Islam. Their descendants make up a significant portion of Israel’s population and their presence there demonstrates the historical connection of Jews to Israel, for thousands of years, as the homeland of the Jewish people.

With the beginning of Islam in the seventh century CE, Jews were ruled under the legal status of dhimmi, a “protected” people (IF they paid the Muslim jizya tax…), a status assigned to Christians and Jews. Dhimmis were extended some degree of legal protection, while relegated to being second-class citizens in line with Islamic law. And this is an exact inversion of the Arab (now Palestinian) allegation that Jews treat Arabs as second class citizens where, as outlined above, Israel’s Proclamation of Independence enshrines the exact opposite.

5. The Israeli Occupation and the Settlements are illegal

“These general and all-embracing terms have become the “lingua franca” of the United Nations – accepted phrases that neither generate nor attract any thought or discussion as to their legal, historical, or political accuracy.” (Alan Baker, 2011:65,  “Israel’s Rights regarding Territories and the Settlements in the Eyes of the International Community, JCPA)

  • Israel’s presence in the West Bank areas of Judea and Samaria stems from the historical rights granted in Palestine to the Jewish people by the Balfour Declaration and affirmed by resolution of the League of Nations in 1922, granting to the Jewish people a national home in all parts of Mandatory Palestine and enabling “close settlement on the land.”
  • This validity is today maintained by Article 80 of the UN Charter, according to which rights granted to peoples by international instruments remain unaltered, and hence still valid ( Martin Gilbert, “‘An Overwhelmingly Jewish State’ from the Balfour Declaration to the Palestine Mandate.”).
  • The Oslo Accords critically changed the legal and political nature of Gaza and the West Bank per the signature by Israel and the Palestinian leadership of the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement of 1995, signed and witnessed by the United States, the European Union, Egypt, Jordan, Russia, and Norway, and the status of each of the parties to the agreement vis-à-vis the territory changed as well. In Area A, all political and security responsibility passed to the PA, in Area B, all responsibilities and power except for security, passed to the PA, Area C, including the Israeli settlements and military installations remain under Israeli jurisdiction pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.   This means, with signed PLO approval, Israel’s presence in the territory of the West Bank is with the full approval of the Palestinian leadership composing the PLO.
  • Per a mutually agreed-upon component of the Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, the PLO/PA now under Abbas, accepted and committed to the fact that it does not exercise jurisdiction regarding permanent status issues settlements included, in Area C pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiation.
  • The Palestinian leadership cannot therefore present Israeli presence in Area C in the EU or the UN or even in the ICC, as an alleged violation by Israel of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, in order to bypass their acceptance of the rights and responsibilities pursuant to the 1995 Interim Agreement as well as the international community’s acknowledgment of the articles of the 1995 Interim Agreement’s relevance and continued validity.
  • The Oslo Accords, as signed by the PLO, contain no requirement that prohibits, limits, or freezes construction by Israel in Area C.
  • Any invoking of Article 49 IVGC by the Arab (now Palestinian) leadership in studied ignorance of the scope, relevance and original intent of the article can find absolutely no basis or criterion in the attempt to link it and Israeli settlement policy as illegal.
  • During the negotiation on the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Arab states initiated an alteration in the text of the court’s statute listing as a serious violation of the laws of armed conflict the war crime of “transferring, directly or indirectly, parts of the civil population into the occupied territory.”

The deliberate addition of the phrase “directly or indirectlyalmost 50 years later to the original 1949 text was intended by them to adapt the original 1949 Geneva Convention language in order to render it applicable to Israel’s settlement policy. This in itself is indicative of the proponents’ and the international community’s acknowledgment of the fact that Article 49(6) as drafted in 1949 was simply not relevant to the circumstances of Israel’s settlements. (Alan Baker, 2011:72, “Israel’s Rights regarding Territories and the Settlements in the Eyes of the International Community, JCPA). In other words, devising tailor-made rules of international law for application only where Israel is concerned undermines international law.

6. The Apartheid Wall is but one symbol of an apartheid Jewish state

  • A border fence serves to separate areas and, for so long as Israel has to face terrorist acts, it is legitimate for it, as it is for other states, to erect a barrier to prevent terrorist attacks and illegal crossings. For its part, the International Court of Justice on the issue makes no reference whatsoever to “apartheid” or analogy with “apartheid” and has been careful not to deny Israel’s right in principle to build such a security fence.
  • As mentioned before, devising tailor-made rules of international law for application only where Israel is concerned smacks only of considered bias against the Jewish state. This because, no allegations of apartheid are made for other countries with border fences and security walls. These include the Egypt-Gaza barrier, the Saudi Arabia- Iraq border wall, the Algeria-Libya border wall, the Iran-Pakistan border barrier, the Korean Peninsula’s demilitarised zone, the India-Bangladesh border fence, the Russian constructed Crimea-Ukraine border wall, the Spain-Morocco border fence, the Greek-Turkey border fence, the Kenya-Somalia border wall, and the Turkey-Syria border wall to name but a few.
  • ·       The Arab and Muslim world’s oft-repeated accusation that the very fact that Israel is a Jewish state proves that there is an “apartheid-like” situation. This allegation conveniently ignores the fact that there are 51 Muslim majority states and 3 Islamic republics that are, apparently, not apartheid entities. Amnesty International claims that merely identifying as a “nation state” of a particular people is an apartheid practice—but only when it comes to Israel.

“The defining characteristic of apartheid—what distinguishes it from generic racial discrimination—is the rigid separation of groups in public spaces and positions of power. This is the apart in apartheid…. What makes the “Israel apartheid” meme particularly despicable is that is not just a lie, it is an inversion of the truth.” (Kontorovich, 8 Feb, 2022, There’s Apartheid in the Holy Land, but Not in Israel, WSJ).

Kontorovich continues “…a sign of apartheid could be a government policy that bans real-estate sales or transactions to the disfavored group. Apartheid is suggested by policies that carve out massive zones where the disfavored group cannot live or work, create ethnically homogenous zones, and restrict the disfavored group to ghettos. One might consider it apartheid if a government enforced a policy of extrajudicial execution of members of a disfavored group….All these policies are practiced in the West Bank and Gaza—by the Palestinian Authority government against Jews.” (Kontorovich, Ibid.)

Thus,

  • Palestinian law makes selling land to Jews a crime punishable by death.
  • The PLO/PA does not recognize any Jewish titles to private property.
  •  In all the territories controlled by the Palestinian government, Jews are prevented from worshipping at their holy sites, despite explicit provisions in the Oslo Accords requiring the Palestinian Authority to protect such worship.
  • The Palestinian Constitution defines the territory of what was Palestine under the Mandate including the sovereign state of Israel as an exclusively “Arab nation,” with Islam the official religion and Arabic the sole official language.
  •  Palestinian officials and educators deny any Jewish history or connection to Israel.
  • Where the apartheid South African government used death squads against blacks, the Palestinian government pays terrorists for killing Jews—the more people killed, the bigger the bounty.
  • The PA regularly imprisons and beats to death the few Palestinians who speak out against its policies and leadership as was the case of PA Chairman critic Nizar Banat who died in a Ramallah prison as a result of the beating he was given by the PA’s security forces on 24 June, 2021.

Clearly, then, by Amnesty’s own standards, the PA is itself guilty of apartheid.

And, as Stevens points out,

The accusation of apartheid is, however, absurd and obscene. Arab citizens of Israel have full rights under Israeli law, including the right to vote. No fewer than 13 Arab citizens of Israel serve in the Knesset today, most in parties that are openly and harshly critical of Israeli policies (including a party that is a member of the current government coalition).

In Israel today, there is a Muslim Arab judge serving on Israel’s highest court. Sixteen percent of university students are Arabs. Seventeen percent of doctors in Israeli hospitals and 48 percent of pharmacists are Arab-Israelis. What kind of apartheid state is that?” (Michael Stevens, 18 May, 2022, Israel is not an Apartheid State, Inside Sources)

7. The “Judaisation” of Jerusalem is an offence to Islam/ The Temple Mount was never Jewish

On 20 July, at Camp David, PLO leader Yasser Arafat subjected then US President Bill Clinton to “…a lecture of staggering historical revisionism. His central argument was that the biblical temples never existed on the Temple Mount or even in Jerusalem. Arafat baldly asserted that “There is nothing there [i.e., no trace of a temple on the Temple Mount],” further insisting that “Solomon’s Temple was not in Jerusalem, but Nablus.”

As a Christian, a shocked Clinton responded that “not only the Jews but I, too, believe that under the surface there are remains of Solomon’s temple.”

Arafat changed his story two years later to further distance the Temple from Jerusalem, telling the London-based Arabic daily al- Hayat, “They found not a single stone proving that the Temple of Solomon was there, because historically the Temple was not in Palestine [at all].” (Dore Gold, 2007: 22, The Fight for Jerusalem)

The Arab (now Palestinian) battle for the dominant narrative over Jerusalem was/is a planned campaign to completely delegitimise the Israeli Jewish claim to the city, a doctrine Gold describes as “Temple Denial” and which was initiated at Camp David by Arafat.

In essence today, and in the context of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, is yet another facet of inherent Islamic supremacism and negation of other I referred to in earlier parts of this series.

1700 years after documented Jewish veneration of, and at, the Temple Mount, site of Judaism’s First and Second Temples, the new rulers in the southern Levant, the victorious Muslim Arab Caliphs re-named it al-Ḥaram al-Sharīf. Until that time, there were no mosques in Jerusalem in 632AD when the prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam died… Jerusalem was (then) a Christian city.

The Muslim “claim” to Jerusalem is based on what is written in the Koran, even though Jerusalem is not mentioned even once, and particularly if we bear in mind that the Koran, originally an oral text, did not exist in an Arabic compilation for another 20-40 years after the death of Mohammad.

Jerusalem was captured from the Byzantines by the invading Arab Muslim armies by Umaayad Caliph Omar in 638 CE, six years after Mohammed’s death and construction of Qubbat as- Sakhrah, the shrine on the Dome of the Rock was constructed to proclaim Islam’s supremacy over Christianity and its most important shrine, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

In essence, the current battle over the narrative on Jerusalem aose out of the political and religious rivalries between the Damascus based Umaayad Caliphs who controlled Jerusalem  and the Caliphs  of the Hejaz who controlled Mecca, Omar  wanted to establish an alternative holy site if their rivals blocked access to Mecca and the  Haj. As a result, they built what became known as the Dome of the Rock shrine (the Qubbat as- Sakhrah) and the adjacent mosque.

This mosque was named al Aqsa in an attempt to make the link that the Dome of the Rock was the very spot from which Mohammed ascended to heaven, thus tying Jerusalem to divine revelation in Islamic belief as compiled in the completed Koran.

However, this political sleight of hand flies in the face of early Arab historians al- Waqidi, Ishaq al-Fakihi and others who point out that the actual al Aqsa mosque referred to by Muhammad in Qur’an 17:1 was the mosque in Jiranah, a village just outside of Masjid-al- Haram in Saudi Arabia. The Masjid-al-Haram, according to the inscription near Mecca, was built there in 697-78CE making it difficult to accept that the Jerusalem al-Aqsa mosque, built some sixty years after Islam began, was the same al-Aqsa mosque referred to by the Umaayad Caliph in Jerusalem.

This is about the extent of the importance and sanctity of the al Aqsa compound built some 1700 years after Solomon’s Temple on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site: a political monument for then inter-Muslim rivalries, now used as a political flashpoint today in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, riven with a revised history to suit political purposes. This is especially so when one considers that in 1300 years of Muslim rule/governance of Jerusalem, not a single Islamic dynasty or Muslim state ever made Jerusalem its capital, physical or spiritual, unlike the Jews of Israel for whom it was its religious, spiritual and cultural core for 2000 years.

Because bringing one’s religion into battle demonstrated that both their armies and their religion were superior to those of their victims when they won, The Dome of the Rock, which was built in 691-692CE by Khalif Abd El Malik of Syria in a first effort to turn Muslim prayers toward his structure, was effectively a victory monument. Eighty years after the death of Mohammad, who had never been to Jerusalem, el Malik’s son Abdel Wahd completed the al Aqsa mosque in 712 CE in Jerusalem to demonstrate Islam’s superiority over the Christians and Jews they had driven from Jerusalem. Thus, together with the recorded chronology that Mohammed died in 632 AD, four years before the first Muslim army reached Jerusalem in 636 AD, five years before it took the city in 637 AD after a siege, and 73 years before the first Al Aqsa Mosque was completed in 705 AD,  there was no possibility that the Prophet Muhammad prayed at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on his nocturnal journey because the mosque did not yet exist in 632, the generally accepted year of Muhammad’s death, making the crux of the argument of a millennia of Arab antipathy to Jews on the “Muslim” Temple Mount just a exercise in Islamic religious supremacism not anchored in any historical chronology.

8. Jesus was a Palestinian

Not much point in devoting too much space to this here.

Jesus was not a Palestinian when he was born circa 6-4 BCE.

Jesus was not a Palestinian (Hail King of the……??) when he was crucified circa 30-36 CE

And he is not a Palestinian in 2022.

Neither are the Pope, Martin Luther and Xi Jin Ping.

The final article in the series, Part IV, will look at possible “solutions” or alternatives to the Israeli Palestinian conflict and consider the merits of each including accepting that the conflict might never be resolved, only ameliorated.

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The End Game – Deliberations on the Israeli- Palestinian Conflict – Part II

[The intentions of the Jew] have been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present conduct is the best proof of what is said there.

                                                                    The Hamas “Charter of Allah,” Article Thirty-Two

God gave the umma that is skilled in the practice of death. He has imposed jihad as a religious duty on every Muslim, categorically and rigorously, from which there is neither evasion nor escape. He has rendered it as a supreme object of desire, and has made the reward ofmartyrs and fighters in His way a splendid one.

                                                                                         Hasan al-Banna, “On Jihad”

Introduction

In Part I of this four-part series on the Israeli Palestinian conflict, the argument was made that the remaining vestiges of the 100 year Arab Israeli conflict has effectively reverted to a religious struggle overlaid with a changeable notion of “Palestinian” nationalism, a notion not yet matured in its goals or in its evolution as mere opposition to Jewish sovereignty in the Levant.

This was done through a brief overview of Islam and Islamism as a direct adherence to the word of Muhammad, possessor of isma, divine immunity from sin and error, and the stated principles of Islam as Muhammad envisioned and practiced it: a religion that claimed the right to order all earthly affairs through Muhammad’s ostensible fusion of religion and politics (and warfare as an extension of politics). Part I ended with an exploration of Islam’s historic Judeophobia and Islam’s mandated discrimination against Jews (and Christians).

Part II will explore the nexus between this political element of Islamism inherent in the religion Islam, the jihadism it undertakes to achieve its ends and the nexus between conservative extremist Salafi-jihadism and right wing white supremacist extremism. Later sections will explore the connect between the Salafi-Wahabi influenced Muslim Brotherhood on the ruler of Gaza and Ramallah, Hamas and the PLO/Fatah/PA as it pertains to the ongoing Israeli Palestinian conflict.

The ideological similarities between jihadism and extremist white supremacism

At the outset, both jihadism and extremist white supremacism must be recognised as reactionary and conservative political movements and the most violent iterations of their respective belief systems.

Both treat any form of social or political progress, reform, change or democratic liberalization with great suspicion, viewing these as a threat to their power base(s). “In this sense, jihadists too are extreme right-wing actors even if they are rarely referred to in such terms.

Both movements share a similar underlying diagnosis for the ills of their respective societies, placing blame primarily on the forces of liberal progress, pluralism, democracy and tolerance.” (Meleagrou-Hitchens, 2021, 4)

Both groups have a sense of a collective identity anchored in a sense of superiority and a requirement where those on the outside are viewed as both inferior and inherently threatening. This is as true in its manifestation of what Tibi (Tibi, 2012: 54-55, Islamism and Islam) termed Muslim “Judeophobia” as it is of white supremacist antisemitism. Thus, National Socialist supremacist and Islamist Jihadi ideologies make reference to the “world Jewish hydra” that poisons humanity and must be opposed with extreme prejudice or holy war, jihad.

Both conservative groups have a strong sense of identity and belonging which is rooted in their narrative of a “glorious past”, but also as seeing themselves as part of a historic project dedicated to saving that past or the purity of their religion. As Kapustyan and Nelson put it with regard to the Jews, “The Islamic Resistance Movement considers itself to be the spearhead of the struggle with world Zionism” where what is actually a Jihadist struggle to control the world is cast in terms of saving the world. And Islam. (Kapustyan and Nelson, 2007, The Soul of Terror: The Worldwide Conflict between Islamic Terrorism and the Modern World, 147–48.)

Both Islamist jihadis and the white extremist movements are supremacist to the extent that they disavow the concept of other, and both hold similar views on the traditional gender roles of men and women in society.

Islamist jihadis and white supremacists both subscribe to the notion of conspiracism where outside evolution, revolutions and progress are a threat which seeks to annihilate them. For jihadis, “…Muslims face a “war on Islam,” while white supremacist extremists warn of a “white genocide” or “great replacement” of white populations.” (Meleagrou-Hitchens, 2021, 4). And for both, while contexts and language differ, the content of this conspiracism is similar because of the virulent antisemitism which underwrites each movement.

Islamist jihadism and white supremacism both legitimise the necessity of violence through violent conflict, be it a race or a holy war, and both strive for inward-looking societies in which their dominant narrative reigns supreme at the cost of most, if not all, others. They are thus totalitarian in nature because both require strict control over many aspects of citizens’ lives to maintain both the religious/racial order and purity they desire.

The Religious Context of Hamas and PLO jihadism in the Israeli Palestinian conflict

The history of Islamic thought since the second half of the 19th century is intrinsically linked to the history of Western expansion. Western dominance of the Arab-Muslim world and the indigenous reaction against it, are the main factors that shaped modern Islamic thought. Western dominance on the military and economic levels was accompanied by attacks on the cultural identity of the Arab-Muslim world.

Perceived numerous attacks on Arab-Muslim society forced the main trends of Islamic thought into a defensive position. Islamic discussion focused on the reasons for the relative backwardness and weakness of Arab-Muslim societies.

As a consequence, many Arab thinkers turned to religious reform as a tool for social and political change. One outcome was a reversion to conservative Muslim rejection of Western concepts and institutions, what the Islamic world termed Western colonialism. This was exemplified by the Egyptian Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) who finally developed a reinterpretation of Islam which shared with later fundamentalists an insistence on the need for a return to some sort of original Islam.

By 1928, some 20 years after Abduh’s death, this concept was further developed into politicised Islam by fellow Egyptian Hasan al Bana, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is the Gazan branch, and the PLO/Fatah/PA which was guided by the national socialist supremacist Haj Amin al Husseini who advocated, in Berlin, for the Reich’s solution and methods in Europe, for the Jews of Palestine (see Part I).

Hasan al-Banna was the most prominent fundamentalist current in Sunni Islam in the Arab world. Influenced by the ideas of Abduh and his disciple Rashid Rida, he launched a movement for education which soon developed a political dimension calling for an Islamic reform of state and government, where the existing order should be displaced by one based on Islamic law (the sharī`a).

However, the most important intellectual and theoretician of the Muslim Brotherhood was Sayyid Qutb. In the majority Sunni Muslim world, his interpretation of Islamic thought labelled man-made Muslim governments a contravention of the one true religion, Islam, and thus that the Muslims of today should be able to live and practice true Islam in the same way as the early Islamic generations. (Muhammad Qutb in the Introduction to the English translation of his brother’s “Tafsīr In the Shade of the Qur’ ān”, (London, 1979), p. xvi.).

By living and practising “in the same way as the early Islamic generations”, Qutb “ …elaborated the theory of an ever growing nucleus of “true” believers that should be developed until it can wage a Jihād against the surrounding society and its rulers…[believing] that only through Jihād could the sovereignty of God (ākimiyyat Allāh) could be re-established.” (Nusse, 1998, Muslim Palestine – The Ideology of Hamas, 10).

Hamas and Fatah as torch bearers of the Mohamedan ethos in the “West Bank” and Gaza

Thus far, we have seen that Islamic law aspires to “regulate(s) life in all its aspects, including politics and government…Early Islamic historians depict Muhammad as making an all-encompassing claim to authority over social, religious and political life, and thus, “Islamists” appear to be nothing more than traditional Muslims faithfully following Muhammad’s example.” (Spoerl, 2022: 13, Islam and Islamism )

It then further follows that jihad (also termed intifada, “resistance by all means”, “righteous war against the “colonising” Zionists”) in the context of the Israeli Palestinian conflict is carried out today following classical jihad per the tenets of Islam. Muslim purists will argue that this is not the case because classical jihad can only be carried out under the authority of the caliph, and, as there has not been a caliph since 1924, the term is wrongly used.

However, we may refer to “…the orthodox, mainstream, and non-Islamist teaching of the Asharite-Shafi legal manual, The Reliance of the Traveller, according to which it is merely offensive (makruh), not forbidden (haram), to conduct a military expedition without the

caliph’s permission, and, if there is no caliph, then no permission is required.” (al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, 602 (o9.6))

This brings us to the well-spring of Hamas and PLO/Fatah/PA violence in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, predicated as it is on the radical fundamentalist tenets of a “revitalised” Islam per al Bana’s Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and close connection between al-Bana and Hitler’s mufti, the Muslim national socialist, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Hamas and religious Islamic jihad

Hamas (an acronym for the Arabic phrase meaning “The Islamic Resistance Movement”) is a conservative, fundamentalist Sunni- Islamist organization dedicated both to the destruction of the state of Israel and absolute opposition to the establishment of any non-Islamic entity on lands once controlled by the colonising Islamic empires of geographical Palestine.

It published its official charter in 1988, stating unequivocally then – as it does today – that the destruction of Israel and its replacement with a Sunni-Islamic state is the group’s primary objective, and that violent “struggle” (per the theorising of Sayyid Qutb in Egypt) is the only acceptable means of achieving this end. The Hamas charter views all Islamic lands gained through war as religious endowments (a waqf ); territory not subject to non-Muslim governance.

Hamas effectively becomes the gold standard, in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, of the nexus between extremist Islamic jihad and extremist white supremacist groups in that they disavow the concept of other as well as the concepts of pluralism and tolerance, actively proclaim an identity anchored in a sense of superiority, legitimise violent conflict in a holy war, and espouse a totalitarian inward-looking organisation in which their world view must needs reign supreme no matter the cost.

“The Jewish state is presented by Hamas as a purely religious state which is part of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy against the Muslims in particular and the whole world in general. On these grounds, all Muslims have the duty to fight the Jewish enemy.” (Nusse, 1998: 19 Muslim Palestine – The Ideology of Hamas).

For extremist quasi-nationalist organisations like Hamas and the PLO, the issue of a Jewish state, Israel, in the Middle East is compounded by the fact that the Jews no longer fit the Muslim stereotype of cowards who will always be humiliated as dhimmis and kept in place by the Muslims, an image of wretchedness and humiliation in the traditional Islamic narrative which was sustained by the (past) strength and confidence of Islamic civilisation until at least the 15th century.

For supremacist fundamentalist Islamist organisations like Hamas, their description of Jews as “sons of Satan”, “bloodsuckers of mankind”, “racists”, “criminals of the tribe of Zion”, “sons of pigs and apes” and “Nazis” is a clear throwback to modern European antisemitism.

However, these doubtful analogies notwithstanding, the 20th and 21st century Muslim vitriol against Jews has a source explicated below:

“This influence is particularly obvious in the wide circulation of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in the Arab world, forged anti-Semitic documents which circulated in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, [and which] were translated into Arabic for the first time in 1926. They are quoted in the Covenant of Hamas as a proof for the allegations against the Jews. For Hamas, they are supposed to prove the existence of a Jewish government which, through a world-wide network of camouflaged agencies and organisations, controls political parties and governments, the press and public opinion, banks and economic development.” (Nusse, Ibid, 25)

However, in opposition to Koranic “Judeophobia”, the enthusiastic adoption of the Protocols in the Arab world and the penetration of European [Christian] antisemitism became a major factor in the Arab world only in the later 1950s and 1960s.

With the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, and the succession of Arab-Muslim military defeats in 1948, 1967 and 1973 against vastly smaller Jewish forces, and in view of an increasing dissonance of the Arab and Muslim worlds’ image of itself and its victorious past, the advent of European anti-Semitism demonising the Jews and presenting them as the sons of Satan was welcomed in the Muslim world’s search for an explanation,

Islamic antisemitism as Quranic “Judeophobia”, and fundamentalist Islamist jihad by Hamas and the nationalist socialist inspired PLO, was developed as a weapon in the struggle against Israel, whose very existence is the starting point of the whole conflict.

In the radical Islamist ideology followed by Hamas, the Jews in Israel are aggressors that occupy Muslim land and are therefore considered “war enemies”. Thus, Muslims, as inspired by Hams’ radical Islamist beliefs, are no longer bound by the Islamic teaching that demands respect for the people of the book and are fought because of the hostile action they take against Muslims.

By doing this, the Hamas Islamists thus ensure that their struggle is perceived as conforming  to the Koran, along two (contradictory) strands: the Koranic  Muslim obligation to wage war in self-defense when Islamic territory is attacked or occupied by non-Muslims and the second strand that nobody can be persecuted because of his belief.

This despite the fact that i) Judaism was born in the very same lands occupied 1700 years later by the followers of Muhammad, and ii) the persecution and violence initiated against the Jews of the Hejaz then and since who did not believe that Muhammad was the Jewish Messiah per an established Jewish monotheistic belief documented in the Torah which preceded the creation of Islam by one and a half millennia.

Fatah, al-Husseini and the Nazification of Partition

We have seen that the ideology of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood has deep roots in classical Islam which considers the territory of the State of Israel Muslim property in perpetuity.

Although not a religious organisation per se, Fatah, headed by Cairo-born Yasser Arafat (who also led the PLO) was inextricably linked to the ideology of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood through his mentor Sheikh Amin al Husseini, with an overlay of leftist national socialist ideology in the wake of distressing Arab losses to the Jews in 1948, 1967 and 1973.

Al Husseini was a Muslim cleric with a deep anti-Jewish antipathy learned in the Cairo school of Muslim Brotherhood acolyte Sheikh Rashid Rida.

“From his earliest point of awareness, young Amin knew that the Jews were not Muslims. He knew that the Jews were determined to take his homeland. He believed that the Jews were part of a grand conspiracy that would ultimately destroy Islamic civilization. For the mufti, reading The Protocols of the Elders of Zion for the first time was a revelation. This was the book that explained his world, that accurately described precisely the events taking place in his beloved homeland, British-occupied Palestine.” Dalin and Rothman, 2008:7, Icon of Evil)

But, apart from his Cairo, Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood schooling, al Husseini is perhaps most notorious for his embrace of German Nazi ideology where known German Nazis, found, in Egypt, the home of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, a welcoming safe haven.

These included Otto Skorzeny (1908–1975), the Nazi commander once labelled by the OSS as ‘the most dangerous man in Europe,’ in the employ of the Nasser government’, former Goebbels assistants Johann von Leers (1902–1965), Franz Bunsche, Louis Heiden (d.1994), the man who converted to Islam, took the name Luis al-Haj and translated Mein Kampf into Arabic, Luftwaffe ace Hans-Ulrich Rudel (1916–1982), Himmler staff member SS Colonel Eugen Dollman (1900–ca. 1982), SS Colonel Leopold Gleim, chief of the Gestapo department for Jewish affairs in Poland, SS General Alois Moser, a war criminal who was involved in the extermination of the Soviet Jews in the Ukraine, SS Captain Wilhelm Bockler, who participated in the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto and Wehrmacht General Wilhelm Fahrmbacher, who took over the central planning staff in Cairo, to name but a few who hid out in Egypt.

Arguably, al Husseini did more to Islamicise and internalise European antisemitism for generations of Arab Muslims not yet born, where fundamentalist supremacist Islamist organisational epithets of Jews as “cowards”, “dogs”, “evil racists” and “scum” still pervade the language used by Hamas and the PLO today.

Thus, al Husseini was a bridge figure of a hazy and contested pan-Arabism between a throwback to conservative extremist Islamism per the Muslim Brotherhood and German national socialism per the National Socialist Third Reich in the context of his legacy: the continuing Israeli Palestinian conflict.

And, in the same way that al-Husseini represented the pan-Arab point of view in the southern Levant of the 1930s, Adolf Hitler, whose career parallels and intersects with al-Husseini’s, represented the pan-Germanic point of view.

The pan-Arab agenda, one that was still not “Palestinian” in its focus, as promoted by al-Husseini, is made plain in the Palestine National Covenant of the PLO, of which Yasser Arafat became the Chairman.

Here, Palestine was considered in the Covenant to be an “indivisible” and “integral” (Articles 2-3) part of the Arab home-land, or ummah, which included all regions of the world where Arabic was the majority language. This concept was, for all intents and purposes, identical to the Nazi concept of the Third Reich, in which the Nazis claimed for themselves the right to directly control all German-speaking peoples.

Over time what changed in the Arab Israeli context was that where the ideology of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood was influenced and supported by the Third Reich in the 1930s and 1940s, it was later backed by the emergence of an equally puritanical sect of Islam in Saudi Arabia known as (Sunni) Wahabism.

“Both the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi Arabian Wahabi radicals borrowed heavily from an Islamic movement called the Salafiyya, which believes that true Muslims must tow a path in strict accordance with that of the seventh-century Islam of the Prophet Mohammed.” (Morse, 2010: 76, The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism)

In this, both groups were reacting at the time to the introduction of modernity, pluralism and democracy in the Islamic world, both groups came to believe that these Western ideas posed a threat to Islam, both groups insisted on what they perceived to be a pure form of Islamic practice and way of life untainted by the un-believers or kuffar and both groups found resonance in the quite similar approach that the Nazis took toward the concept of racial/ethnic “purity”.

Today that ideology finds its expression in the statements of both Hamas and the PLO/Fatah/PA where, for example, the current President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas stated in 2013 that “that no Israeli settlers [Jews]…could remain in a future Palestinian state.”

This despite the presence, as full citizens, of 2.1 million Arab Israeli Muslims, Arab Christians and Druze in a pluralist, multicultural democracy in the Jewish State of Israel.

Yasser Arafat founded Fatah in Kuwait in 1959 with a view to destroying

Israel in the process. His sojourn in Kuwait was not a voluntary one. He and other fedayeen had been expelled from Egypt. In 1948, Arafat fought in a Muslim Brotherhood unit against the Israelis in the War of Independence. Between 1939 and 1940, Arafat served as one of Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Amin al Husseini’s enforcers in Husseini’s struggle for power against another Jerusalem clan. Following the Suez crisis of 1956, he was expelled by the UN to Kuwait in 1957. There he met two Arab Jihadists: Salah Khalaf (1933–1991, aka Abu Iyad) and Khalil al-Wazir (1935–1988, aka Abu Jihad), both of whom were devoted members of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Arafat took the name Abu Ammar, demonstrating that he and his friends were “pious Muslims,” with a decided “Islamic orientation.”

A protégé of Sheikh Amin al Husseini and his brand of extremist Islamist national socialism, Arafat stated in a 1996 speech in Stockholm, “We plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion… We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem.”

While neither a recognised Islamist nor leftist, Arafat was a Muslim and what differentiated him from “religious” Islamic Jihadists was the absence of a firm insistence that Sharia be the law of the land, not a rejection of Islam.

Arafat learned from the political, radical and revolutionary experience of both camps: Islam and national socialism. His majority Fatah faction in the PLO was a secular nationalist organisation in principle which bought into, and weaponised, Islamic Nazism into the quest for a Palestinian state free of Jews. In this regard then, Arafat and the PLO/PA, in the context of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, shared both the extremist Islamist belief and extremist white supremacist belief in religious/ethnic purity in homogenous territories through targeted violence.

In other words, where for Hamas Islamism was the solution to remove Western influence in the Arab world including the “little satan” Israel, for Fatah and the PLO, a national socialist nationalism was the solution to removing this Western influence.

For both, demonising and deligitmising the Jews through violence and inversion of history was the method.

Arafat’s hatred of Jews and Israel, nurtured by his Muslim Brotherhood and National Socialist inspired mentor al Husseini, was able to effectively poison a generation of Levantine Arabs through the fact that  Yasser Arafat had complete control of all the organs of Palestinian education and propaganda.

The Egyptian-born Arafat taught hatred. His television, his newspapers, his clerics inculcated an antisemitism unmatched in virulence since Nazi Germany….and just as Osama bin Laden spent the ’90s indoctrinating and infiltrating in preparation for murder, Arafat raised an entire generation schooled in hatred of what radical Islam termed “Judeo-Nazis” and a “Palestinian” incitement to murder in the name of Allah. (Krauthammer, 2002, Arafat’s Harvest of Hate, The Washington Post)

Early during the 2nd intifada in 2000, while Israelis were preparing their people for peace in line with the September 1993, Israel and the PLO signatures on the Declaration of Principles on Palestinian Self-Rule (Oslo I), Yasser Arafat was cynically preparing his people for a religious war.

In that period of the 2nd intifada, a sermon by Arafat-appointed and Arafat-funded Muslim Council imam Ahmad Abu Halabiya, was broadcast live on official Palestinian Authority television: “[Jews] must be butchered and killed, as Allah the Almighty (emphasis added) said: ‘Fight them: Allah (emphasis added) will torture them at your hands.’ . . . Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them.

Statements like these, given the formative antecedents of their speakers, point once again to the radical extremist religion-based ideologies that lead to their utterances and the continuation of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

One could go on at length with further documentation of the Hamas/PLO/Fatah/PA acceptance of terror as a substitute for politics, where, with wiser leadership there could have been a flourishing Palestinian state for years.

However, such documentation would only serve to strengthen the notion that, in essence, the Israeli Palestinian conflict remains at heart a religious Muslim war variously overlaid with fundamentalist Islamist and left national socialist ideology which shuns the concept of other, of inclusivity, and of peace predicated on the acceptance of other no matter their ethnicity, religion, beliefs or race.

Part III of this four-part series will look at the extent to which this Islamist ideology has (arguably very successfully) revised history in the Levant in pursuit of legitimising a people who never historically existed in a polity that never was. A revision which, at its core, tries to shred the legitimacy of a people and a nation with an unbroken presence in the area for over 3000 years and around 1700 years before the Muslim Arab invasions and occupation of that land.

International Court of Criminals politicizes itself

International Court of Criminals politicizes itself by accepting the legal fiction of Palestinian statehood

The Lawfare Project is deeply concerned with the recent decision by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open a preliminary examination into the “situation in Palestine,” which follows Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s signing of the ICC’s Rome Statute earlier this month.

During the inquiry, the Prosecutor will evaluate “issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice” in determining whether to launch an investigation into alleged crimes committed in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Because Abbas recognized the ICC’s jurisdiction retroactively, the Prosecutor could investigate last summer’s conflict between Israel and designated foreign terrorist organization Hamas (see The Lawfare Project’s analysis of war crimes and other violations of international law committed by Hamas).

Regardless of the examination’s outcome, this initial move directly undermines the ICC’s legitimacy, revealing politicization rather than legal competence. Because statehood is a condition of jurisdiction under the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor’s decision involved her finding that a “Palestinian state” actually exists. She did so based on the fact that the U.N. General Assembly voted in 2012 to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state.” This maneuver, which followed unsuccessful attempts to achieve legally recognizable statehood via the U.N. Security Council, received widespread criticism because the Palestinians did not at the time meet the requirements for statehood under well-established international law, as was discussed in The Lawfare Project’s article on the legal fiction of Palestinian statehood. Nor do they meet those requirements today.

Not only does the General Assembly lack authority to create states (and its resolutions are not legally binding), but nothing in international law suggests that the General Assembly’s vote to upgrade the Palestinians’ status should have any bearing on the jurisdiction of the ICC, an entity independent of the United Nations. The Prosecutor’s willingness to expand ICC jurisdiction beyond the confines of the Rome Statute is of great concern, and her substitution of politics for law is indeed the epitome of lawfare.