Hamas: De même que pour toutes les terres conquises par l’islam (For the Hamas, Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection as long as Heaven and earth last)

Le roi de Moab, voyant qu’il avait le dessous dans le combat, prit avec lui sept cents hommes tirant l’épée pour se frayer un passage jusqu’au roi d’Édom; mais ils ne purent pas. Il prit alors son fils premier-né, qui devait régner à sa place, et il l’offrit en holocauste sur la muraille. Et une grande indignation s’empara d’Israël, qui s’éloigna du roi de Moab et retourna dans son pays. 2 Rois 3: 26-27
Le Mouvement de la Résistance Islamique aspire à l’accomplissement de la promesse de Dieu, quel que soit le temps nécessaire. L’Apôtre de Dieu -que Dieu lui donne bénédiction et paix- a dit : « L’Heure ne viendra pas avant que les musulmans n’aient combattu les Juifs (c’est à dire que les musulmans ne les aient tués), avant que les Juifs ne se fussent cachés derrière les pierres et les arbres et que les pierres et les arbres eussent dit : ‘Musulman, serviteur de Dieu ! Un Juif se cache derrière moi, viens et tue-le. Charte du Hamas (article 7)
Le Mouvement de la Résistance Islamique croit que la Palestine est un Waqf islamique consacré aux générations de musulmans jusqu’au Jugement Dernier. Pas une seule parcelle ne peut en être dilapidée ou abandonnée à d’autres. Aucun pays arabe, président arabe ou roi arabe, ni tous les rois et présidents arabes réunis, ni une organisation même palestinienne n’a le droit de le faire. La Palestine est un Waqf musulman consacré aux générations de musulmans jusqu’au Jour du Jugement Dernier. Qui peut prétendre avoir le droit de représenter les générations de musulmans jusqu’au Jour du Jugement Dernier ? Tel est le statut de la terre de Palestine dans la Charia, et il en va de même pour toutes les terres conquises par l’islam et devenues terres de Waqf dès leur conquête, pour être consacrées à toutes les générations de musulmans jusqu’au Jour du Jugement Dernier. Il en est ainsi depuis que les chefs des armées islamiques ont conquis les terres de Syrie et d’Irak et ont demandé au Calife des musulmans, Omar Ibn-al Khattab, s’ils devaient partager ces terres entre les soldats ou les laisser à leurs propriétaires. Suite à des consultations et des discussions entre le Calife des musulmans, Omar Ibn-al Khattab, et les compagnons du Prophète, Allah le bénisse, il fut décidé que la terre soit laissée à ses propriétaires pour qu’ils profitent de ses fruits. Cependant, la propriété véritable et la terre même doit être consacrée aux seuls musulmans jusqu’au Jour du Jugement Dernier. Ceux qui se trouvent sur ces terres peuvent uniquement profiter de ses fruits. Ce waqf persiste tant que le Ciel et la Terre existent. Toute procédure en contradiction avec la Charia islamique en ce qui concerne la Palestine est nulle et non avenue.« C’est la vérité infaillible. Célèbre le nom d’Allah le Très-Haut » (Coran, LVI, 95-96). Charte du Hamas (article 11)
The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth, because they have displayed hostility to Allah. Allah will kill the Jews in the hell of the world to come, just like they killed the believers in the hell of this world. Atallah Abu al-Subh (former Hamas minister of culture, 2011)
Right now, Israel is much more powerful than Hezbollah and Hamas. Let’s say tomorrow this was reversed. Let’s say Hamas had the firepower of Israel and Israel had the firepower of Hamas. What do you think would happen to Israel were the balance of power reversed? David Wolpe (rabbi of Los Angeles Sinai Temple)
The truth is that there is an obvious, undeniable, and hugely consequential moral difference between Israel and her enemies. The Israelis are surrounded by people who have explicitly genocidal intentions towards them. The charter of Hamas is explicitly genocidal. It looks forward to a time, based on Koranic prophesy, when the earth itself will cry out for Jewish blood, where the trees and the stones will say “O Muslim, there’s a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him.” This is a political document. We are talking about a government that was voted into power by a majority of Palestinians. (…) The discourse in the Muslim world about Jews is utterly shocking. Not only is there Holocaust denial—there’s Holocaust denial that then asserts that we will do it for real if given the chance. The only thing more obnoxious than denying the Holocaust is to say that itshould have happened; it didn’t happen, but if we get the chance, we will accomplish it. There are children’s shows in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere that teach five-year-olds about the glories of martyrdom and about the necessity of killing Jews. And this gets to the heart of the moral difference between Israel and her enemies. And this is something I discussed in The End of Faith. To see this moral difference, you have to ask what each side would do if they had the power to do it. What would the Jews do to the Palestinians if they could do anything they wanted? Well, we know the answer to that question, because they can do more or less anything they want. The Israeli army could kill everyone in Gaza tomorrow. So what does that mean? Well, it means that, when they drop a bomb on a beach and kill four Palestinian children, as happened last week, this is almost certainly an accident. They’re not targeting children. They could target as many children as they want. Every time a Palestinian child dies, Israel edges ever closer to becoming an international pariah. So the Israelis take great pains not to kill children and other noncombatants. (…)What do we know of the Palestinians? What would the Palestinians do to the Jews in Israel if the power imbalance were reversed? Well, they have told us what they would do. For some reason, Israel’s critics just don’t want to believe the worst about a group like Hamas, even when it declares the worst of itself. We’ve already had a Holocaust and several other genocides in the 20th century. People are capable of committing genocide. When they tell us they intend to commit genocide, we should listen. There is every reason to believe that the Palestinians would kill all the Jews in Israel if they could. Would every Palestinian support genocide? Of course not. But vast numbers of them—and of Muslims throughout the world—would. Needless to say, the Palestinians in general, not just Hamas, have a history of targeting innocent noncombatants in the most shocking ways possible. They’ve blown themselves up on buses and in restaurants. They’ve massacred teenagers. They’ve murdered Olympic athletes. They now shoot rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas. And again, the charter of their government in Gaza explicitly tells us that they want to annihilate the Jews—not just in Israel but everywhere.(…) The truth is that everything you need to know about the moral imbalance between Israel and her enemies can be understood on the topic of human shields. Who uses human shields? Well, Hamas certainly does. They shoot their rockets from residential neighborhoods, from beside schools, and hospitals, and mosques. Muslims in other recent conflicts, in Iraq and elsewhere, have also used human shields. They have laid their rifles on the shoulders of their own children and shot from behind their bodies. Consider the moral difference between using human shields and being deterred by them. That is the difference we’re talking about. The Israelis and other Western powers are deterred, however imperfectly, by the Muslim use of human shields in these conflicts, as we should be. It is morally abhorrent to kill noncombatants if you can avoid it. It’s certainly abhorrent to shoot through the bodies of children to get at your adversary. But take a moment to reflect on how contemptible this behavior is. And understand how cynical it is. The Muslims are acting on the assumption—the knowledge, in fact—that the infidels with whom they fight, the very people whom their religion does nothing but vilify, will be deterred by their use of Muslim human shields. They consider the Jews the spawn of apes and pigs—and yet they rely on the fact that they don’t want to kill Muslim noncombatants.(…) Now imagine reversing the roles here. Imagine how fatuous—indeed comical it would be—for the Israelis to attempt to use human shields to deter the Palestinians. (…) But Imagine the Israelis holding up their own women and children as human shields. Of course, that would be ridiculous. The Palestinians are trying to kill everyone. Killing women and children is part of the plan. Reversing the roles here produces a grotesque Monty Python skit. If you’re going to talk about the conflict in the Middle East, you have to acknowledge this difference. I don’t think there’s any ethical disparity to be found anywhere that is more shocking or consequential than this. And the truth is, this isn’t even the worst that jihadists do. Hamas is practically a moderate organization, compared to other jihadist groups. There are Muslims who have blown themselves up in crowds of children—again, Muslim children—just to get at the American soldiers who were handing out candy to them. They have committed suicide bombings, only to send another bomber to the hospital to await the casualities—where they then blow up all the injured along with the doctors and nurses trying to save their lives. Every day that you could read about an Israeli rocket gone astray or Israeli soldiers beating up an innocent teenager, you could have read about ISIS in Iraq crucifying people on the side of the road, Christians and Muslims. Where is the outrage in the Muslim world and on the Left over these crimes? Where are the demonstrations, 10,000 or 100,000 deep, in the capitals of Europe against ISIS?  If Israel kills a dozen Palestinians by accident, the entire Muslim world is inflamed. God forbid you burn a Koran, or write a novel vaguely critical of the faith. And yet Muslims can destroy their own societies—and seek to destroy the West—and you don’t hear a peep. (…) These incompatible religious attachments to this land have made it impossible for Muslims and Jews to negotiate like rational human beings, and they have made it impossible for them to live in peace. But the onus is still more on the side of the Muslims here. Even on their worst day, the Israelis act with greater care and compassion and self-criticism than Muslim combatants have anywhere, ever. And again, you have to ask yourself, what do these groups want? What would they accomplish if they could accomplish anything? What would the Israelis do if they could do what they want? They would live in peace with their neighbors, if they had neighbors who would live in peace with them. They would simply continue to build out their high tech sector and thrive. (…) What do groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and even Hamas want? They want to impose their religious views on the rest of humanity. They want stifle every freedom that decent, educated, secular people care about. This is not a trivial difference. And yet judging from the level of condemnation that Israel now receives, you would think the difference ran the other way. This kind of confusion puts all of us in danger. This is the great story of our time. For the rest of our lives, and the lives of our children, we are going to be confronted by people who don’t want to live peacefully in a secular, pluralistic world, because they are desperate to get to Paradise, and they are willing to destroy the very possibility of human happiness along the way. The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet. Sam Harris
On ne manque pas d’images du conflit de Gaza. Nous avons vu les décombres, les enfants palestiniens morts, les Israéliens courir aux abris pendant les attaques de roquettes, les manœuvres israéliennes et les images fournies par l’armée israélienne des militants du Hamas sortant de tunnels pour attaquer les soldats israéliens. Nous n’avons pratiquement pas vu aucune image d’hommes armés du Hamas à Gaza. Nous savons qu’ils sont là : il y a bien quelqu’un qui doit se charger de lancer les roquettes sur Israël (plus de 2 800) et de les tirer sur les troupes israéliennes dans Gaza. Pourtant, jusqu’à maintenant, les seules images que nous avons vues (ou dont nous avons même entendu parler) sont les vidéos fournies par l’armée israélienne de terroristes du Hamas utilisant les hôpitaux, les ambulances, les mosquées, les écoles (et les tunnels) pour lancer des attaques contre des cibles israéliennes ou transporter des armes autour de Gaza. Pourquoi n’avons nous pas vu des photographies prises par des journalistes d’hommes du Hamas dans Gaza ? Nous savons que le Hamas ne veut pas que le monde voit les hommes armés palestiniens en train de lancer de roquettes ou utilisant des lieux peuplés de civils comme des bases d’opération. Mais si l’on peut voir des images des deux côtés pratiquement dans toutes les guerres, en Syrie, en Ukraine, en Irak, pourquoi Gaza fait-elle figure d’exception ? Si des journalistes sont menacés et intimidés lorsqu’ils essaient de documenter les activités du Hamas dans Gaza, leurs agences de presse devraient le dire publiquement. (…) Pour de nombreux spectateurs, le récit de cette guerre doit apparaître très clair : le puissant Israël bombarde des Palestiniens sans défense. C’est compréhensible lorsque l’on ne voit presque aucune photographie des agresseurs palestiniens. (…) Ce n’est pas un détail. L’opinion publique est un élément crucial dans ce conflit. Elle va jouer un rôle pour déterminer quand les combats cesseront, à quoi ressemblera le cessez-le-feu et qui portera en priorité la responsabilité pour la mort d’innocents. Si les grands médias suppriment les images des terroristes du Hamas utilisant des civils comme des boucliers et utilisant des écoles et des hôpitaux comme des bases d’opérations, alors les gens autour du monde auront naturellement du mal à voir les Israéliens comme autre chose que des agresseurs et les Palestiniens comme autre chose que des victimes. Times of Israel
Les menaces du Hamas ne sont pas responsables de l’ignorance et de la stupidité de la couverture des hostilités à Gaza, mais elles sont en partie responsables. Les journalistes et les médias employeurs coopèrent avec le Hamas non seulement en passant sous silence des histoires qui ne servent pas la cause du Hamas, mais aussi en ne parlant pas des conditions restrictives dans lesquelles ils travaillent. Scott Johnson
Pourtant, le sionisme, sans doute plus que toute autre idéologie contemporaine, est diabolisé. « Tous les sionistes sont des cibles légitimes partout dans le monde! » énonce une bannière récemment brandie par des manifestants anti-Israël au Danemark. « Les chiens sont admis dans cet établissement, mais pas les sionistes, en aucune circonstance », prévient une pancarte à la fenêtre d’un café belge. On a dit à un manifestant juif en Islande : « Toi porc sioniste, je vais te couper la tête. »Dans certains milieux universitaires et médiatiques, le sionisme est synonyme de colonialisme et d’impérialisme. Les critiques d’extrême droite et gauche le comparent au racisme ou, pire, au nazisme. Et cela en Occident. Au Moyen-Orient, le sionisme est l’abomination ultime – le produit d’un Holocauste que beaucoup dans la région nient avoir jamais existé, ce qui ne les empêche pas de maintenir que les sionistes l’ont bien mérité. Qu’est-ce qui, dans ​​le sionisme, suscite un tel dégoût ? Après tout, le désir d’un peuple dispersé d’avoir son propre Etat ne peut être si révulsif, surtout sachant que ce même peuple a enduré des siècles de massacres et d’expulsions, qui ont atteint leur paroxysme dans le plus grand assassinat de masse de l’histoire. Peut-être la révulsion envers le sionisme découle-t-elle de sa mixture inhabituelle d’identité nationale, de religion et de fidélité à une terre. Le Japon s’en rapproche le plus, mais malgré son passé rapace, le nationalisme japonais ne suscite pas la révulsion provoquée par le sionisme. Il est clair que l’antisémitisme, dans ses versions européenne et musulmane, joue un rôle. Fauteurs de cabales, faucheurs d’argent, conquérants du monde et assassins de bébés – toutes ces diffamations autrefois jetées à la tête des Juifs le sont aujourd’hui à celle des sionistes. Et à l’image des capitalistes antisémites qui voyaient tous les Juifs comme des communistes et des communistes pour qui le capitalisme était intrinsèquement juif, les adversaires du sionisme le décrivent comme l’Autre abominable. Mais tous ces détracteurs sont des fanatiques, et certains parmi eux sont des Juifs. Pour un nombre croissant de Juifs progressistes, le sionisme est un nationalisme militant, tandis que pour de nombreux Juifs ultra-orthodoxes, ce mouvement n’est pas suffisamment pieux – voire même hérétique. Comment un idéal si universellement vilipendé peut-il conserver sa légitimité, ou même prétendre être un succès ? Michael Oren
To remember the historical milieu compels every sincere observer to admit that there is no necessary connection between al-Miraj and sovereign rights over Jerusalem since, in the time when the Prophet… consecrated the place with his footprints on the Stone, the City was not a part of the Islamic State – whose borders were then limited to the Arabian Peninsula – but under Byzantine administration. Moreover, although radical preachers try to remove this from exegesis, the Glorious Quran expressly recognizes that Jerusalem plays for the Jewish people the same role that Mecca has for Muslims. We read in Surah al-Baqarah: “…They would not follow thy direction of prayer (qiblah), nor art thou to follow their direction of prayer; nor indeed will they follow each other’s direction of prayer….” All Quranic annotators explain that « thy qiblah » is obviously the Kaabah of Mecca, while « their qiblah  » refers to the Temple Site in Jerusalem. To quote just one of the most important of them, we read in Qadi Baydawi’s Commentary : “Verily, in their prayers Jews orientate themselves toward the Rock (al-Sakhrah), while Christians orientate themselves eastwards….” As opposed to what sectarian radicals continuously claim, the Book that is a guide for those who abide by Islam—as we have just now shown—recognizes Jerusalem as Jewish direction of prayer…. After…deep reflection about the implications of this approach, it is not difficult to understand that separation in directions of prayer is a mean[s] to decrease possible rivalries in [the] management of [the] Holy Places. For those who receive from Allah the gift of equilibrium and the attitude to reconciliation, it should not be difficult to conclude that, as no one is willing to deny Muslims… complete sovereignty over Mecca, from an Islamic point of view… there is not any sound theological reason to deny an equal right of Jews over Jerusalem. Abdul-Hadi Palazzi (“Antizionism and Antisemitism in the Contemporary Islamic Milieu)
Affirming Israel’s « right to exist » is as unacceptable as denying that right, because even posing the question of whether or not the Children of Israel (Jews) — individually, collectively or nationally — have a « right to exist » is unacceptable. Israel exists by Divine Right, confirmed in both the Bible and Qur’an. I find in the Qur’an that God granted the Land of Israel to the Children of Israel and ordered them to settle therein (Qur’an, Sura 5:21) and that before the Last Day He will bring the Children of Israel to retake possession of their Land, gathering them from different countries and nations (Qu’ran, Sura 17:104). Consequently, as a Muslim who abides by the Qur’an, I believe that opposing the existence of the State of Israel means opposing a Divine decree. Every time Arabs fought against Israel they suffered humiliating defeats. In opposing the will of God by making war on Israel, Arabs were in effect making war on God Himself. They ignored the Qur’an, and God punished them. Now, having learned nothing from defeat after defeat, Arabs want to obtain through terror what they were unable to obtain through war: the destruction of the State of Israel. The result is quite predictable: as they have been defeated in the past, the Arabs will be defeated again. In 1919, Emir Feisal (leader of the Hashemite family, i.e., the leader of the family of the Prophet Muhammad) reached an Agreement with Chaim Weizmann for the creation of a Jewish State and an Arab Kingdom having the Jordan river as a border between them. Emir Feisal wrote, « We feel that the Arabs and Jews are cousins in race, having suffered similar oppressions at the hands of powers stronger than themselves, and by a happy coincidence have been able to take the first step towards the attainment of their national ideals together. The Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. » In Feisal’s time, none claimed that accepting the creation of the State of Israel and befriending Zionism was against Islam. Even the Arab leaders who opposed the Feisal-Weizmann Agreement never resorted to an Islamic argument to condemn it. Unfortunately that Agreement was never implemented, since the British opposed the creation of the Arab Kingdom and chose to give sovereignty over Arabia to Ibn Sa’ud’s marauders, i.e., to the forefathers of the House of Sa’ud. When the Saudis started ruling an oil rich Kingdom, they also started investing a regular part of their wealth in spreading Wahhabism worldwide. Wahhabism is a totalitarian cult which stands for terror, massacre of civilians and for permanent war against Jews, Christians and non-Wahhabi Muslims. The influence of Wahhabism in the contemporary Arab world is such that many Arab Muslims are wrongly convinced that, in order to be a good Muslim, one must hate Israel and hope for its destruction. (…) The Bible says that God gave the Land of Israel as a heritage to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and gave the rest of the world as a heritage to other peoples. As confirmed by the Qur’an and Islamic tradition, Abraham himself bequeathed to his descendants from Isaac the Land of Israel, and bequeathed to his descendants from Ishmael other lands, such as the Arabian peninsula. Now descendants of Ishmael, the Arabs, have a gigantic territory extending from Morocco to Iraq. The descendants of Isaac, the Jews, on the contrary, only have a tiny, narrow strip of land. However, Arab dictators are not satisfied with their huge territory. They want more. They also want the little heritage of the Children of Israel, and resort to terror in order to get it. Sheikh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi (Director of the Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community)
To win a war, one must identify who the enemy is and neutralize the enemy’s chain of command. World War Two was won when the German army was destroyed, Berlin was captured and Hitler removed from power. To win the War on Terror, it is necessary to understand that al-Qa’ida is a Saudi organization, created by the House of Sa’ud, funded with petro-dollar profits by the House of Sa’ud and used by the House of Sa’ud for acts of mass terror primarily against the West, and the rest of the world, as well. Consequently, to really win the War on Terror it is necessary for the U.S. to invade Saudi Arabia, capture King Abdallah and the other 1,500 princes who constitute the House of Sa’ud, to freeze their assets, to remove them from power, and to send them to Guantanamo for life imprisonment. Then it is necessary to replace the Saudi-Wahhabi terror-funding regime with a moderate, non-Wahhabi and pro-West regime, such as a Hashemite Sunni Muslim constitutional monarchy. Unless all this is done, the War on Terror will never be won. It is possible to destroy al-Qa’ida, to capture or execute Bin Laden, al-Zarqawi, al-Zawahiri, etc., but this will not end the War. After some years, Saudi princes will again start funding many similar terror organizations. The Saudi regime can only survive by increasing its support for terror. Saddam’s regime was one of the worst criminal dictatorships which existed in this world, and destroying it was surely a praiseworthy task for which, as a Muslim, I am thankful to President Bush, to the governments who joined the Coalition and to soldiers who fought in the field. Destroying the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq were surely praiseworthy tasks, but I regret that focusing on these secondary enemies was — for the White House — a way to obscure the role of the world’s main enemy: the Saudis. (…)  I am extremely disappointed with him. I hoped that — after Saudi terrorists attacked the U.S. on 9/11 — this would necessarily cause a radical revision in U.S.-Saudi relations. The first action a U.S. President had to do after such a criminal attack as 9/11 was to immediately outlaw Saudi-controlled institutions inside the U.S. and acknowledge that viewing Saudis as « friends » was a mortal sin representing sixty years of failed U.S. foreign and economic policy. U.S. governmental agencies have plenty of evidence about the role of the House of Sa’ud in funding the worldwide terror network. U.S. citizens can even read in newspapers that some days before the 9/11 attack Muhammad Atta received a check from the wife of the former Saudi Ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar, but unbelievably this caused no consequences. Let us consider plain facts: the wife of a foreign ambassador pays terrorists for attacks which murder thousands of U.S. citizens, and the U.S. government not only does not declare war on that foreign country, in this case Saudi Arabia, but does not even terminate diplomatic relations with that country. On the contrary, then-Crown Prince Abdallah, the creator (together with the new Saudi ambassador to the United States, former Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Father of 9/11, Prince Turki al-Feisal) of al-Qa’ida, is immediately invited to Bush’s ranch as a honored guest, and Bush tells him, « You are our ally in the War on Terror »! Can one image FDR inviting Hitler to the United States and telling him, « You are our ally in the war against Fascism in Europe »? Something very similar happened after 9/11. As a matter of fact, the Saudis supported Bush’s electoral campaign for his first term in office, and asked him in exchange to be the first U.S. President to promote the creation of a Palestinian State. Once he was elected, Bush refused to abide by the agreement, and the consequence was 9/11. « We paid for your election, and now you must do want we want from you », this was the message behind the 9/11 attack. Bush immediately started doing what the Saudis wanted from him: compelling Israel to withdraw from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, in order to permit the creation of a PLO state. Western media speak of a « Road Map, » while Arab media call it by its real name: « Abdallah’s Plan. » One hears about a U.S. President who allegedly leads a « War on Terror » and promotes the spread of « democracy » and « freedom » in the Islamic world, but the reality shows a U.S. president who — after a Saudi terror attack against the U.S. — abides by a Saudi diktat, hides the role of the Saudi regime behind al-Qa’ida and wants Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East, cut to pieces to facilitate the creation of another dictatorial regime, lead by Arafat deputy Abu Mazen, the terrorist who organized the mass murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Theoretically, Bush proclaims his intention to punish terror and to spread democracy, but the Road Map is the exact opposite of all this: it means punishing the victims of terror and rewarding terrorists, compelling democracy to withdraw in order to create a new dictatorial Arab regime. For the U.S. there is only one single trustworthy ally in the entire Middle East: Israel. Now Bush is punishing America’s ally Israel to reward those who heartily supported « our brother Saddam », those who demonstrate by burning Stars and Strips flags and those who call America « the imperialist power controlled by Zionism ». In doing so, Bush seriously risks becoming the most anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish President in the history of the U.S. Sheikh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi (Director of the Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community)
The failure of the Ottoman Empire to maintain and reform its financial and political policies in the face of changes in the international order in the nineteenth century led to the British occupation of Egypt in 1882 and was capped by its calamitous decision to ally itself with Germany in the First World War, when the Empire was ultimately consigned to oblivion. Some Muslims confronted modern challenges to traditional Islam by focusing on the distant past, the Golden Age of the Rightly Guided Caliphs (Rashidun), or the Salafs, (ancestors). Those who seek to emulate these ancestors are called Salafis, and their movement is often referred to in Arabic as the Salafiyyah, and its first major ideologue was the Egyptian Rashid Rida. Despite the lack of a political consensus among Palestinian Arabs about what form of government ought to be constituted following the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, officials administering the major Palestinian Islamic institutions in Jerusalem under the British Mandate to the present day have adhered to the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood inspired by Rida and articulated by the Hajj Amin al-Husseini and Hassan al-Banna in the 1930s. This continuity was masked throughout the periods of Hashemite and Israeli rule as the world’s focus was on the emergence of the secular nationalist Palestinian Liberation Organization and its associated rivals. From a minority position that emerged following the First World War in the Middle East, the claim that Palestine is waqf has been widely accepted in the Muslim discourse following the failures of the secularists to win the battle against Israel by the mid-1990s.
However, taking the larger view, which includes not only the municipality of Jerusalem, but the issue of settlements and Israeli “heritage sites” in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza, and the entire course of the conflict, it is not only the Jerusalem municipality or Israel’s policies regarding the Palestinians which is to blame for the current impasse. The Palestinians’ continued willingness to support violent action against Israel, and their continued hope for a one state solution, has resulted, contrary to all reason, to support for HAMAS. Emboldened by its defeat of FATAH in Gaza in 2007, and backed by an extraordinarily aggressive Iran, the maximalists again are threatening to lead the Palestinian remnant to their complete destruction. All attempts to convince the Palestinians to abandon jihadist ideology have failed, despite the fact that the Arab world is ready to accommodate Israel in the current Middle Eastern state system. Recent calls for a bi-national, secular state instead of a two-state solution are distractions from the real issues at hand. Improving the living conditions of the Palestinian people, fostering the development of municipal and national government in Gaza and the West Bank, and fighting against Islamist opportunism are goals that can be achieved under the shadow of the Iranian threat. Only on the micro-level can political progress be made. The conflict has to become localized. Only by rejecting the regionalization of the political issues facing the Palestinian and Israeli conflict can the international threats on the macro-level be challenged. A paradigm shift is needed to thwart the Islamist threat to Israel. Below are concrete steps towards localizing the conflict and to reinvigorate the peace process that could break the cycle of despair now characterizing the region within the parameters of the Beillin-Abu Mazen plan of 1995. Immediate Steps Within the Realm of Realpolitik and Reason: Localize Conflict Management and Resolution 1. Establish embassies in West and East Jerusalem All states having diplomatic relations with Israel should immediately establish embassies in Israel and Palestine. Arab League states establish embassies in East and West Jerusalem. Use these embassies to kick start economic development and housing in various neighborhoods. 2. Latin Patriarchate, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, and other Christian landowners in Palestine/Israel to cooperate by developing local community development boards. 3) UNESCO overseas restoration and preservation of Islamic monuments and archeological sites. Turkey to cooperate with Israel and Palestine with historical preservation projects. 4) Educational programs for Palestinian and Israeli students focusing on holy sites throughout the land. Educational institutions currently training tour guides to spearhead these efforts, emphasizing change and continuity over time. 5) Truth and Reconciliation commissions to document and memorialize history. Institutions of higher learning to cooperate with education ministries. 6) UNRWA to close refugee camps throughout the Middle East. Repatriate and reimburse Arab and Jewish refugees according to their wishes—return, compensation, or memorials—on a case-by-case basis. Judith Mendelsohn Rood

Attention: une abomination peut en cacher une autre !

Attaques d’écoles, attaques d’hôpitaux, massacres de femmes, massacres d’handicapés, massacres d’enfants …

Alors que ce qui devrait être la révélation ultime d’une perfidie et d’un détournement systématique (jusqu’au recours quasi-archaïque au sacrifice d’enfants !) des valeurs civilisées que l’opinion occidentale n’arrive même pas à imaginer …

Est en train de transformer sur la base d’une information tout aussi systématiquement tronquée par l’intimidation et les menaces constantes sur les journalistes

La seule véritable démocratie du Moyen-Orient en l’abomination des abominations …

Retour, avec une intéressante analyse de  Judith Mendelsohn Rood, sur le véritable programme d’une organisation …

Qui funeste et monstrueux fruit comme on le sait d’un pacte faustien entre Israël et les Saoudiens …

Se révèle être à la fois explicitement guerrière et terroriste …

Et maximaliste et totalitariste …

Ne réclamant rien de moins, au-delà de quelques trêves purement tactiques, que la suppression pure et simple de toute présence juive en Palestine …

HAMAS in the Context of the Historic Islamicization of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
Judith Mendelsohn Rood

Academia

Judith Mendelsohn Rood, Ph.D. Department of History, Government, and Social Science Biola University

Abstract: Secular Palestinian nationalists and scholars have studied the emergence of the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, but few have paid attention to its characterization of Palestine as an Islamic waqf. Following Hamas’ successful ousting of Fatah from Gaza in 2006, Hamas has been gaining the upper hand in the West Bank and Jerusalem as well because of its continuation of armed resistance against Israel. Hamas’ political success must be understood as a success of the Muslim Brotherhood to repudiate the secular nationalist Palestinian movement. Should HAMAS’s position on land tenure in the Palestinian Authority, defined by the unfounded claim that all land in Palestine is waqf, new problems arise for the development of the secular Palestinian state and is already posing problems for individual municipalities on the West Bank. The ideologically driven Israeli policy in Jerusalem is again matched by ideological Islamist agenda. Introduction Palestinian scholar Nur Masalha has characterized HAMAS’s claim that Palestine is an Islamic waqf as “the main innovative idea” that the Islamic Resistance Movement has contributed to the Arab-Israel Conflict. However, to the contrary, the claim that all Palestine is waqf  has been the official position of the Muslim Palestinian political establishment since before the days of the British Mandate. This claim, however, does not fit with the theory or practice of Islamic land tenure during any other period in Muslim history.

I first presented a version of this paper on July 31, 2008 at William Carey International University. In July 2009 and March 2010 I interviewed a number of Bethlehem area residents about land tenure issues facing their municipalities. I wish to thank them for their insights and their help, but, because of the sensitivity of these situations, I will have to let them remain anonymous. Any mistakes are my own and no one else is responsible for them. I welcome comments and corrections: judith.rood@biola.edu.

The HAMAS charter refers to the land of Palestine as “waqf ” that is, set aside as an eternal charitable endowment for the Muslim community. This is exactly the concept that the infamous mufti of Jerusalem, al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini, used to oppose the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine at the time of the British Mandate, a policy that directly led to the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948. Thus, the HAMAS position that the land of Palestine is an irrevocable waqf is the same position held by the mufti  during the Mandate Period to outlaw Palestinian land sales to Jews, by the Jordanians from 1947-1967, by Palestinian secular nationalist groups, and by the Palestinian Authority today. Land sales to Jews are still defined as treason, and accused collaborators are punishable by death, a penalty often imposed extrajudicially. Moreover, this was the position of the Muslim effendiyat  (elite) of Jerusalem in the 19th century (they actually recognized that all of Palestine was not waqf, but consisted mostly of military land grants). The Ottoman authorities explicitly rejected their claim before the rise of political Zionism in order to encourage the growth of commerce in the region of Jerusalem. However, now that HAMAS has become the Islamic Republic of Iran’s newest proxy, the claim is more dangerous than ever before. In this article, we will dissect the issue by defining the geographical, legal, and economic meanings of the terms used by HAMAS in order to disprove them strictly on the grounds of Islamic law and government during the Ottoman period. The 1988 Hamas Charter asserts in Article 11: The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment 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 Moslem generations until Judgment Day. This being so, who could claim to have the right to represent Moslem generations till Judgment Day?

The failure of the Ottoman Empire to maintain and reform its financial and political policies in the face of changes in the international order in the nineteenth century led to the British occupation of Egypt in 1882 and was capped by its calamitous decision to ally itself with Germany in the First World War, when the Empire was ultimately consigned to oblivion. Some Muslims confronted modern challenges to traditional Islam by focusing on the distant past, the Golden Age of the Rightly Guided Caliphs (Rashidun), or the Salafs, (ancestors). Those who seek to emulate these ancestors are called Salafis, and their movement is often referred to in Arabic as the Salafiyyah, and its first major ideologue was the Egyptian Rashid Rida. Despite the lack of a political consensus among Palestinian Arabs about what form of government ought to be constituted following the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, officials administering the major Palestinian Islamic institutions in Jerusalem under the British Mandate to the present day have adhered to the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood inspired by Rida and articulated by the Hajj Amin al-Husseini and Hassan al-Banna in the 1930s. This continuity was masked throughout the periods of Hashemite and Israeli rule as the world’s focus was on the emergence of the secular nationalist Palestinian Liberation Organization and its associated rivals. From a minority position that emerged following the First World War in the Middle East, the claim that Palestine is waqf  has been widely accepted  in the Muslim discourse following the failures of the secularists to win the battle against Israel by the mid-1990s.

The Muslim link to Palestine is through Jerusalem, based upon the identity of the Dome of the Rock with the Night Journey and Ascension to Heaven of Muhammad, described in the Quran as happening only at the indeterminate “Furthest Mosque,” which traditionally has been identified with Jerusalem. The reason for the journey to the “Furthest Mosque” was for Muhammad to ascend to heaven to meet with Moses and the biblical prophets on the site of the Temple, where the
Sakinah (Arabic) or Shechina (Hebrew), (the Glory of God) had once rested. To the consternation of well-educated Muslims worldwide, officials in charge of the Islamic institutions in Jerusalem serving the Palestinian National Authority, established May 4, 1994, took the position of HAMAS even further, stating that the Temple of Solomon itself was not located in Jerusalem. Ikramah Sabri, the then mufti  of Jerusalem, said that “There is no evidence that Solomon’s Temple was in Jerusalem; probably it was in Bethlehem or in some other place.”

He was also quoted as saying: « There is not [even] the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish temple on this place in the past. In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history. » This  assertion was made despite the existence of a well-known pamphlet for tourists published in 1935 by the Islamic authorities themselves, pointing out that it is “beyond dispute” that the Dome of the Rock sits on the site of Solomon’s Temple. The issue was so provocative that the Shaykh of Al-Azhar, the head of Islam’s most venerable and greatest religious university, in an article entitled “Does Solomon’s Temple Exist Under the Current Al-Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem?” published in Al-Ahram, November 2, 2000, felt compelled to explain its importance to his people. Yasser Arafat echoed this claim repeatedly until his death, and FATAH officials have continued to do so to this day, in total agreement with HAMAS, in order to deny any Jewish claims to the holy site. In July, 2009 Avi Diskin, head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), told the Israeli cabinet that “Egyptian cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood « had allocated some $25 million for the purchase of property and to build Hamas charitable institutions that would expand the group’s reach in Jerusalem. » This activity points to the importance of properly understanding the evidence in the Islamic law records relating to the historic role of the Islamic institutions in administering Islamic awaqf in practical and political terms in order to prove that such claims cannot be substantiated according to Islamic law.

I. The Conquest of the Arab Provinces and Ottoman Empire Land Tenure

According to Hamas’ charter, the Islamic claim to eternal sovereignty over “Palestine” resides in the very fact of the Islamic conquest. This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia (law) and the same goes for any land the Moslems have conquered by force, because during the times of (Islamic) conquests, the Moslems consecrated these lands to Moslem generations till the Day of Judgment. It happened like this: When the leaders of the Islamic armies conquered Syria and Iraq, they sent to the Caliph of the Moslems, Umar bin-el-Khatab, asking for his advice concerning the conquered land – whether they should divide it among the soldiers, or leave it for its owners, or what? After consultations and discussions between the Caliph of the Moslems, Omar bin-el-Khatab and companions of the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, it was decided that the land should be left with its owners who could benefit by its fruit. As for the real ownership of the land and the land itself, it should be consecrated for Moslem generations till Judgment Day. Those who are on the land, are there only to benefit from its fruit. This Waqf remains as long as earth and heaven remain. Any procedure in contradiction to Islamic Sharia, where Palestine is concerned, is null and void. This understanding, however, is incorrect and cannot be justified according to Islamic law as it was practiced “in Palestine” under the Ottomans, and before them the Mamluks and the Ayyubids, stretching back to the conquests of Salah al-Din in 1187 and even to the peaceful submission to the third Caliph, Umar, of Jerusalem in 636 by the Patriarch Sophronious. One of the hallmarks of Salafi teaching, which is at the heart of the Muslim Brotherhood, is that since the previous regimes which have ruled the Muslim world were not truly Islamic, the history of their governance and laws cannot be held to have correctly followed the Shariah, and therefore cannot be used to determine proper Islamic policies. This willful amnesia was repudiated by the Ottomans during the Wahhabist rebellions in Arabia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but since the end of the First World War there has been no Muslim authority powerful enough to challenge the Salafists today, as we have learned since 9/11.

The Ottomans followed a well-articulated Sunni system of imperial land tenure based on the Levitical concept that asserts that God is the owner of the land, and the state and its subjects are but its possessors, who are to use of it justly for the benefit of its subjects. As such, the sovereign had the right to dispose of the land—to utilize it for its peoples’ benefit—as he saw fit within the administrative laws of the empire. The right of usufruct, as the scholars name it, is earned by properly using the property—keeping it productive—and ensuring that the state can tax its produce so that it will be able to sustain the safety and prosperity of its subjects. The root of Ottoman identification of Jerusalem with Mecca and Medina lay both in their status as the three holy cities of Islam and in their juridical status following the original Muslim conquest of Syria. At an assembly in the Syrian military camp at Jabiya in 637, the Caliph ‘Umar declared the lands which surrendered unconditionally to his armies as fay, (lands that would pay tribute to the central government, and which were to be held as a perpetual trust for all Muslims). Thus, Syria and Iraq were regarded as lands subject to the kharaj  (land tax assessed upon non-Muslim landholders). According to the Jabiya agreement, revenue from the conquered territories was to be collected and given to the central government, and those who had participated in the campaigns of expansion would be enrolled in the diwan  (imperial) registers. Those so enrolled would be entitled to fixed stipends and land grants. The lands were thus not divided and parceled out among the military, but instead were controlled directly by the central government. Muslims would not settle these lands and pay the ushr (land tax assessed on Muslim proprietors, i.e., the tithe): rather, the original inhabitants would remain on their property, but would pay the kharaj. Under Islamic law, fay lands were thus held by the state, but its use was left in the possession of their inhabitants, who paid tribute from the revenues of the land to the central treasury of the state. Over the course of time the population increasingly became Muslim. The distinction between Hijazi and Syrian Muslims blurred, and the Muslims of Syria began, in effect, to pay the kharaj  along with the non-Muslims because they lived on conquered lands worked by non-Muslims. When the Mamluk territories, encompassing the later Ottoman provinces of Sidon, Damascus, Aleppo, Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Tripoli (Libyan), Bengazi, the Hijaz, and Yemen, were conquered by the Ottomans, they were exempted from paying the normal miri  (imperial land) taxes because of their status as kharaj  land, unlike the Hijaz and Basra, which were categorizied as provinces paying the ushr  tax.

The Ottomans, after their conquest of the Arab provinces and the creation of the Eyalet (Province) of Damascus during the years 1517-1520, recognized existing practices regarding the taxation of arable land in the Province of Damascus. In keeping with the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, upon their conquest of the Arab provinces, the Ottomans declared these conquered territories as belonging to the bayt mal al-muslimin  (the common treasury of the state), to be used for the benefit of all Muslims, and by extension, the dhimmis, or protected minorities living among them. As such, under the Ottomans, the conquered lands of Syria continued to be considered kharaj  lands whose usufruct could be granted or leased out in the name of the bayt al-mal  by the Sultan as imam (leader), of the Muslim community. The Ottomans organized the systems administering awqaf, timars  (military land grants), and iltizams/malikanes (tax farms) on the varying types of land that they conquered. The Ottomans also had a well-articulated system for administering trade, and all other forms of production and property, based upon the sixteenth century Siyasetname  (Administrative Law Code) of Sulayman the Magnificent. Devised by the brilliant Ebu Su’ud Effendi, the Shaykh al-Islam  (Chief Jurisconsult of the Empire) based upon the Shari’ah and the Qanun (administrative law), this code stipulated that land could be disposed of (in the legal sense of disposition or use) in three ways: it could be assigned as a grant in return for military service, it could be leased directly to cultivators, or it could be held in perpetual trust for the Muslim subjects of the empire as waqf. Many parcels of land throughout the Ottoman Empire’s Arab provinces were divided and subdivided into fractions, some of which were assigned as military estates and some of which were assigned as waqf, while other portions may have been private property or shared pasture land. The land tenure system was designed to prevent the permanent alienation of land from the state, with one single exception: the assignment of land by the Sultan to an individual as milk (private property). This property always would revert ultimately to the state upon the death of the owner and his descendants. During much of the Ottoman period, the city of Jerusalem was administered as a part of the Province of Damascus following the pattern of the classical timar  system—some land in Jerusalem’s hinterlands was granted to military officers in return for their service to the Sultan. Other lands, recognized as property held as waqf  by the Greek Orthodox Church (and a few others as well) under previous Muslim dynasties (the Ayyubids and the Mamluks), were integrated into the Ottoman administration. The city was the capital of the sanjaq  of Jabal al-Quds  (the administrative district of the mountains of Jerusalem). Other sanjaqs  of the southern part of the Provinces of Sidon and Damascus—Jabal Nablus, Gaza, Jaffa, Ramla, Lydda, Acre, Hebron, Sidon, Jenin, Tulkarem, Karak—were all tied to Jerusalem through the legal system, evidenced by documents regarding cases from these towns scattered throughout the Ottoman Islamic court registers. The sanjaq  of Jerusalem and the mountainous lands of the sanjaq of Nablus (Jabal Nablus) were distinguished geographically from what is called in the court registers « the land of Palestine » (ard filastin) encompassing the towns of Gaza, Ramla, and Lydda (Lod).

This distinction tallies with the description of Palestine given by Volney in the late eighteenth century, who described it as a geographical unit including all of the land « between theMediterranean to the West and the chain of mountains to the East, and two lines, one drawnto the South, by Khan Younes, and the other to the North, between Kaisaria [Caesarea] andthe rivulet of Yafa [Jaffa]. » He noted that Palestine was « almost entirely a level plain, without either river or rivulet in summer, but watered by several torrents in winter » and thatit was « a district independent of every pashalic [sanjaq ], » which occasionally had « governorsof its own, who reside at Gaza under the title of Pashas; but it is usually, as at present,divided into three appanages, or melkana, viz. Yafa, Loudd [Lydda/Lod] and Gaza.” Thus, the term ard filastin, « the land of Palestine, » was used during the Ottoman period to refer specifically to a geographical area in agricultural use and divided into taxfarms, whether administered as independent sanjaqs or attached to adjacent sanjaqsHistorically this land was controlled directly by the central government in Istanbul by leasing it to Ottoman officers. In the period before the invasion, ‘Abdullah Pasha, governor of Sidon, obtained the lease. The important point here is that a significant portion of the richagricultural lands identified in the Islamic court records dating from the Ottoman period as“Palestine” were not attached to the imperial awqaf of Jerusalem, and thus were not administered by the notables of the city representing the Ottoman government, but directlyby the Ottoman government in Istanbul. To the south lay Hebron, sometimes nominally apart of the sanjaq of Jerusalem, but in fact a rebellious and nearly autonomous town with apowerful and militant leadership of its own.In Jerusalem, the Ottomans administered Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of theRock together with the Waqf of the Two Noble Sanctuaries of Mecca and Medina (al- Haramayn al-Sharifayn ). This admininstrative feature explains the relative unimportance of Jerusalem in the Ottoman Empire. Since the three cities were organized for purposes ofrevenue as one institution, and since the Ottomans placed a higher degree of importance on Mecca and Medina, Jerusalem was overshadowed in an institutional sense. Nevertheless, its rank as the third holiest city did confer status and important privileges to the ulama (learned authorities) who served as administrators of the imperial awqaf  there. One of the most important posts in the city was the shaykh al-haram, (the superintendent of the Dome of theRock and Al-Aqsa). Moreover, al-Aqsa had its own waqf, as did other mosques, tombs,schools, hospices, etc., which received revenues from many shops, agricultural lands, andother income-producing urban and rural properties throughout Bilad al-Sham which were dedicated and assigned to them. In the sixteenth century, the wife of Sulayman the Magnificent, originally a Christian from somewhere in the Russian Empire, endowed the Khasseki Sultan imaret (foundation, waqf ) with Greek Orthodox church properties in the vicinity of Bethlehem, Lydda andRamla. The Palestinian National Authority still recognizes this fact, and the Christian tenantsand sharecroppers who have resided on these lands still are not the legal landowners. Thefinancial support of the Holy Cities, and the annual hajj pilgrimage, obviously were not solelya Palestinian responsibility. Financial obligations were imposed not only on towns and villages in the administrative districts of Jerusalem, Nablus, and Hebron, but also on othercities throughout the empire, including Damascus, Aleppo and cities in Anatolia and theBalkans. The Waqf of Sayyidna Ibrahim al-Khalil (Abraham, the Beloved Friend of God, as heis known to Muslims) located in Hebron, and known in the West as the Tomb of thePatriarchs, held claim to the revenues of many southern Palestinian villages and agriculturallands and was administered as a part of the other important imperial awqaf. Peasants livingon lands dedicated to the support of these awqaf were among those exempted from paying the miri (imperial land tax, or kharaj )—instead, they paid to support the Hajj and theHaramayn awqaf. For example, taxes (payable in kind) were assessed on land held as awqaf by the Greek Orthodox church in Bethlehem and its neighboring villages throughout thedistrict of Jerusalem. Such lands—and this means most of the arable lands in Bethlehem, for example— are still categorized in this manner to this day. This fact has the Christians livingin these regions are literally caught between a rock and a hard place today—their village lands are still categorized as waqf with double ownership: the Greek Orthodox Church, which is the owner of the use of the property and the property itself, and the KhassekiSultan Waqf, which claims a share of the produce of the land. This complicated situation hasallowed the Israelis to confiscate what they call abandoned state lands in the West Bank, which in the past were administered by the Porte, and by Hamas, which now claims allproperty is waqf, belonging to the Muslim community.

The sharecroppers and tenants who worked these lands never received the “tapu” registration required for private land under the Ottoman Land Law of 1858 because these lands were waqf. Moreover, unworked land lapsed after three years into the category of mawat, (waste lands), which the Israelis also claim to have the right to confiscate, as againstthe HAMAS claim that all land in Palestine belongs to the Muslim community as waqf, no matter its condition. Under Ottoman law, to the contrary, a tenant who brought dead landsinto cultivation could claim it as mulk, or freehold land. And if there was a time of politicalinstability, peasants could leave the region until calm was restored within three years withoutlosing their claim to land that they had improved. None of these laws is still in effect today.Some two-thirds of the actual sum of the jizya (per capital poll tax on non-Muslim dhimmis ) revenues collected in the district of Jerusalem in the first half of the nineteenth century ended up in the hands of the provincial governor of Damascus, who at the time also served as the amir al ! hajj, the commander of the hajj caravan from that city. It followed thatthe Porte would entrust this official with the collection and disbursement of the  jizya. Inother words, under the Ottomans, taxes paid by Jews and Christians in Jerusalem and itsenvirons actually were sent outside of their territories to support the pilgrimage caravan tothe Muslim Holy Cities in the Hijaz and the Haramayn Waqf  Jerusalem, governed within the framework of Ottoman provincial administration,derived its status, then, from Muslim land law, but was not identified with Palestine underOttoman rule. During the period of Sultan Mahmud II’s reforms in the 1820s, theOttomans explicitly identified the Muslim sanctuary in the city of Jerusalem, and itsimportant imperial awqaf, with the exempted Sharifate (the Office of the Descendants of theProphet) of Mecca and Medina (known to the Ottomans and other Muslims as the Haramayn (the Two Sanctuaries). Unlike current Palestinian usage of the term, during the Ottoman period « haramayn  » did not refer to the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, or to thebuildings of the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem and the Tomb of Ibrahim al-Khalil (Cave ofMachpelah) in Hebron, each of which had their own awqaf in addition to becoming attached to the Haramayn waqf during the centralization of religious institutions under a new ministryby the Ottomans in the nineteenth century. The term traditionally had a specific meaning to Muslims, including the Ottomans: itreferred only to the Holy Cities of the Hijaz. Jerusalem was called « thalith al-haramayn, » (the third after the Two Holy Places). When, near the end of his life in 1566, Sulayman theMagnificent dedicated additional revenues and produce from throughout Bilad al-Sham (theSyrian Provinces of the Ottoman Empire) in support of the Khasseki Sultan Waqf (The Endowment of His Beloved Wife), for example, one of the titles he used to describe himself was « khadim al-Haramayn  » “Servant of the Two Holy Cities,” referring to the Holy Cities of  Mecca and Medina.

Indeed, this relationship was manifested in the special fiscal relationship of Jerusalem with the Haramayn that was central to Ottoman administration of the city, particularly during the reform period of Mahmud II, all the way up to the Turkish defeat in the First World War in 1917 and the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate on March 3, 1924. Therefore, what was actually “waqf” were some lands scattered, throughout the empire: some of which belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church, which had to pay the jizya and kharaj taxes on lands it leased to peasants to work. These individuals had to pay taxes, including a land tax as a portion of the produce to support the waqf which funded the Hajj Pilgrimage and the four Muslim sanctuaries of Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, and Hebron. “Palestine” therefore was most definitely NOT a waqf under Islamic or Ottoman law. It was governed completely separately under the military land grant system and its lands were leased as iltizam/malikane (tax-farms).

II. Awqaf Under Ottoman Control

Under Islamic law, a waqf is a legal entity, comprising land or property whose revenues are set aside to benefit the entire Muslim community and its non-Muslim inhabitants who were considered as having joined the ummah by agreeing to accept Islamic rule. It has long been thought that this stipulation meant that such trusts were endowed for charitable purposes, and that it was the charitable purpose of such awqaf which made them valid and sound under Islamic and Ottoman law. However, that is not the case. A valid Islamic waqf, the waqf sahih, came to mean an endowment that is made from lands that pay the ushr or kharaj tax. The meaning of the waqf in the Ottoman context is that such lands can never be permanently alienated from the central treasury of the Islamic state— bayt mal al- muslimin. Property and land so endowed thus became in essence inalienable, removed from legal transfer, as church property is in the West. Since the ownership of such property ultimately belongs to God, only the use of the property, and the produce and revenues that it yields can be allotted to the beneficiaries of the waqf. The logic of this arrangement is based on the Islamic notion of the common good of the people residing in a just state, whose resources are exploited and protected for the benefit of all Muslims. In the mid-1820s, Sultan Mahmud II began to implement reforms in waqf administration throughout the empire. He sought to reassert direct state control over all awqaf in the empire, based upon the formal recognition of the previously uncodified, but inherent distinction between canonically valid and invalid awqaf. This distinction was always inherent in the Ottoman system: Mahmud formalized it in order to reassert control of all miri—state lands in the empire. From this period onward, under Ottoman law, there were two officially recognized forms of awqaf: waqf sahih (the valid waqf) and the waqf ghayr sahih (invalid waqf). Valid awqaf were made from lands paying the kharaj and the ushr, and thus were located in Syria, Iraq, and the Hijaz. Invalid endowments, however, reassigned revenues due to the treasury ostensibly for some religious or charitable purpose or a specific purpose by which awqaf could legitimately be established. There were three types of the « invalid » awqaf accepted by the Ottomans until 1825. The first type allowed the revenues of land to be made waqf, while the substance of the land, and its right of use and possession, were kept by the treasury; the second, the right of use is given as waqf, while the substance and revenues remain with the treasury; and the third type assigned both possession and revenue to the waqf, while the substance remains with the treasury. Under Ottoman administrative law after 1826, all awqaf not falling under the category of sahih were deemed invalid, since they were established upon land that had been alienated at some point from imperial lands. It is often thought that charitable and religious trusts were valid because they were established for ostensibly religious or charitable purposes. However, this is a misplaced assumption that has caused great confusion in the interpretation of the institution of the waqf in the Ottoman period. What is important is not the purpose of the waqf, nor the type of possession, but the nature of the land in the Ottoman system of land tenure. These reforms reiterated that the lands of Syria, including the sanjaq of Jerusalem, Nablus, and Sidon were not waqf.

That this was the clear situation is the Ottoman response to a request made on 28 May 28, 1837 recorded in the registers of the Islamic court in Jerusalem. The governing council (majlis) of Jerusalem asserted in a petition asking the Sultan to bar a group of Ashkenazi Jews from conducting trade in the city because “the lands of this region are miri and waqf.” The Muslim authorities of the city clearly understood that the land in the region was state land, and that some of it had been set aside as waqf. This request the Porte denied. Indeed, in other cases, the Porte ruled that foreigners could purchase waqf property in order to restore it to productivity and usefulness. When the Ottoman Empire disintegrated and the Turks surrendered and withdrew from its Arab provinces, the Muslim community no longer had a Muslim sovereign whose legitimacy they accepted as the ultimate authority to decide political questions. When the Ottoman Caliphate was abolished, the problem of sovereignty thus became the basic political issue facing Muslims: should Islamic control be restored over the former Arab provinces, and if so, how should it be constituted? The Turkish defeat led to the de facto separation of the Palestinian, Syrian and Hijazi elements of the Haramayn Waqf. Thereafter, the term in Palestinian usage came to mean first, Jerusalem and Hebron, referring to the two sanctuaries—Al-Aqsa and Sayyidna Khalil. After 1948, when Hebron went under Hashemite sovereignty, the term “Haramayn” came to refer to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

III. Enter The Muslim Brotherhood 
The Muslim Brotherhood is a modern ideological movement that was founded inEgypt in 1928. Ideologically it was shaped by the anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism inEgypt and the Middle East generally, and by the Arab-Jewish conflict in mandatory Palestine specifically. The Muslim Brotherhood has long been the most important of the Sunniopposition groups in the Arab world. Its aim is to reestablish the Caliphate and to governaccording to the Shariah. While legal in Transjordan and then Jordan, it has been banned inEgypt and Syria, where it threatens to overthrow the current regimes. Violent splintergroups of the Brotherhood have arisen worldwide. Rashid Rida, Hassan al-Banna, andSayyid Qutb are the chief ideologues of the movement. They sought to create a vanguard tooppose the secularization of Islamic society, which they thought was accelerated through theintroduction of imperialism, capitalism, Zionism, socialism, and communism in the periodleading up to the First World War. The Salafi Movement, and therefore the Muslim Brotherhood rejects all Muslimregimes since the death of ‘Ali as illegitimate and un-Islamic, and of all of these, considersthe Ottoman Empire the most illegitimate. The Wahhabi doctrine has been at the heart ofSaudi Arabian identity since its first irruption in 1740 when they rejected the legitimacy ofthe Ottoman Empire. The Arabs remember Turkish rule as a time of oppression andsubjugation. Arab nationalist animosity regarding the historic legacy of the Ottomans burnshot to this day: from this perspective, the Ottoman defeat was at once a judgment on the Turks and a challenge to the Arabs, who struggled between the various ideological options available to them in the period between the world wars and thereafter. The entire twentiethcentury framed the failures of all of their ideological movements to solve the politicaldilemmas posed to the Arabs by the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The Saudis and the Hashemite Jordanians competed for most of the last centuryover which dynasty could legitimately claim to be the rightful guardian of the Islamic HolyCities: Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. The impact of this competition was to furtherfragment the Arab Muslim political consensus over the fate of the lands entrusted by theLeague of Nations to the British in the form of a mandate to govern the region until itsinhabitants were ready for self-governance. When King Hussein ultimately relinquished hisclaims to the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1988, leaving the PLO to administer their Islamicinstitutions, Yasser Arafat actually had to make dual appointments of key Islamic positions.Both Jordanian- and Saudi-approved officials initially served the Palestinian National Authority, since the PLO needed to assuage both powers in order to continue to receivetheir financial—and political support. Only when it became clear that Arafat had thrown inhis lot with the Iranians during the Karina incident in the midst of the Al-Aqsa Intifada didboth Saudi Arabia and Jordan abandon the PA. Since Arafat’s death, both Saudi Arabia and Jordan have been cooperating with the PA in order to attempt to rein in HAMAS and keep Iran out. They have not succeeded.
IV. The Islamicization of the Palestinian Resistance 
The British, who invented a status quo in Palestine by creating de novo an Islamic administration in Palestine by placing in the office of the “mufti” Hajj Amin al-Hussayni, who engineered the policies that generated the dominant, and most radical, Arab response toZionism. His fingerprints are all over the Islamic administration in Jerusalem even today. The fact that the mufti’s religious polemic led to the Nakba, the catastrophic Arab defeat in 1948, was precisely the reason that the Palestinian liberation movement reframed its opposition to Israel in terms of secular Arab nationalism. The Islamicization of the Palestinian resistance to Zionism began with the British creation of the office of “Grand Mufti” in 1918 and the appointment of Hajj Amin as muftiin 1922. Traditionally, a mufti is a religious authority, or jurisconsult, who issues decisionsrelating to Islamic law. Under the British Mandate, for the first time the mufti became thehighest Muslim official in Palestine. He was also named president of the newly createdSupreme Muslim Council, becoming the officially recognized religious and political leader ofthe Palestinian Arabs. The fact that the mufti and his policies were opposed by the majorityof the Palestinian Arabs for many different reasons, including those who took exception to his interpretation of Islam and Zionism, has emerged in Palestinian and Zionist historiography only recently. Hajj Amin, whose influence on Palestinian political culture remains profound to thisday, was deeply influenced by Rashid Rida, the leading Islamist teacher when he was a youngman. As a soldier in the Ottoman army he was stationed in Smyrna where he witnessed the Turkish extermination of the Armenians, an event that left him deeply impressed by Turkishracial nationalism. He traveled to Damascus to support Faisal, who had declared an Arabstate in Syria only to be expelled by France. On Amin’s return to Palestine in 1921 he soonbecame involved in riots against the Balfour Declaration and Jewish immigration. Hebecame a fugitive from British justice for his radical politics, but then was neverthelesspardoned, and placed in control of all former Ottoman awqaf properties and the Islamiccourt bureaucracy in Jerusalem and throughout Palestine by Herbert Samuel, the High Commissioner of the British Mandate. The mufti, however, had had no Islamic religioustraining or certification as a member of the ulama, the Muslim officials trained and authorized to make religious decisions in the Islamic world. At first, the mufti may have been hopeful that the British would treat the Arabs in Palestine fairly. While he was working on building an Arab Islamic university in the Mamilla district in West Jerusalem adjacent to the site of a Muslim cemetery in the late ‘20s, he worked with Jewish architects and construction crews to build the Palace Hotel, which he envisioned as a business whose profits would fund the university. The cemetery actually extended further than was then known, as the builders discovered when they began excavating to lay the foundation of the new hotel. The mufti sought to change the purpose of the waqf, endowed by Salah al-Din after his siege of the city in 1187 in order to build the campus, including the hotel. Thus, despite the fact that he worked closely with Jews while he was leading the Arab Higher Committee’s building program, early on his attitude towards them changed. He also rejected and dissolved the secular-nationalist Moslem-Christian Associations and began emphasizing the idea that the Palestine was waqf   —the possession of the Muslim ummah in perpetuity. In the absence of Muslim sovereignty during the Mandate, he merged the idea of waqf, the kind of property that the Muslim authorities had administered before 1917, with the idea of state land (timar), a factor in 1837 but no longer.

Amin began collaborating with Hassan al-Banna, considered the father of the MuslimBrotherhood, in 1935. The mufti thus articulated the idea that Palestine itself is a “waqf” sometime between 1929, when the Palace Hotel opened, and 1935, when they founded theMuslim Brotherhood in support of the Arab Higher Committee’s opposition to Zionism. Hajj Amin was able to rally a force of about two thousand Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood volunteers who fought in the Negev against the nascent Israeli state, and to field a Palestinian militia under the leadership of Qassam al-Ahmad, who was killed at Qastel and who has become the eponymous inspiration for the armed brigade of Hamas today. Following the Mandate Period, the administration of Muslim institutions in Palestine shifted to the Transjordanian Ministry of Religious Foundations. Transjordan had de facto sovereignty over al-Haram al-Sharif  (aka the Temple Mount) and paid the salaries of the Muslim officials employed in the Islamic court. The Muslim Brotherhood became the channel for Salafi ideas during this time. Outlawed for decades in Egypt and Syria, after1948 clandestine cells operated in Muslim towns and villages in the West Bank and Gaza under Jordanian rule, even when the cells in Egypt and Syria were practically wiped out. However, as a result of the 1948 war, Transjordan took possession of the Temple Mount and the administration of waqf properties and the Islamic courts in the West Bank as protector and guardian of the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem and Haram al-Khalil in Hebron in 1950. Thus the Hashemite dynasty administered the Islamic institutions in Jerusalem until1988, when King Hussein relinquished his sovereign claim to the Palestinian National Authority. In 1964, President Gamal abd al-Nasser, Egypt, created the Palestinian Liberation Organization to fight a guerilla war against Israel. The PLO’s Muslim leadership included 

members of the Muslim Brotherhood, but the majority were secular nationalists, many of whom were nominal Christians. For the next thirty years, the PLO waged battle ostensibly with the support of the majority of all Palestinians, and, although the corruption and authoritarian nature of Arafat’s rule became well-known, they were willing to overlook his flaws in order to present a unified front against Israel, to share in his increasing power and international status, and to hold onto some sense of dignity. Egypt took over the Gaza Stripin 1948 using what Nasser claimed was the “State of Palestine” to infiltrate groups of Palestinian fighters into Israel until his ignominious defeat in 1967. In the 1970s and early 80s, Israel permitted Saudi Arabia to fund an alternative group of Muslim administrators and officials, which eventually led to the establishment of the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, as the Gazan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

 HAMAS emerged as an alternative to the failed policies of the Palestinian LiberationOrganization, FATAH in the late 1980s. For the employees of the court, like manyPalestinian Muslims, many of whom were sympathetic to, if not members of the MuslimBrotherhood, this was an exciting development, an opportunity for those who had remainedunder Israeli occupation to regain some of the power that the “outsiders” –the PLO—hadasserted over them, the “insiders” who had steadfastly endured under the Israeli“occupation.” Discussions surrounding the disposition of Saudi Arabian charity from the PLO via SAMED—the “Steadfastness Fund” which provided social services to the Palestinian poor, widows, and orphans, and the sick—to the nascent HAMAS organization were intense. SAMED: Palestinian Martyrs Works Society – established in 1970 to provide vocational training to the children of Palestinian martyrs; played an important role – in the1970s and 1980s, and especially during the First Intifada – in the economic and social welfare infrastructure of the Palestinian communities. The emergence of HAMAS in the mid-1980s resulted from a Faustian bargain the Israelis made with the Saudis, allowing them to build mosques and provide social servicesthrough funds and personnel as a counterbalance to the PLO. Some people even suspectthat an Israeli agent helped to name the movement—pronounced in Hebrew as “

KHamas,” which means “terror” –to make the message clear. Dividing the Palestinians along ideological lines certainly has been advantageous to those Israelis and Palestinians who oppose negotiating a settlement. The homicide bombings and their inevitable reprisals have made Palestinians and Israelis pay a heavy price for this political decision. The resulting polarization has hastened the re-Islamicization of Palestinian society. It has also prevented the PLO from achieving any tangible political goals and reignited virulent anti-Semitism.Popular Palestinian frustration with the corrupt and ineffective PLO, exiled into seeming oblivion in Tunis in 1982, particularly in the years before the First Intifada of the Stones (1987-2002), enabled HAMAS to emerge in 1986 as the most robust political rival to the PLO.

On July 28, 1988 King Hussein of Jordan relinquished the Hashemite claim to Jerusalem, as well as the right to govern the West Bank or the Palestinians. The Islamic court employees were now to be paid by the PLO, preparing the way for the Palestinian National Authority, led by the PLO, to take over the administration of Islamic institutions in Jerusalem. Weakened by the war in Lebanon, its Tunisian exile, and the fall of the SovietUnion in 1989 the PLO committed itself to the peace process just as HAMAS began to emerge as a political force. Meanwhile, during the Iraq War of 1990, Arafat had thrown his support behind Saddam Hussein, thereby incurring the wrath of Saudi Arabia. After a short period of time, during which there were two parallel groups of Muslim officials in the PNA, one Jordanian-trained and one Saudi-trained, the Palestinians chose the Saudis in order to placate them. These developments solidified the position of HAMAS in Palestinian Islamic institutions, and explain the intricate connections between FATAH/PNA and HAMAS during the al- Aqsa Intifada in the early 2000s. What the Israelis did not expect was the cooptation of the Islamists by the PLO, which lasted until the death of Arafat. The Al-Aqsa Intifada of 2000 was characterized by a vicious cycle of suicide bombings and Israeli reprisals, which, along with the corruption and tyranny of Arafat, destroyed law and order in the territories. With his passing, the time had come for HAMAS to challenge its “brother” resistance movement by leveraging Iranian support via Syria. The resulting complete breakdown of civil society in Palestine was the tragic legacy of the Oslo Peace Process. Eventually, to the horror of Palestinian moderates who supported a two-state agreement with Israel, including many members of the PLO, an overwhelming majority democratically elected HAMAS to power in Gaza January 6, 2006. Under the shadow of an increasingly belligerent Iran, a belated, and failed, Saudi attempt to forge a moderate coalition of the PLO and HAMAS was followed by the brutal expulsion of the PLO from Gaza on June 15, 2007. HAMAS is now completely under the control of Tehran, according to former Palestinian Foreign Minister Ziyad Abu Amr, the Palestinian scholar-diplomat who failed to convince HAMAS to recognize Israel and engage in diplomacy under the aegis of Saudi Arabia.

 The ideology that has driven Israeli policy in Jerusalem and the West Bank for more than four decades, especially the suppression of the emergence of municipal self-government in the Arab villages of East Jerusalem and the neglect of the Arab inhabitants in the Occupied Territories, has undermined moderate Palestinians who sought a negotiated peace. The Second Intifada resulted in the breakdown of Palestinian society, including its legal,political, and social institutions. The violence of the Israeli response has radicalized the Palestinians even more, because the deaths of many innocent victims—family members, friends, and neighbors—who now include everyone in Gaza— are indelibly imprinted inPalestinian minds. The re-Islamicization of the conflict, enabled by the belief that their only alternative is armed struggle is almost universal among both Muslim and Christian Palestinians that I spoke with during my most recent trip to Bethlehem. The first, theIntifada of the Stones, began as a non-violent tax revolt in Bethlehem soon turned violent when Islamists took control of the narrative. The catastrophic Islamist Al-Aqsa Intifada,characterized by the collaboration of the PLO with HAMAS, has just barely been quelled on the West Bank, where the PNA is achieving a semblance of law and order. However, the foreboding calls for “Days of Rage” called for by members of the Palestinian cabinet illustrate how easily the current campaign of non-violence could easily dissolve into another armed uprising. However, there is another dimension to this situation.
Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and the “Nakba” (“Catastrophe”) in which 600,000 Christian and Muslim Arabs lost their homes, the Palestinian national movement was basically secular. It is still politically incorrect to focus on sectarian identities in discussing Palestinian politics, primarily because Palestinian Christians desire to be understood as in fraternal solidarity with Muslim Palestinians against Zionism. The ahistorical claim that Palestine is waqf  however, now represents a very real threat to the historically Christian communities on the West Bank and in Jerusalem. In March 2010, Palestinian activists are resurrecting the 1970s/80s concept of “sumud” (“solidarity”) to frame the third, ostensibly non-violent, “Al-Quds” (“Jerusalem”) Intifada, which has been called in the wake of Israeli settlement projects in East Jerusalem. As Asma Afsarrudin, Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame has rightly asserted, …although the system of dhimma (literally, protection) extended to Jews and Christians was considered sufficiently humane in pre-Modern Muslim societies, today it would rightly be considered as plainly discriminatory and unjust within the modern state system, which defines citizenship not by faith but on the basis of birthplace and residence. This view, however, is under direct attack by HAMAS, which seeks to establish an Islamic state governed by Islamic law. Following the April 2, 2002 takeover of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem by the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade/Tanzim and the punitive Israeli attacks on that town during the duration of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, the position of moderates in the West Bank became extremely tenuous. With the takeover of HAMAS in Gaza, the situation deteriorated completely. And, as Benny Morris argues, the maximalist Muslim position, that all Palestine is waqf, is at its heart the same jihadist position that has characterized Arab opposition to Israel all along.

V. Alternative Interpretations

War between Muslims and Jews is not inevitable. Muslim moderates are challenging the ideologically-driven Islamist apologetic against Israel. The most important one is Imam Abdul-Hadi Palazzi, Secretary-General of the Italian Muslim Association and Director of the Institute of the Italian Islamic Community, who has been calling for a revitalization of traditional Sunni Islam. He has taken aim at the historical amnesia of the Islamist movement.

In his response to the 2001 statement made by the mufti of Jerusalem denying Jewish ties to the Haram al-Sharif, Palazzi wrote that Sabri “is representative of those [Muslims] who repudiate “… the Jewish heritage [of Islam] as a whole, with the clear attempt even to remove it from historical memory.” Muslims are so ignorant of their own history that they are “really inclined to take these words for granted, notwithstanding the fact that they contradict both historical evidence and Islamic sources.” He argues against the Salafi claim that Palestine is an Islamic waqf by revisiting the issues surrounding the Night Journey. To remember the historical milieu compels every sincere observer to admit that there is no necessary connection between al-Miraj and sovereign rights over Jerusalem since, in the time when the Prophet… consecrated the place with his footprints on the Stone, the City was not a part of the Islamic State – whose borders were then limited to the Arabian Peninsula – but under Byzantine administration. Moreover, although radical preachers try to remove this from exegesis, the Glorious Quran expressly recognizes that Jerusalem plays for the Jewish people the same role that Mecca has for Muslims. We read in Surah al-Baqarah: “…They would not follow thy direction of prayer (qiblah), nor art thou to follow their direction of prayer; nor indeed will they follow each other’s direction of prayer….” All Quranic annotators explain that « thy qiblah » is obviously the Kaabah of Mecca, while « their qiblah » refers to the Temple Site in Jerusalem. To quote just one of the most important of them, we read in Qadi Baydawi’s Commentary: “Verily, in their prayers Jews orientate themselves toward the Rock (al-Sakhrah), while Christians orientate themselves eastwards….” Palazzi concludes that the Quran reveals the Jewish connection with Jerusalem. As opposed to what sectarian radicals continuously claim, the Book that is a guide for those who abide by Islam—as we have just now shown—recognizes Jerusalem as Jewish direction of prayer…. After…deep reflection about the implications of this approach, it is not difficult to understand that separation in directions of prayer is a mean[s] to decrease possible rivalries in [the] management of [the] Holy Places. For those who receive from Allah the gift of equilibrium and the attitude to reconciliation, it should not be difficult to conclude that, as no one is willing to deny Muslims…complete sovereignty over Mecca, from an Islamic point of view… there is not any sound theological reason to deny an equal right of Jews over Jerusalem. Other Muslims are challenging the HAMAS/Muslim Brotherhood’s doctrines on Israel to show that the Qur’an recognizes that God has given the Jews Jerusalem as an eternal bequest.

There is an alternative Muslim narrative regarding the Jews and the Muslims of these small settler enclaves is to proclaim Jewish superiority everywhere, while disrupting the tissue of co-existence that depends on leaving Palestinians spaces of their own. Israelis often protest Palestinian complaints that Israel really doesn’t want peace. Wahrman helps us to see why the Palestinians believe this. In every case the government and the municipality – currently run by a right-wing mayor, Nir Barkat, who seems all too eager to stoke any fire that comes his way – put forth arguments that supposedly justify the invasion. Some are legal arguments about ownership, sometimes going back eighty years (as in the case of Sheikh Jarrah) and sometimes based on a recent purchase (as in the case of the Shepherd Hotel). Some are historical arguments, mobilizing traditional Jewish associations of those particular spots – partly true, partly invented or stretched – to buttress a claim from times immemorial. But the goal, the methods, and the consequences are always the same: an intrusive encroachment into Palestinian space, eyesore houses emblazoned with Israeli flags, aggressive settlers that often seek confrontation with the neighboring Palestinians, and a permanent disruptive presence of Israeli military and police that inevitably follow the settlers. That the legal argument is but a veneer is demonstrated by the fact that ever since the incongruous high-rise intrusion into the Palestinian village of Silwan, named by the settlers “Yehonatan House,” was declared by Israeli courts illegal and due for immediate demolition, Jerusalem’s mayor has openly defied this ruling. Wahrman writes, “In terms of sheer damage to co-existence in a complicated city, therefore, twenty units in Sheikh Jarrah sow more immediate hatred than 1600 units in Ramat Shlomo.” And he is right. The propoganda value of such policies is great. Last fall, the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation invited a 16-year old Muslim girl whose entire family had been evicted from their home and was now living in the street to speak at a conference on Arab-Jewish relations. They young girl described in great detail how she and her family lived their lives day-to-day, trying to go to school and work while living on the street. Anecdote upon anecdote builds up the dossier against Israel’s infringements upon the human rights of the Palestinian people.

Wahrman argues against the assertions of Ambassador Harrop and authors Chesin, Hutman and Melamed, writing, To present such aggressive acts as a continuation of the policies of Israeli governments over 43 years is simply untrue. Until recently, Israeli governments carefully avoided such conflicts, and thus allowed Jewish-Arab coexistence in the Holy City to remain surprisingly resilient in the face of many challenges during the first generation after 1967. Efforts to disrupt this pattern began by individuals and small groups, often with private American funding. Their intensification over the last decade and a half has largely flown under the radar, despite being a development with momentous consequences (much greater, say, than those of the settlement ‘outposts’ that have received so much attention). Their protestations of innocence notwithstanding, the support for this game-changing policy from Netanyahu’s government together with the zealous mayor of Jerusalem is unprecedented. Wahrman finds the current Israeli government to blame for the deterioration of Israeli-Palestinian relations in Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s government is deliberately undermining this balance and rapidly changing the urban circumstances, thus rendering a compromise less and less likely. As it turns out, counter to Netanyahu’s claims, these actions are not in the Israeli vaunted “Consensus.” Even at this juncture when the left in Israel is unprecedently [sic] weak, many Israelis (42% according to a recent poll) oppose these new Israeli policies and support a complete freeze of Israeli construction in East Jerusalem. The U.S. should not let manipulative rhetoric about the eternal city and 3000 years of history obfuscate the actual intersection of historical and geographic facts, nor stand in the way of the policy conclusions that must be drawn from them. However, taking the larger view, which includes not only the municipality of Jerusalem, but the issue of settlements and Israeli “heritage sites” in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza, and the entire course of the conflict, it is not only the Jerusalem municipality or Israel’s policies regarding the Palestinians which is to blame for the current impasse. The Palestinians’ continued willingness to support violent action against Israel, and their continued hope for a one state solution, has resulted, contrary to all reason, to support for HAMAS. Emboldened by its defeat of FATAH in Gaza in 2007, and backed by an extraordinarily aggressive Iran, the maximalists again are threatening to lead the Palestinian remnant to their complete destruction. All attempts to convince the Palestinians to abandon jihadist ideology have failed, despite the fact that the Arab world is ready to accommodate Israel in the current Middle Eastern state system.

Recent calls for a bi-national, secular state instead of a two-state solution are distractions from the real issues at hand. Improving the living conditions of the Palestinian people, fostering the development of municipal and national government in Gaza and the West Bank, and fighting against Islamist opportunism are goals that can be achieved under the shadow of the Iranian threat. Only on the micro-level can political progress be made. The conflict has to become localized. Only by rejecting the regionalization of the political issues facing the Palestinian and Israeli conflict can the international threats on the macro-level be challenged. The general squalor of the Muslim and Christian Quarters (including the Armenian Quarter) stands in contrast to the beautifully restored Jewish Quarter. The municipality should work with organizations seeking to preserve these monuments as a show of good faith before the radicals turn the city into a battleground. Perhaps Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, as part of a reconceptualized peace process, could work to restore the neglected Muslim neighborhoods and monuments of Jerusalem in a bid to fend off Hamas and Islamic Jihad as they seek to cash in on Muslim anger over this neglect. Israel and her international allies could urge UNESCO to move on Jordan’s nomination of the Old City of Jerusalem as a World Heritage site, and invite international investment in the restoration of neglected treasures. Building a few playgrounds might prevent the march to making Jerusalem a battlefield once again. In 2009, the Palestinian academic, intellectual, and cultural communities attempted to celebrate Jerusalem’s Arab identity, but Israel frustrated these of these small settler enclaves is to proclaim Jewish superiority everywhere, while disrupting the tissue of co-existence that depends on leaving Palestinians spaces of their own. Israelis often protest Palestinian complaints that Israel really doesn’t want peace. Wahrman helps us to see why the Palestinians believe this. In every case the government and the municipality – currently run by a right-wing mayor, Nir Barkat, who seems all too eager to stoke any fire that comes his way – put forth arguments that supposedly justify the invasion. Some are legal arguments about ownership, sometimes going back eighty years (as in the case of Sheikh Jarrah) and sometimes based on a recent purchase (as in the case of the Shepherd Hotel). Some are historical arguments, mobilizing traditional Jewish associations of those particular spots – partly true, partly invented or stretched – to buttress a claim from times immemorial. But the goal, the methods, and the consequences are always the same: an intrusive encroachment into Palestinian space, eyesore houses emblazoned with Israeli flags, aggressive settlers that often seek confrontation with the neighboring Palestinians, and a permanent disruptive presence of Israeli military and police that inevitably follow the settlers. That the legal argument is but a veneer is demonstrated by the fact that ever since the incongruous high-rise intrusion into the Palestinian village of Silwan, named by the settlers “Yehonatan House,” was declared by Israeli courts illegal and due for immediate demolition, Jerusalem’s mayor has openly defied this ruling. Wahrman writes, “In terms of sheer damage to co-existence in a complicated city, therefore, twenty units in Sheikh Jarrah sow more immediate hatred than 1600 units in Ramat Shlomo.” And he is right. The propoganda value of such policies is great. Last fall, the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation invited a 16-year old Muslim girl whose entire family had been evicted from their home and was now living in the street to speak at a conference on Arab-Jewish relations. They young girl described in great detail how she and her family lived their lives day-to-day, trying to go to school and work while living on the street. Anecdote upon anecdote builds up the dossier against Israel’s infringements upon the human rights of the Palestinian people.

A paradigm shift is needed to thwart the Islamist threat to Israel. Below are concrete steps towards localizing the conflict and to reinvigorate the peace process that could break the cycle of despair now characterizing the region within the parameters of the Beillin-Abu Mazen plan of 1995.

Immediate Steps Within the Realm of Realpolitik and Reason: Localize Conflict Management and Resolution 1. Establish embassies in West and East Jerusalem All states having diplomatic relations with Israel should immediately establish embassies in Israel and Palestine. Arab League states establish embassies in East and West Jerusalem. Use these embassies to kick start economic development and housing in various neighborhoods. 2. Latin Patriarchate, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, and other Christian landowners in Palestine/Israel to cooperate by developing local community development boards. 3) UNESCO overseas restoration and preservation of Islamic monuments and archeological sites. Turkey to cooperate with Israel and Palestine with historical preservation projects. 4) Educational programs for Palestinian and Israeli students focusing on holy sites throughout the land. Educational institutions currently training tour guides to spearhead these efforts, emphasizing change and continuity over time. 5) Truth and Reconciliation commissions to document and memorialize history. Institutions of higher learning to cooperate with education ministries. 6) UNRWA to close refugee camps throughout the Middle East. Repatriate and reimburse Arab and Jewish refugees according to their wishes—return, compensation, or memorials—on a case-by-case basis

Voir aussi:

The Anti-Terror, Pro-Israel Sheikh
FrontPageMagazine.com
Jamie Glazov

September 12, 2005

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Sheikh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Director of the Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community and a vocal critic of militant Islam.

FP: Hello Sheikh Palazzi, welcome to Frontpage Interview. It is an honor to speak with you.

Palazzi: The honor is mine.

FP: One doesn’t find many prominent Muslim clerics today who openly denounce suicide bombings, let alone suicide bombings against Israelis. Yet you are quite vocal about supporting Israel’s right to exist. Tell us why, as a Muslim, you have come to this disposition and why you have received so much criticism from certain elements of the Muslim community for it.

Palazzi: As a scholar of Islamic Law, I believe that Islam permits wars under certain conditions (i.e., it permits some soldiers to fight against other soldiers when ordered to do so by the State), but strictly forbids taking military initiatives by individuals, groups or factions (which is referred as « fitnah », i.e., sedition), strictly forbids targeting civilians and strictly forbids committing suicide. Consequently, as a Muslim scholar, I must necessarily condemn suicide bombing as a matter of principle, irrespective of who the victims are. I am obliged to say that a suicide bomber is by no means a martyr of Islam, but a criminal who dies while committing acts which Islam views as capital crimes.

Regarding Israel, I beg your pardon but may I ask you to please consider refraining from speaking of Israel’s « right to exist. » Affirming Israel’s « right to exist » is as unacceptable as denying that right, because even posing the question of whether or not the Children of Israel (Jews) — individually, collectively or nationally — have a « right to exist » is unacceptable. Israel exists by Divine Right, confirmed in both the Bible and Qur’an.

I find in the Qur’an that God granted the Land of Israel to the Children of Israel and ordered them to settle therein (Qur’an, Sura 5:21) and that before the Last Day He will bring the Children of Israel to retake possession of their Land, gathering them from different countries and nations (Qu’ran, Sura 17:104). Consequently, as a Muslim who abides by the Qur’an, I believe that opposing the existence of the State of Israel means opposing a Divine decree.

Every time Arabs fought against Israel they suffered humiliating defeats. In opposing the will of God by making war on Israel, Arabs were in effect making war on God Himself. They ignored the Qur’an, and God punished them. Now, having learned nothing from defeat after defeat, Arabs want to obtain through terror what they were unable to obtain through war: the destruction of the State of Israel. The result is quite predictable: as they have been defeated in the past, the Arabs will be defeated again.

In 1919, Emir Feisal (leader of the Hashemite family, i.e., the leader of the family of the Prophet Muhammad) reached an Agreement with Chaim Weizmann for the creation of a Jewish State and an Arab Kingdom having the Jordan river as a border between them. Emir Feisal wrote, « We feel that the Arabs and Jews are cousins in race, having suffered similar oppressions at the hands of powers stronger than themselves, and by a happy coincidence have been able to take the first step towards the attainment of their national ideals together. The Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. »

In Feisal’s time, none claimed that accepting the creation of the State of Israel and befriending Zionism was against Islam. Even the Arab leaders who opposed the Feisal-Weizmann Agreement never resorted to an Islamic argument to condemn it. Unfortunately that Agreement was never implemented, since the British opposed the creation of the Arab Kingdom and chose to give sovereignty over Arabia to Ibn Sa’ud’s marauders, i.e., to the forefathers of the House of Sa’ud.

When the Saudis started ruling an oil rich kingdom, they also started investing a regular part of their wealth in spreading Wahhabism worldwide. Wahhabism is a totalitarian cult which stands for terror, massacre of civilians and for permanent war against Jews, Christians and non-Wahhabi Muslims. The influence of Wahhabism in the contemporary Arab world is such that many Arab Muslims are wrongly convinced that, in order to be a good Muslim, one must hate Israel and hope for its destruction.

Incidentally, in countries where Wahhabism did not spread, this idea is not rooted. Most Muslims in Turkey, India, Indonesia, or the former Soviet Union do not believe at all that a good Muslim must necessarily be anti-Israel. To give some relevant examples, the leading Muslim scholar and former President of Indonesia, Shaykh Abdurrahman Wahid, is on friendly terms with Israel and also visited leaders of Jewish organizations in the United States. The Mufti of Sierra Leone, Sheikh Ahmed Sillah, is also a friend of Israel, as is the Mufti of European Russia, Sheikh Salman Farid.

An organization called « Muslims for Israel » was recently founded in Canada. Voicing pro-Israeli points of view obviously causes negative reactions from Wahhabi groups and Muslims influenced by Wahhabism. However, while those people verbally attack and circulate the most astonishing fabrications about me, I also receive encouragement and support from pro-Israel Muslims living in different parts of the world.

While visiting Israel, I was welcomed by a delegation of heads of Arab villages in the Jerusalem area. They were telling me how much they like living in Israel, and how much they fear being transferred to PLO rule. Many of the Arab inhabitants of Gush Katif today share the same feeling. They say, « Israelis give us jobs and an opportunity to live in peace. What kind of future awaits us under PLO? » I am sure that, were they free to speak and able to see the reality beyond propaganda, many more Arab Muslims would support my positions.

Irshad Manji, a pro-Israeli Muslim journalist from Canada, tells that some Muslims support her openly, yet many more Muslims tell her, « We are with you, but are afraid to tell it. » The same happens to me in Italy, or when I visit Israel. As one knows, being anti-Israeli has become « politically correct » among Arabs. People are afraid to oppose what is « politically correct » even when they live in a democracy. What can one expect from those who live under totalitarian regimes and who have no access to a free press, but to governmental propaganda only? The world should give pro-Israeli Muslims a chance. We owe this to the memory of Anwar Sadat, martyred by those same Wahhabi terrorists who today spread terror everywhere.

In 1996, the Islam-Israel Fellowship of the Root & Branch Association was co-founded by myself and Dr. Asher Eder to promote cooperation between the State of Israel and Muslim nations, and between Jews and Muslims in Israel and abroad, to build a better world based upon a proper Jewish understanding of the Tanakh (Bible) and Jewish Tradition, and upon a proper Muslim understanding of the Qur’an (Koran) and Islamic Tradition. I recommend to FrontPage readers « Peace is Possible between Ishmael and Israel according to the Qur’an and the Tanach (Bible) » by Dr. Eder, with a Foreward by myself, which may be found at [www.rb.org.il ]. I also welcome your readers to visit my website at [ http://www.amislam.com ].

FP: Thank you Sheikh Palazzi. Tell us, if you believe in the life of the soul after death, where does the soul of the suicide bomber go?

Palazzi: Everyone who dies while committing capital sins such as suicide and murder will enter hellfire, except for the one who repents before death catches him. As for the one who dies without repenting for a capital sin — while having a correct doctrinal belief and believing that his sin was a sin — he will dwell in hellfire until his sin is expiated, or even less because of the eventual intercession of Prophets and pious people. However, those who die without repenting for a capital sin and without even believing it is a capital sin, will be denied entrance to heaven, and will dwell in hellfire as long as God wishes. However, God’s mercy is such that it completely prevails over his wrath, to the point where hellfire ultimately becomes an abode of relief.

In Islam, both murder and suicide are capital sins about whose nature no Muslim can either doubt or claim ignorance. Every Muslim must know that committing suicide and murder are forbidden in Islam, exactly as every Muslim knows that daily prayers are five, that the month of fasting is Ramadan, that the destination of pilgrimage is Mecca, etc.

Consequently, the one who dies as a suicide bomber and who does so while wrongly believing that his action is in accordance with Islam, actually dies without having correct doctrinal faith and without any opportunity of repentance, and consequently will permanently dwell in hellfire and will never be admitted to heaven. Denying that suicide and murder are capital sins in Islam represents a lack of correct doctrinal faith according to the Shari’a.

FP: Kindly relate to us your experience at the University of California in Santa Barbara on March 4, 2004, when you came on campus and denounced terrorism. Many Muslim students from the Muslim Students Association at UCSB tried to shout you down. What happened and what do you make of it?

Palazzi: In reality, those who opposed my visit at UCSB were a small group of students, mostly related to the local Muslim Student Association (MSA; i.e., to the student branch of the Wahhabi Muslim Brotherhood). I invited them to be involved in the debate, to explain the reasons why they opposed my visit and/or the contents of my speech.

However, they were not in the least interested in real debate and discussion. They only shouted some slogans and left the hall. Other Muslim students, not related to the MSA, on the contrary appreciated my visit, and together with non-Muslim students went on asking me questions privately even after the public debate was over. Apart from that small group of vociferous opponents, both Muslim and non-Muslim students at UCSB were friendly and interested in thoughtful discussion of issues.

FP: Can you illuminate for us the humane and tolerant side of Islam?

Palazzi: In contrast to Wahhabism, which is a religion of terror, coercion and violence, Sunni Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. A Muslim is called to be a loyal citizen of the country in which he lives, on the condition that the State does not deny his basic religious freedom and does not compel him to accept another religion by force. If the government is in other respects tyrannical, corrupt, oppressive, etc., a Muslim may seek redress through established legal channels, without resort to sedition or violence. If he thinks government oppression is unbearable, he must migrate elsewhere. This is the case regardless of whether or not Muslims are a majority or a minority, or the ruler is a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

Sunni Islam recognized different forms of efforts to support Islam (jihad), and acknowledges a military form of jihad. In the Sunni understanding, military jihad can only be undertaken by an Islamic State. Muslims may not initiate armed conflicts on their own initiative, but only after the head of an Islamic State has formally declared war against another state which oppresses Muslims or denies their religion freedom. Islamic sources foresaw that the Islamic State (Caliphate) would cease to exist, and that Muslims and non-Muslims alike would be ruled for a period of history by secular states alone.

According to Sunni belief, the Caliphate will be restored in messianic times, by Imam al-Mahdi, and not by politicians or military leaders. As long as Imam al-Mahdi is not present, no restoration of the Caliphate is possible, and without a Caliphate military jihad is impossible. The only legitimate jihad in our time is not-military jihad, i.e., competing with non-Muslims in good deeds, such as creating a better world and establishing enduring peace.

Wahhabis simply take words used in Islamic Law and apply them against Islamic Law itself. In Islamic Law, terrorism is a sin, and suicide another sin. Wahhabis call « jihad » acts of suicide terrorism and « martyrs » those who die while committing them. With regard to murder and suicide, the conflicting positions of Sunni Islam and Wahhabism are fundamental and irreconcilable.

FP: Tell us a bit about your upbringing and your own intellectual and spiritual journey? Who were some mentors/figures who influenced you? Has your philosophy and outlook always been the same or has it changed over the years? Tell us about a matter about which you have changed your mind or have had second thoughts over the years.

Palazzi: I was born in Rome into a non-observant Muslim family, having no special interest in religion. At that time, there existed in Italy no Muslim organization and no religious facilities. Apart from some Arabic words and some knowledge of major Islamic holidays, I received no formal religious education. Even so, since my youth I was interested in spirituality and metaphysics, and this led me to study philosophy at the State University of Rome.

During that period, I felt a need to rediscover my Islamic roots. After completing my secular education I moved to Cairo, wherein I studied at al-Azhar Islamic University. In Cairo, I had the opportunity to study under the best teachers. At that time, al-Azhar was not, as it is today, a nest of Wahhabi and neo-Salafi fanatics and extremists, but was still a center of traditional Islamic learning.

While living in Cairo, I also had the opportunity to study Sufism, the mystical tradition of Islam, under my main teachers, Sheikh Ismail al-Azhari and Sheikh Hussein al-Khalwati. I also benefited from the opportunity to study under the then Mufti of Egypt, the late Sheikh Muhammad al-Mutawali as-Sha’rawi, the one who convinced Sadat to make peace with Israel and who went with him to Jerusalem to pray in the al-Aqsa mosque.

When I came back to Rome, I met other Muslims sharing my attitude, and together we established the organization which today is called the Italian Muslim Assembly. While a teenager, I studied different ideologies and philosophies, and was to a certain extent influenced by them. However, after my stay in Cairo, I considered my basic period of intellectual and spiritual formation completed. My spiritual philosophy has remained more or less the same until today.

FP: What did you think about Pope John Paul II? What do you think of the new Pope?

Palazzi: I think the late Pope John Paul II was a contradictory personality. He made some decisions which were extremely progressive (interfaith meetings, visits to mosques and synagogues, etc.), but his individual theology was nevertheless extremely conservative and from a certain point of view naive. He publicly asked forgiveness for crimes committed by the Church against Jews, but afterwards canonized some very controversial personalities, such as his predecessor Pius IX (one of the most implacable enemies of democracy in the history of humanity), and even pro-Nazi Croatian Cardinal Stepinac.

John Paul II took no steps to censor priests and bishops who scandalously cooperated with mass-murderers such as Saddam Hussein or Yasser Arafat, and refused to take a clear position about bishops involved in covering up the scandal of pedophile priests. He approved the war in Kosovo to free the oppressed population from Milosevic, but had no courage to support the war for the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein. The refusal of John Paul II to « bless » the international Coalition fighting for the liberation of Iraq is something I as a Muslim can hardly forgive, as I cannot forget Catholic organizations marching together with Communists and neo-Nazis « against Bush’s war » and objectively in support of Saddam’s regime.

On themes such as birth control and embryology John Paul II’s mentality was totally obscurantist and medieval. He compared abortion to massacres committed by Nazis and Communists. He promoted dialogue between the Church and non-Catholic religions, but permitted Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) to silence theological debate and dissent within the Catholic Church itself.

From a political point of view, John Paul II supported a direct and constant interference of the Church in the affairs of European States, especially Italy. Many Italians, even practicing Catholic Italians, were disappointed by the idea of a foreign (in this case Polish) pope who interfered with the dialectic of majority rule and minority opposition in our country, and considered it a gross infringement of our national sovereignty.

To conclude, I must say that the pontificate of John Paul II was characterized by light and darkness. Positive elements were counter-balanced by many negative ones.

As for Benedict XVI, taking into consideration the documents he signed when he was President of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the « Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition »), he seems to be even more conservative than was John Paul II, and even less inclined to tolerate theological pluralism inside the Catholic Church. In one these documents, the « Dominus Jesus » Declaration, the then Cardinal Ratzinger explained that « interfaith dialogue must be understood as a part of the missionary activity of the Catholic Church. » The same document openly says that non-Catholic religions are « seriously defective » from a theological and ethical point of view.

All this is not encouraging at all. We have a Pope, Benedict XVI, who simply rejects the notion of pluralism. He does not see the Catholic Church as an element of society which must co-exist with other elements on a basis of equality and dignity, but sees the Catholic Church as the master which must educate society.

According to the approach of Benedict XVI, religions do not represent different spiritual perspectives, each of which can make its unique contribution to help us partially understand the mystery of God. Benedict thinks the truth about God is already known, and the Pope (i.e., himself) is the only authorized interpreter of that truth. Catholics and non-Catholics alike must simply be educated by the one (i.e., himself) who represents that truth on earth.

Dialogue is not seen as an end in itself, but only as a tool to bring non-Catholic religions more in line with Catholicism. With regard to the attitudes of past Popes such as John XXIII and Paul VI, Benedict XVI seriously risks nullifying the results of the Second Vatican Council and returning Catholic theology to what it was at the time of the Counter Reformation.

Ratzinger, therefore, is a Pope who preaches a totalitarian understanding of religion, and incidentally is also the first Pope to have participated in a Nazi German youth movement. Perhaps this past will not affect relations with Jews, but Benedict recently chose not to mention Israel by name in a public statement of solidarity with nations that recently suffered terrorist attacks. When the Israeli government protested this omission, the reaction of the Press Office of the Holy See was arrogant, condescending, and dismissive, adding insult (a sin of commission) to the original injury (a sin of omission), especially when one considers that the omission was committed by a Bavarian Pope who was both a member of a Nazi German youth movement and a soldier in the Nazi German Wehrmacht.

FP: You are, of course, right about some of these things. I guess I will just say that Pope John Paul II was an incredible human being who provided crucial and meaningful spiritual leadership during a tumultuous time. His job was not to run a popularity contest. I think in some ways he was a very holy man and brought much light to a dark world. He was firm in several areas where it was necessary to be firm. And, of course, he played a tremendous role in the crumbling of an evil empire.

The hype that the media went on about Benedict XVI being in the Nazi German youth movement is also a vicious and dirty cheap shot. Pope XVI was never a Nazi and everyone knows it. All German boys at that time were forced to become members of the Hitler Youth – and so was he. This Pope has made it clear years ago how his faith showed him the evil of Nazism and anti-Semitism.

Palazzi: Although « all German boys at that time were forced to become members of the hitler youth, » the young Joseph Ratzinger nevertheless volunteered for a combat unit of the Hitler Youth. This circumstance is confirmed by the Vatican press office. Of course, we are dealing with a teenager living in a period when Nazi indoctrination was systematic, but at least during that period Joseph Ratzinger was a convinced Nazi who chose to join a military unit fighting against the Allies. I do not doubt that his faith showed him the evil of Nazism and anti-Semitism, but this happened after World War Two was over, not before.

FP: Well, Sheikh Palazzi, the evidence suggests that the Pope volunteering for a combat unit is simply untrue and that is why the Pope evaded people who were trying to force him to « volunteer » for a combat unit by declaring his intent to become a priest. There is no trace to the assertion that the Vatican Press Office confirmed the opposite. Ratzinger received a dispensation from the Hitler Youth because of his religious studies and he deserted the German army. He never attended any Hitler Youth meetings and his seminary professor secured the paper « proving » his attendance on his behalf.

And it is this upon this falsehood that you frame your further assertion that Ratzinger was at that time a « convinced Nazi » — which is, with all due respect, simply a historical falsehood and a personal slander. His own word, and those of all who knew him and his family, says otherwise: that he and his whole family were anti-Nazis. There is no trace of Nazism in anything Ratzinger has ever done since the war, and it seems that many people are just trying to smear him and his theological conservatism – quite an unworthy thing to do.

In any case, let’s get back to the terror war. What is the best way for the West to fight it? What do you think of the American liberation of Iraq?

Palazzi: To win a war, one must identify who the enemy is and neutralize the enemy’s chain of command. World War Two was won when the German army was destroyed, Berlin was captured and Hitler removed from power. To win the War on Terror, it is necessary to understand that al-Qa’ida is a Saudi organization, created by the House of Sa’ud, funded with petro-dollar profits by the House of Sa’ud and used by the House of Sa’ud for acts of mass terror primarily against the West, and the rest of the world, as well.

Consequently, to really win the War on Terror it is necessary for the U.S. to invade Saudi Arabia, capture King Abdallah and the other 1,500 princes who constitute the House of Sa’ud, to freeze their assets, to remove them from power, and to send them to Guantanamo for life imprisonment.

Then it is necessary to replace the Saudi-Wahhabi terror-funding regime with a moderate, non-Wahhabi and pro-West regime, such as a Hashemite Sunni Muslim constitutional monarchy.

Unless all this is done, the War on Terror will never be won. It is possible to destroy al-Qa’ida, to capture or execute Bin Laden, al-Zarqawi, al-Zawahiri, etc., but this will not end the War. After some years, Saudi princes will again start funding many similar terror organizations. The Saudi regime can only survive by increasing its support for terror.

Saddam’s regime was one of the worst criminal dictatorships which existed in this world, and destroying it was surely a praiseworthy task for which, as a Muslim, I am thankful to President Bush, to the governments who joined the Coalition and to soldiers who fought in the field. Destroying the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq were surely praiseworthy tasks, but I regret that focusing on these secondary enemies was — for the White House — a way to obscure the role of the world’s main enemy: the Saudis.

FP: What do you think of President Bush?

Palazzi: I am extremely disappointed with him. I hoped that — after Saudi terrorists attacked the U.S. on 9/11 — this would necessarily cause a radical revision in U.S.-Saudi relations. The first action a U.S. President had to do after such a criminal attack as 9/11 was to immediately outlaw Saudi-controlled institutions inside the U.S. and acknowledge that viewing Saudis as « friends » was a mortal sin representing sixty years of failed U.S. foreign and economic policy.

U.S. governmental agencies have plenty of evidence about the role of the House of Sa’ud in funding the worldwide terror network. U.S. citizens can even read in newspapers that some days before the 9/11 attack Muhammad Atta received a check from the wife of the former Saudi Ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar, but unbelievably this caused no consequences. Let us consider plain facts: the wife of a foreign ambassador pays terrorists for attacks which murder thousands of U.S. citizens, and the U.S. government not only does not declare war on that foreign country, in this case Saudi Arabia, but does not even terminate diplomatic relations with that country.

On the contrary, then-Crown Prince Abdallah, the creator (together with the new Saudi ambassador to the United States, former Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Father of 9/11, Prince Turki al-Feisal) of al-Qa’ida, is immediately invited to Bush’s ranch as a honored guest, and Bush tells him, « You are our ally in the War on Terror »! Can one image FDR inviting Hitler to the United States and telling him, « You are our ally in the war against Fascism in Europe »?

Something very similar happened after 9/11. As a matter of fact, the Saudis supported Bush’s electoral campaign for his first term in office, and asked him in exchange to be the first U.S. President to promote the creation of a Palestinian State. Once he was elected, Bush refused to abide by the agreement, and the consequence was 9/11.

« We paid for your election, and now you must do want we want from you », this was the message behind the 9/11 attack. Bush immediately started doing what the Saudis wanted from him: compelling Israel to withdraw from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, in order to permit the creation of a PLO state. Western media speak of a « Road Map, » while Arab media call it by its real name: « Abdallah’s Plan. »

One hears about a U.S. President who allegedly leads a « War on Terror » and promotes the spread of « democracy » and « freedom » in the Islamic world, but the reality shows a U.S. president who — after a Saudi terror attack against the U.S. — abides by a Saudi diktat, hides the role of the Saudi regime behind al-Qa’ida and wants Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East, cut to pieces to facilitate the creation of another dictatorial regime, lead by Arafat deputy Abu Mazen, the terrorist who organized the mass murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Theoretically, Bush proclaims his intention to punish terror and to spread democracy, but the Road Map is the exact opposite of all this: it means punishing the victims of terror and rewarding terrorists, compelling democracy to withdraw in order to create a new dictatorial Arab regime. For the U.S. there is only one single trustworthy ally in the entire Middle East: Israel.

Now Bush is punishing America’s ally Israel to reward those who heartily supported « our brother Saddam », those who demonstrate by burning Stars and Strips flags and those who call America « the imperialist power controlled by Zionism ». In doing so, Bush seriously risks becoming the most anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish President in the history of the U.S.

Let us look at the impending victims of Bush’s foreign policy, at the inhabitants of Gush Katif. What is their crime? What did they do to merit deportation from their homes and the theft of their farms and businesses? They live in peace, work hard and provide jobs for thousands of Gaza Arabs. To please the Saudis, Bush wants a Judenrein Gaza, with the Jews of Gush Katif deported from their homes, their houses destroyed and even the remains of their relatives exhumed and buried elsewhere.

Were one to proclaim « Jews, for the only reason of their being Jews, must be deported from New York and forcibly resettled in New Jersey », the whole world would shout and say this is racist deportation, ethnic cleansing, violation of basic human rights, etc. Now, by supporting the infamous anti-Israeli Saudi Plan, Bush is applying the same identical principle: he accepts the idea that Jews, for the only fault of being Jews, must be deported from their homes in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and resettled elsewhere.

Throughout history, Jews were frequently deported from country to country by Romans, Popes, Czars, Nazis, etc. Now, thanks to Bush’s policy, Jews will also be deported from Israel, and deported not by anti-Semitic regimes, but by Jews and others wearing Israeli uniforms. It is the norm for Arab dictators to conceive a political project based on ethnic cleansing and deportation of Jews, but it is simply unbelievable that a U.S. President approves such a project and compels Israel to accept it.

I am shocked to realize that a U.S. President supports ethnic cleansing of Jews from parts of the Land of Israel, and that most American Jewish organizational leaders either keep silent or even approve of this deportation plan. With the few praiseworthy exceptions of the Zionist Organization of America (Morton Klein), Americans for a Safe Israel (Herb Zweibon and Helen Freedman), National Council of Young Israel (Pesach Lerner) and a few other groups, most Jewish organizations in the U.S. collaborate with Bush’s plans against their own brothers and sisters in Israel.

The implications of the Road Map are staggering: A Jew is not like other human beings, he can be deported from place to place, according to the cynical oil drenched dictates of political opportunism. Deporting Jews and cutting Israel into pieces was the original goal of Arab dictators supported by the Soviet Union.

The U.S. has consistently opposed this racist policy and supported Israel against terrorists who wanted to destroy it. Now Bush is granting those same terrorists a victory: what was not accomplished by terror will be accomplished by the Israeli Defence Forces with the support of the United States. Saudis are able to compel a U.S. President to betray U.S. allies and to force the creation of an entity (« Palestine ») controlled by terrorists.

President Bush claims to be a Born Again Christian and also claims to read the Bible every day. The Bible says that God gave the Land of Israel as a heritage to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and gave the rest of the world as a heritage to other peoples. As confirmed by the Qur’an and Islamic tradition, Abraham himself bequeathed to his descendants from Isaac the Land of Israel, and bequeathed to his descendants from Ishmael other lands, such as the Arabian peninsula.

Now descendants of Ishmael, the Arabs, have a gigantic territory extending from Morocco to Iraq. The descendants of Isaac, the Jews, on the contrary, only have a tiny, narrow strip of land. However, Arab dictators are not satisfied with their huge territory. They want more. They also want the little heritage of the Children of Israel, and resort to terror in order to get it.

U.S. Presidents have always opposed this attempt to steal from the Jewish People what God granted them. Now we have a U.S. President who claims to honor the Bible, and yet wants to give Arab dictators what belongs to the Jewish People. By doing so, Bush is not only rewarding terror, encouraging further terror and showing the world that terror works, but he is also opposing God’s will. I pray that the citizens of the U.S. will be spared the full consequences of this anti-Israel, anti-Jewish and anti-God foreign policy.

FP: There is indeed a tragedy inherent in the Israelis not being defended the way they should be. And the disengagement from Gaza truly comes with many dangerous risks. But there are several very shrewd strategic reasons involved in this move and they are in Israel’s interests. We shouldn’t forget that. Bush and Sharon are making wise and calculated steps in their own context. It is more complicated than simply seeing this as a great malicious betrayal. But we’ll have to debate this another time.

Let us turn to your personal interests for a moment. What are some of your favorite books?

Palazzi: Books I prefer reading are those dealing with spirituality. I am especially interested in the study of similarities between Sufism and Kabbalah, and consequently I consider « al-Futuhat al-Makkiyyah » by Ibn ‘Arabi and the « Zohar » as my basic sources. I am also interested in the study of non-monotheistic mysticism, and consequently appreciate the Upanishad, the Vedantasutra and the Purana of the Hindu tradition, the Buddhist Canon and the Greek Philokalia. I am also interested in the history of Middle East. Books such as « Battle Ground » by Shmuel Katz and « The Secret War Against the Jews » by John Loftus are among my favorites.

FP: Do you listen to music? If so, tell us what music you like.

Palazzi: Because of my academic interests in ethnomusicology and ritual dance, I frequently listen to Medieval music, be it Arabic-Andalusi, Maghrebi, Persian, European or Byzantine. Then I am also fond of symphonic music, and my favorite composers are Bruckner, Mahler and Stravinsky. I also like jazz, especially from New Orleans.

FP: Why do you think Islamic extremists demonize music? For instance, the Taliban illegalized all music, Khomeini illegalized many forms of “Western music” etc. What is it about music that they see so threatening? Isn’t music a divine gift? Also, do you think dancing is anti-Islamic?

Palazzi: Khomeini was not so extreme about music as are the Taliban (who follow an Indian version of Saudi Wahhabism known as Deobandism) or the Saudis. Khomeini never demonized music in principle. He rather imposed his personal preferences regarding which music was acceptable and which was not. Khomeini deemed traditional Islamic music and Western classical music to be acceptable, and modern Western popular music to be unacceptable. The Taliban, on the contrary, even banned Sufi music and traditional Islamic chants, and the Saudis go on doing the same until today.

Some Muslim scholars of the past restricted the range of acceptable music to a minimum, but Imam al-Ghazali, a leading authority in the Shafi’i school of jurisprudence to which I belong, preferred to emphasize the positive value of music. A chapter of al-Ghazali’s book in Persian, « The Alchemy of Happiness », is entitled « Concerning Music and Dancing as Aids to the Religious Life ».

al-Ghazali writes: « The heart of man has been so constituted by the Almighty that, like a flint, it contains a hidden fire which is evoked by music and harmony, and renders man beside himself with ecstasy. These harmonies are echoes of that higher world of beauty which we call the world of spirits; they remind man of his relationship to that world, and produce in him an emotion so deep and strange that he himself is powerless to explain it. The effect of music and dancing is deeper in proportion as the natures on which they act are simple and prone to motion; they fan into a flame whatever love is already dormant in the heart, whether it be earthly and sensual, or divine and spiritual ».

While other scholars tried to classify musical instruments and musical styles as permissible or forbidden on the basis of their personal preferences, Imam al-Ghazali on the contrary classified music according to the effects it produces on the soul: music which promotes illicit and immoral desires must be avoided, while music which echoes spiritual harmony and awakens contemplation should be encouraged. The latter kind of music is surely a divine gift. Till today Sufi musicians play traditional songs and mystical melodies in order to increase love for God and to cause listeners to join in ecstatic dancing.

FP: So do you ever dance to your favorite music?

Palazzi: I not only regularly dance according to the teachings of the Mevlevi school as they were received by the Naqshbandi and Qadiri Sufi Orders, but I also teach my students, with the authorization of my Sheikhs, what in the West is known as the ritual dance of the Whirling Dervishes. In Arabic, this same dance is called Sama’, meaning « listening ». The ritualized techniques of Sufi dance are necessary since an ordinary person lacks spontaneity. For those who reach a certain spiritual level, technique itself is not necessary anymore: listening to traditional Mevlevi music, especially to the sound of flute and drum, is enough to lead to spontaneous dance out of love for God.

During the last years, I have led seminars and arranged performances of the ritual dance of the Whirling Dervishes in cultural centers, universities and dancing schools. Students at dancing schools have some technical advantages over participants who never attended such schools, but in many cases the dance students were less spontaneous and more concerned with external appearances. These dance students were educated to perform for the public in performances which must please audiences. In Dergas, Sufi dancing halls, students dance exclusively for the Beloved One, and to be united with Him. That is the basic difference.

FP: Do you think that veiling of women in Islam should me mandatory or voluntary?

Palazzi: Wearing or not wearing a veil should be the choice of a Muslim woman alone. No one has the right to compel her to wear or not wear a veil. As with prayer, fasting and all the other religious practices, veiling has meaning when it is spontaneous and reflects one’s will to please God by choosing to observe a religious precept. Forcing people to observe religious precepts does not result in an increase in faith, but rather an increase in hypocrisy. One does not pray, fast or wear a veil as an expression of freely chosen faith to submit to what one believes to be commanded by God, but only due to human coercion.

Consequently, I strongly condemn those regimes, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, which force women who do not want to wear the veil to do so; and regimes, such as Turkey and France, which prevent women who do want to wear the veil from doing so. My ideal of religious freedom is that, if a woman wants to veil, she must be free to do so, and the State must defend her right to veil; while if a woman does not want to veil, she must be free to do so, and the State must defend her right not to do so.

Voir encore:

What Would Hamas Do If It Could Do Whatever It Wanted?
Understanding what the Muslim Brotherhood’s Gaza branch wants by studying its theology, strategy, and history
Jeffrey Goldberg

The Atlantic

AUG 4 2014

In the spring of 2009, Roger Cohen, the New York Times columnist, surprised some of his readers by claiming that Iran’s remaining Jews were “living, working and worshiping in relative tranquility.”

Cohen wrote: “Perhaps I have a bias toward facts over words, but I say the reality of Iranian civility toward Jews tells us more about Iran—its sophistication and culture—than all the inflammatory rhetoric.”

Perhaps.

In this, and other, columns, Cohen appeared to be trying to convince his fellow Jews that they had less to fear from the Iran of Khamenei and (at the time) Ahmadinejad than they thought. To me, the column was a whitewash. It seemed (and seems) reasonable to worry about the intentions of those Iranian leaders who deny or minimize the Holocaust while hoping to annihilate the Jewish state, and who have funded and trained groups—Hezbollah and Hamas—that have as their goal the killing of Jews.

It is a dereliction of responsibility not to try to understand the goals and beliefs of Islamist totalitarian movements.
Cohen’s most acid critics came from within the Persian Jewish exile community. The vast majority of Iran’s Jews fled the country after the Khomeini revolution; many found refuge in Los Angeles. David Wolpe, the rabbi of Sinai Temple there, invited Cohen to speak to his congregants, about half of whom are Persian exiles, shortly after the column appeared. Cohen, to his credit, accepted the invitation. The encounter between Cohen and an audience of several hundred (mainly Jews, but also Bahais, members of a faith persecuted with great intensity by the Iranian regime) was tense but mainly civil (you can watch it here). For me, the most interesting moment came not in a discussion about the dubious health of Iran’s remnant Jewish population, but after Wolpe asked Cohen about the intentions of Iran and its allies toward Jews living outside Iran.

“Right now,” Wolpe said, “Israel is much more powerful than Hezbollah and Hamas. Let’s say tomorrow this was reversed. Let’s say Hamas had the firepower of Israel and Israel had the firepower of Hamas. What do you think would happen to Israel were the balance of power reversed?”

“I don’t know what would happen tomorrow,” Cohen answered. This response brought a measure of derisive laughter from the incredulous audience. “And it doesn’t matter that I don’t know because it’s not going to happen tomorrow or in one or two years.” Wolpe quickly told Cohen that he himself knows exactly what would happen if the power balance between Hamas and Israel were to be reversed. (Later, Wolpe told me that he thought Cohen could not have been so naïve as to misunderstand the nature of Hamas and Hezbollah, but instead was simply caught short by the question.)

At the time, Cohen suggested that he was uninterested in grappling with the nature of Hamas and its goals. “I reject the thinking behind your question,” he said. “It’s not useful to go there.”

“Going there,” however, is necessary, not only to understand why Israelis fear Hamas, but also to understand that the narrative advanced by Hamas apologists concerning the group’s beliefs and goals is false. “Going there” also does not require enormous imagination, or a well-developed predisposition toward paranoia. It is, in my opinion, a dereliction of responsibility on the part of progressives not to try to understand the goals and beliefs of Islamist totalitarian movements.

(This post, you should know, is not a commentary on the particulars of the war between Israel and Hamas, a war in which Hamas baited Israel and Israel took the bait. Each time Israel kills an innocent Palestinian in its attempt to neutralize Hamas’s rockets, it represents a victory for Hamas, which has made plain its goal of getting Israel to kill innocent Gazans. Suffice it to say that Israel cannot afford many more “victories” of the sort it is seeking in Gaza right now. I supported a ceasefire early in this war precisely because I believed that the Israeli government had not thought through its strategic goals, or the methods for achieving those goals.)

While it is true that Hamas is expert at getting innocent Palestinians killed, it has made it very plain, in word and deed, that it would rather kill Jews. The following blood-freezing statement is from the group’s charter: “The Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realization of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The day of judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jews will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say ‘O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

This is a frank and open call for genocide, embedded in one of the most thoroughly anti-Semitic documents you’ll read this side of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Not many people seem to know that Hamas’s founding document is genocidal. Sometimes, the reasons for this lack of knowledge are benign; other times, as the New Yorker’s Philip Gourevitch argues in his recent dismantling of Rashid Khalidi’s apologia for Hamas, this ignorance is a direct byproduct of a decision to mask evidence of Hamas’s innate theocratic fascism.

The historian of totalitarianism Jeffrey Herf, in an article on the American Interest website, places the Hamas charter in context:

[T]he Hamas Covenant of 1988 notably replaced the Marxist-Leninist conspiracy theory of world politics with the classic anti-Semitic tropes of Nazism and European fascism, which the Islamists had absorbed when they collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. That influence is apparent in Article 22, which asserts that “supportive forces behind the enemy” have amassed great wealth: « With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. With their money, they took control of the world media. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about here and there. With their money, they formed secret societies, such as Freemason, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there. »

The above paragraph of Article 22 could have been taken, almost word for word, from Nazi Germany’s anti-Jewish propaganda texts and broadcasts.
The question Roger Cohen refused to answer at Sinai Temple was addressed in a recent post by Sam Harris, the atheist intellectual, who is opposed, as a matter of ideology, to the existence of Israel as a Jewish state (or to any country organized around a religion), but who for practical reasons supports its continued existence as a haven for an especially persecuted people, and also as a not-particularly religious redoubt in a region of the world deeply affected by religious fundamentalism. Referring not only to the Hamas charter, Harris writes that, “The discourse in the Muslim world about Jews is utterly shocking.”

Not only is there Holocaust denial—there’s Holocaust denial that then asserts that we will do it for real if given the chance. The only thing more obnoxious than denying the Holocaust is to say that it should have happened; it didn’t happen, but if we get the chance, we will accomplish it. There are children’s shows in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere that teach five-year-olds about the glories of martyrdom and about the necessity of killing Jews.

And this gets to the heart of the moral difference between Israel and her enemies. …

What do we know of the Palestinians? What would the Palestinians do to the Jews in Israel if the power imbalance were reversed? Well, they have told us what they would do. For some reason, Israel’s critics just don’t want to believe the worst about a group like Hamas, even when it declares the worst of itself. We’ve already had a Holocaust and several other genocides in the 20th century. People are capable of committing genocide. When they tell us they intend to commit genocide, we should listen. There is every reason to believe that the Palestinians would kill all the Jews in Israel if they could. Would every Palestinian support genocide? Of course not. But vast numbers of them—and of Muslims throughout the world—would. Needless to say, the Palestinians in general, not just Hamas, have a history of targeting innocent noncombatants in the most shocking ways possible. They’ve blown themselves up on buses and in restaurants. They’ve massacred teenagers. They’ve murdered Olympic athletes. They now shoot rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas.
The first time I witnessed Hamas’s hatred of Jews manifest itself in large-scale, fatal violence was in late July of 1997, when two of the group’s suicide bombers detonated themselves in an open-air market in West Jerusalem. The attack took 16 lives, and injured 178. I happened to be only a few blocks from the market at the time of the attack, and arrived shortly after the paramedics and firefighters. Over the next hours, a scene unfolded that I would see again and again: screaming relatives; members of the Orthodox burial society scraping flesh off walls; the ground covered in blood and viscera. I remember another Hamas attack, on a bus in downtown Jerusalem, in which body parts of children were blown into the street by the force of the blast. At yet another bombing, I was with rescue workers as they recovered a human arm stuck high up in a tree.

After each of these attacks, Hamas leaders issued blood-curdling statements claiming credit, and promising more death. “The Jews will lose because they crave life but a true Muslim loves death,” a former Hamas leader, Abdel-Aziz Rantisi, told me in an interview in 2002. In the same interview he made the following imperishable statement: “People always talk about what the Germans did to the Jews, but the true question is, ‘What did the Jews do to the Germans?’”

I will always remember this interview not only because Rantisi’s Judeophobia was breathtaking, but because just as I was leaving his apartment in Gaza City, a friend from Jerusalem called to tell me that she had just heard a massive explosion outside her office at the Hebrew University (not far, by the way, of an attack earlier today). A cafeteria had just been bombed, my friend told me. This was another Hamas operation, one which killed nine people, including a young woman of exceptional promise named Marla Bennett, a 24-year-old American student who wrote shortly before her death, “My friends and family in San Diego ask me to come home, it is dangerous here. I appreciate their concern. But there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be right now. I have a front-row seat for the history of the Jewish people.”

Hamas is an organization devoted to ending Jewish history. This is what so many Jews understand, and what so many non-Jews don’t. The novelist Amos Oz, who has led Israel’s left-wing peace camp for decades, said in an interview last week that he doesn’t see a prospect for compromise between Israel and Hamas. « I have been a man of compromise all my life, » Oz said. « But even a man of compromise cannot approach Hamas and say: ‘Maybe we meet halfway and Israel only exists on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.' »

In the years since it adopted its charter, Hamas leaders and spokesmen have reinforced its message again and again. Mahmoud Zahar said in 2006 that the group « will not change a single word in its covenant. » To underscore the point, in 2010 Zahhar said, « Our ultimate plan is [to have] Palestine in its entirety. I say this loud and clear so that nobody will accuse me of employing political tactics. We will not recognize the Israeli enemy. »

In 2011, the former Hamas minister of culture, Atallah Abu al-Subh, said that « the Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth, because they have displayed hostility to Allah. Allah will kill the Jews in the hell of the world to come, just like they killed the believers in the hell of this world. » Just last week, a top Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, accused Jews of using Christian blood to make matzo. This is not a group, in other words, that is seeking the sort of peace that Amos Oz—or, for that matter, the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas—is seeking. People wonder why Israelis have such a visceral reaction to Hamas. The answer is easy. Israel is a small country, and most of its citizens know someone who was murdered by Hamas in its extended suicide-bombing campaigns; and most people also understand that if Hamas had its way, it would kill them as well.

Voir par ailleurs:

In Defense of Zionism
The often reviled ideology that gave rise to Israel has been an astonishing historical success.
Michael B. Oren
WSJ
Aug. 1, 2014

They come from every corner of the country—investment bankers, farmers, computer geeks, jazz drummers, botany professors, car mechanics—leaving their jobs and their families. They put on uniforms that are invariably too tight or too baggy, sign out their gear and guns. Then, scrambling onto military vehicles, 70,000 reservists—women and men—join the young conscripts of what is proportionally the world’s largest citizen army. They all know that some of them will return maimed or not at all. And yet, without hesitation or (for the most part) complaint, proudly responding to the call-up, Israelis stand ready to defend their nation. They risk their lives for an idea.

The idea is Zionism. It is the belief that the Jewish people should have their own sovereign state in the Land of Israel. Though founded less than 150 years ago, the Zionist movement sprung from a 4,000-year-long bond between the Jewish people and its historic homeland, an attachment sustained throughout 20 centuries of exile. This is why Zionism achieved its goals and remains relevant and rigorous today. It is why citizens of Israel—the state that Zionism created—willingly take up arms. They believe their idea is worth fighting for.

Yet Zionism, arguably more than any other contemporary ideology, is demonized. « All Zionists are legitimate targets everywhere in the world! » declared a banner recently paraded by anti-Israel protesters in Denmark. « Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances, » warned a sign in the window of a Belgian cafe. A Jewish demonstrator in Iceland was accosted and told, « You Zionist pig, I’m going to behead you. »

In certain academic and media circles, Zionism is synonymous with colonialism and imperialism. Critics on the radical right and left have likened it to racism or, worse, Nazism. And that is in the West. In the Middle East, Zionism is the ultimate abomination—the product of a Holocaust that many in the region deny ever happened while maintaining nevertheless that the Zionists deserved it.

What is it about Zionism that elicits such loathing? After all, the longing of a dispersed people for a state of their own cannot possibly be so repugnant, especially after that people endured centuries of massacres and expulsions, culminating in history’s largest mass murder. Perhaps revulsion toward Zionism stems from its unusual blend of national identity, religion and loyalty to a land. Japan offers the closest parallel, but despite its rapacious past, Japanese nationalism doesn’t evoke the abhorrence aroused by Zionism.

Clearly anti-Semitism, of both the European and Muslim varieties, plays a role. Cabals, money grubbing, plots to take over the world and murder babies—all the libels historically leveled at Jews are regularly hurled at Zionists. And like the anti-Semitic capitalists who saw all Jews as communists and the communists who painted capitalism as inherently Jewish, the opponents of Zionism portray it as the abominable Other.

But not all of Zionism’s critics are bigoted, and not a few of them are Jewish. For a growing number of progressive Jews, Zionism is too militantly nationalist, while for many ultra-Orthodox Jews, the movement is insufficiently pious—even heretical. How can an idea so universally reviled retain its legitimacy, much less lay claim to success?

The answer is simple: Zionism worked. The chances were infinitesimal that a scattered national group could be assembled from some 70 countries into a sliver-sized territory shorn of resources and rich in adversaries and somehow survive, much less prosper. The odds that those immigrants would forge a national identity capable of producing a vibrant literature, pace-setting arts and six of the world’s leading universities approximated zero.

Elsewhere in the world, indigenous languages are dying out, forests are being decimated, and the populations of industrialized nations are plummeting. Yet Zionism revived the Hebrew language, which is now more widely spoken than Danish and Finnish and will soon surpass Swedish. Zionist organizations planted hundreds of forests, enabling the land of Israel to enter the 21st century with more trees than it had at the end of the 19th. And the family values that Zionism fostered have produced the fastest natural growth rate in the modernized world and history’s largest Jewish community. The average secular couple in Israel has at least three children, each a reaffirmation of confidence in Zionism’s future.

Indeed, by just about any international criteria, Israel is not only successful but flourishing. The population is annually rated among the happiest, healthiest and most educated in the world. Life expectancy in Israel, reflecting its superb universal health-care system, significantly exceeds America’s and that of most European countries. Unemployment is low, the economy robust. A global leader in innovation, Israel is home to R&D centers of some 300 high-tech companies, including Apple, Intel and Motorola. The beaches are teeming, the rock music is awesome, and the food is off the Zagat charts.

The democratic ideals integral to Zionist thought have withstood pressures that have precipitated coups and revolutions in numerous other nations. Today, Israel is one of the few states—along with Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S.—that has never known a second of nondemocratic governance.

These accomplishments would be sufficiently astonishing if attained in North America or Northern Europe. But Zionism has prospered in the supremely inhospitable—indeed, lethal—environment of the Middle East. Two hours’ drive east of the bustling nightclubs of Tel Aviv—less than the distance between New York and Philadelphia—is Jordan, home to more than a half million refugees from Syria’s civil war. Traveling north from Tel Aviv for four hours would bring that driver to war-ravaged Damascus or, heading east, to the carnage in western Iraq. Turning south, in the time it takes to reach San Francisco from Los Angeles, the traveler would find himself in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

In a region reeling with ethnic strife and religious bloodshed, Zionism has engendered a multiethnic, multiracial and religiously diverse society. Arabs serve in the Israel Defense Forces, in the Knesset and on the Supreme Court. While Christian communities of the Middle East are steadily eradicated, Israel’s continues to grow. Israeli Arab Christians are, in fact, on average better educated and more affluent than Israeli Jews.

In view of these monumental achievements, one might think that Zionism would be admired rather than deplored. But Zionism stands accused of thwarting the national aspirations of Palestine’s indigenous inhabitants, of oppressing and dispossessing them.

Never mind that the Jews were natives of the land—its Arabic place names reveal Hebrew palimpsests—millennia before the Palestinians or the rise of Palestinian nationalism. Never mind that in 1937, 1947, 2000 and 2008, the Palestinians received offers to divide the land and rejected them, usually with violence. And never mind that the majority of Zionism’s adherents today still stand ready to share their patrimony in return for recognition of Jewish statehood and peace.

The response to date has been, at best, a refusal to remain at the negotiating table or, at worst, war. But Israelis refuse to relinquish the hope of resuming negotiations with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. To live in peace and security with our Palestinian neighbors remains the Zionist dream.

Still, for all of its triumphs, its resilience and openness to peace, Zionism fell short of some of its original goals. The agrarian, egalitarian society created by Zionist pioneers has been replaced by a dynamic, largely capitalist economy with yawning gaps between rich and poor. Mostly secular at its inception, Zionism has also spawned a rapidly expanding religious sector, some elements of which eschew the Jewish state.

About a fifth of Israel’s population is non-Jewish, and though some communities (such as the Druse) are intensely patriotic and often serve in the army, others are much less so, and some even call for Israel’s dissolution. And there is the issue of Judea and Samaria—what most of the world calls the West Bank—an area twice used to launch wars of national destruction against Israel but which, since its capture in 1967, has proved painfully divisive.

Many Zionists insist that these territories represent the cradle of Jewish civilization and must, by right, be settled. But others warn that continued rule over the West Bank’s Palestinian population erodes Israel’s moral foundation and will eventually force it to choose between being Jewish and remaining democratic.

Yet the most searing of Zionism’s unfulfilled visions was that of a state in which Jews could be free from the fear of annihilation. The army imagined by Theodor Herzl, Zionism’s founding father, marched in parades and saluted flag-waving crowds. The Israel Defense Forces, by contrast, with no time for marching, much less saluting, has remained in active combat mode since its founding in 1948. With the exception of Vladimir Jabotinsky, the ideological forbear of today’s Likud Party, none of Zionism’s early thinkers anticipated circumstances in which Jews would be permanently at arms. Few envisaged a state that would face multiple existential threats on a daily basis just because it is Jewish.

Confronted with such monumental threats, Israelis might be expected to flee abroad and prospective immigrants discouraged. But Israel has one of the lower emigration rates among developed countries while Jews continue to make aliyah—literally, in Hebrew, « to ascend »—to Israel. Surveys show that Israelis remain stubbornly optimistic about their country’s future. And Jews keep on arriving, especially from Europe, where their security is swiftly eroding. Last week, thousands of Parisians went on an anti-Semitic rant, looting Jewish shops and attempting to ransack synagogues.

American Jews face no comparable threat, and yet numbers of them continue to make aliyah. They come not in search of refuge but to take up the Zionist challenge—to be, as the Israeli national anthem pledges, « a free people in our land, the Land of Zion and Jerusalem. » American Jews have held every high office, from prime minister to Supreme Court chief justice to head of Israel’s equivalent of the Fed, and are disproportionately prominent in Israel’s civil society.

Hundreds of young Americans serve as « Lone Soldiers, » without families in the country, and volunteer for front-line combat units. One of them, Max Steinberg from Los Angeles, fell in the first days of the current Gaza fighting. His funeral, on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, was attended by 30,000 people, most of them strangers, who came out of respect for this intrepid and selfless Zionist.

I also paid my respects to Max, whose Zionist journey was much like mine. After working on a kibbutz—a communal farm—I made aliyah and trained as a paratrooper. I participated in several wars, and my children have served as well, sometimes in battle. Our family has taken shelter from Iraqi Scuds and Hamas M-75s, and a suicide bomber killed one of our closest relatives.

Despite these trials, my Zionist life has been immensely fulfilling. And the reason wasn’t Zionism’s successes—not the Nobel Prizes gleaned by Israeli scholars, not the Israeli cures for chronic diseases or the breakthroughs in alternative energy. The reason—paradoxically, perhaps—was Zionism’s failures.

Failure is the price of sovereignty. Statehood means making hard and often agonizing choices—whether to attack Hamas in Palestinian neighborhoods, for example, or to suffer rocket strikes on our own territory. It requires reconciling our desire to be enlightened with our longing to remain alive. Most onerously, sovereignty involves assuming responsibility. Zionism, in my definition, means Jewish responsibility. It means taking responsibility for our infrastructure, our defense, our society and the soul of our state. It is easy to claim responsibility for victories; setbacks are far harder to embrace.

But that is precisely the lure of Zionism. Growing up in America, I felt grateful to be born in a time when Jews could assume sovereign responsibilities. Statehood is messy, but I regarded that mess as a blessing denied to my forefathers for 2,000 years. I still feel privileged today, even as Israel grapples with circumstances that are at once perilous, painful and unjust. Fighting terrorists who shoot at us from behind their own children, our children in uniform continue to be killed and wounded while much of the world brands them as war criminals.

Zionism, nevertheless, will prevail. Deriving its energy from a people that refuses to disappear and its ethos from historically tested ideas, the Zionist project will thrive. We will be vilified, we will find ourselves increasingly alone, but we will defend the homes that Zionism inspired us to build.

The Israeli media have just reported the call-up of an additional 16,000 reservists. Even as I write, they too are mobilizing for active duty—aware of the dangers, grateful for the honor and ready to bear responsibility.

Mr. Oren was Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2009 to 2013. He holds the chair in international diplomacy at IDC Herzliya in Israel and is a fellow at the Atlantic Council. His books include « Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East » and « Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present. »

Pour la défense du sionisme
L’idéologie souvent honnie qui a donné naissance à Israël est un succès historique étonnant.
Michael B. Oren

Wall Street Journal

Traduction française JSSNews

Ils sont venus de tous les coins du pays – banquiers, agriculteurs, informaticiens, batteurs de jazz, professeurs de botanique, mécaniciens – ils ont quitté leurs emplois et de leurs familles. Ils ont endossé leurs uniformes, toujours trop serrés ou trop amples, ont signé pour leur équipement et leur fusil. Ensuite, entassés dans des véhicules militaires, 70 000 réservistes – femmes et hommes – ont rejoint les jeunes conscrits de la plus grande armée de citoyens du monde. Ils savent tous que certains d’entre eux reviendront estropiés ou ne reviendront pas du tout. Et pourtant, sans hésitation ni plainte, répondant fièrement à l’appel, les Israéliens se dressent, prêts à défendre leur nation. A risquer leur vie pour un idéal.

Cet idéal est le sionisme. C’est la conviction que le peuple juif est en droit d’avoir son propre État souverain sur la terre d’Israël. Bien que fondé il y a moins de 150 ans, le mouvement sioniste est né de 4 000 longues années de lien entre le peuple juif et sa patrie historique, un attachement qui a perduré pendant 20 siècles d’exil. C’est pourquoi le sionisme a atteint ses objectifs et qu’il demeure plus que jamais actuel et fort. C’est pourquoi les citoyens d’Israël – l’Etat créé par le sionisme – prennent volontiers les armes. Car ils sont convaincus que leur idéal vaut la peine de se battre.

Pourtant, le sionisme, sans doute plus que toute autre idéologie contemporaine, est diabolisé. « Tous les sionistes sont des cibles légitimes partout dans le monde! » énonce une bannière récemment brandie par des manifestants anti-Israël au Danemark. « Les chiens sont admis dans cet établissement, mais pas les sionistes, en aucune circonstance », prévient une pancarte à la fenêtre d’un café belge. On a dit à un manifestant juif en Islande : « Toi porc sioniste, je vais te couper la tête. »

Dans certains milieux universitaires et médiatiques, le sionisme est synonyme de colonialisme et d’impérialisme. Les critiques d’extrême droite et gauche le comparent au racisme ou, pire, au nazisme. Et cela en Occident. Au Moyen-Orient, le sionisme est l’abomination ultime – le produit d’un Holocauste que beaucoup dans la région nient avoir jamais existé, ce qui ne les empêche pas de maintenir que les sionistes l’ont bien mérité.

Qu’est-ce qui, dans ​​le sionisme, suscite un tel dégoût ? Après tout, le désir d’un peuple dispersé d’avoir son propre Etat ne peut être si révulsif, surtout sachant que ce même peuple a enduré des siècles de massacres et d’expulsions, qui ont atteint leur paroxysme dans le plus grand assassinat de masse de l’histoire. Peut-être la révulsion envers le sionisme découle-t-elle de sa mixture inhabituelle d’identité nationale, de religion et de fidélité à une terre. Le Japon s’en rapproche le plus, mais malgré son passé rapace, le nationalisme japonais ne suscite pas la révulsion provoquée par le sionisme.

Il est clair que l’antisémitisme, dans ses versions européenne et musulmane, joue un rôle. Fauteurs de cabales, faucheurs d’argent, conquérants du monde et assassins de bébés – toutes ces diffamations autrefois jetées à la tête des Juifs le sont aujourd’hui à celle des sionistes. Et à l’image des capitalistes antisémites qui voyaient tous les Juifs comme des communistes et des communistes pour qui le capitalisme était intrinsèquement juif, les adversaires du sionisme le décrivent comme l’Autre abominable.

Mais tous ces détracteurs sont des fanatiques, et certains parmi eux sont des Juifs. Pour un nombre croissant de Juifs progressistes, le sionisme est un nationalisme militant, tandis que pour de nombreux Juifs ultra-orthodoxes, ce mouvement n’est pas suffisamment pieux – voire même hérétique. Comment un idéal si universellement vilipendé peut-il conserver sa légitimité, ou même prétendre être un succès ?

La réponse est simple : le sionisme a fonctionné. Les chances étaient infimes qu’un groupe dispersé à travers le monde puisse rassembler des membres de quelque 70 pays dans un territoire de la taille d’un ruban, dénué de ressources et riche en adversaires, survivre, et même prospérer. Les chances que ces immigrants se forgent une identité nationale, soient capables de produire une littérature palpitante, des arts de référence et six des plus grandes universités mondiales, étaient proches de zéro.

Ailleurs dans le monde, les langues autochtones sont en voie de disparition, les forêts sont décimées, et les populations des pays industrialisés vieillissent. Pourtant, le sionisme a fait revivre la langue hébraïque, qui est aujourd’hui plus largement parlée que le danois et le finnois et dépassera bientôt le suédois. Les organisations sionistes ont planté des centaines de forêts, faisant entrer la terre d’Israël dans le 21ème siècle avec plus d’arbres qu’à la fin du 19ème. Et les valeurs familiales que le sionisme défend produisent le taux d’accroissement naturel le plus rapide du monde moderne et la plus grande communauté juive de l’histoire. Le couple laïc moyen en Israël a au moins trois enfants, chacun étant une preuve vivante que le sionisme est confiant en l’avenir.

En effet, dans presque tous les critères internationaux, Israël n’est pas seulement victorieux, mais florissant. Sa population est chaque année classée parmi les plus heureuses, les plus saines et les plus éduquées du monde. L’espérance de vie en Israël, qui reflète son excellent système de santé universel, dépasse largement celle des Etats-Unis et de la plupart des pays européens. Le chômage est faible, l’économie robuste. Chef de file mondial en matière d’innovation, Israël est le foyer de centres R & D de 300 entreprises de haute technologie, y compris Apple, Intel et Motorola. Les plages sont prises d’assaut, la musique rock géniale et la nourriture exquise.

Les idéaux démocratiques inhérents à la pensée sioniste ont résisté aux pressions qui ont déclenché coups d’Etat et révolutions dans de nombreux autres pays. Aujourd’hui, Israël est l’un des rares Etats – avec la Grande-Bretagne, le Canada, la Nouvelle-Zélande et les Etats-Unis – n’ayant pas connu une seconde de gouvernance non démocratique.

Ces réalisations seraient suffisamment étonnantes si elles avaient eu lieu en Amérique du Nord ou en Europe du Nord. Mais le sionisme a prospéré dans l’environnement extrêmement inhospitalier –même meurtrier – du Moyen-Orient. A deux heures de route à l’est des boîtes de nuit animées de Tel Aviv – à une distance inférieure de celle entre New York et Philadelphie – se trouve la Jordanie, qui a accueilli plus d’un demi-million de réfugiés de la guerre civile syrienne. A quatre heures de route depuis le nord de Tel-Aviv, vous êtes à Damas, ravagé par la guerre, et vers l’est, dans le carnage de l’ouest de l’Irak. Vers le sud, dans la distance de San Francisco à Los Angeles, vous vous trouvez à la place Tahrir du Caire.

Dans une région envahie de conflits ethniques et de massacres religieux, le sionisme a engendré une société multiethnique, multiraciale et pluriconfessionnelle. Les Arabes servent dans les Forces de défense israéliennes, à la Knesset et à la Cour suprême. Alors que les communautés chrétiennes du Moyen-Orient sont régulièrement éradiquées, celles d’Israël continuent de croître. Les Arabes chrétiens sont, en fait, en moyenne plus instruits et plus riches que les Juifs israéliens.

Compte tenu de ces réalisations monumentales, on pourrait penser que le sionisme serait admiré plutôt que critiqué. Mais le sionisme accusés d’obstruer les aspirations nationales des habitants autochtones de la Palestine, de les opprimer et de les déposséder.

Peu importe que les Juifs peuplaient cette terre – ses noms de lieux arabes révèlent des origines hébraïques – des millénaires avant les Palestiniens ou la montée du nationalisme palestinien. Peu importe que, en 1937, 1947, 2000 et 2008, les Palestiniens aient reçu des propositions de diviser la terre et les ont rejetées, généralement avec violence. Et peu importe que la majorité des partisans du sionisme soient aujourd’hui encore prêts à partager leur patrimoine en contrepartie de la reconnaissance d’un Etat juif et de la paix.

La réponse à ce jour a été, au mieux, un refus de rester à la table de négociation ou, au pire, la guerre. Mais les Israéliens refusent de renoncer à l’espoir d’une reprise des négociations avec le président de l’Autorité palestinienne Mahmoud Abbas. Vivre en paix et en sécurité avec nos voisins palestiniens reste le rêve sioniste.

Pourtant, malgré ses triomphes, sa capacité de résistance et son ouverture à la paix, le sionisme n’a pas réalisé certains de ses objectifs initiaux. La société égalitaire agraire créée par les pionniers sionistes a été remplacée par une économie dynamique, en grande partie capitaliste, creusant le fossé entre les riches et les pauvres. Partiellement laïc à ses débuts, le sionisme a également donné naissance à un secteur religieux en pleine expansion, dont certains éléments rejettent l’Etat juif.

Environ un cinquième de la population d’Israël est non-juive, et même si certaines communautés (comme les Druzes) sont intensément patriotiques et servent souvent dans l’armée, d’autres le sont beaucoup moins, et certaines appellent même à la dissolution d’Israël. Et il y a la question de la Judée-Samarie – généralement appelée la Cisjordanie – autrefois lieu de déclenchement de guerres de destruction nationale contre Israël, mais qui, depuis son annexion en 1967, divise le peuple.

Nombre de sionistes maintiennent que ces territoires représentent le berceau de la civilisation juive et doivent, de droit, être peuplés. Mais d’autres avertissent que ce contrôle de la population palestinienne de Cisjordanie érode le fondement moral d’Israël et finira par forcer à faire un choix entre être juif et rester démocratique.

Pourtant, la vision du sionisme qui ne s’est douloureusement pas réalisée est celle que les Juifs puissent être libérés de la peur d’être anéantis. L’armée imaginée par Théodore Herzl, fondateur du sionisme, devait parader dans les défilés et saluer la foule agitant des drapeaux. Les Forces de défense israéliennes, en revanche, n’ont pas le temps de défiler, encore moins de saluer, consacrées depuis leur fondation en 1948 à défendre leur pays sans relâche. A l’exception de Vladimir Jabotinsky, le père du Likoud, aucun des pionniers du sionisme n’avait prévu que les nouveaux Juifs devraient toujours être prêts à prendre les armes. Ils n’avaient pas envisagé que cet Etat serait constamment en butte à de multiples menaces existentielles, pour la simple raison qu’il est juif.

Face à de telles menaces monumentales, on devait voir les Israéliens fuir à l’étranger et les immigrants potentiels baisser les bras. Israël connaît un des taux d’émigration les plus faibles parmi les pays développés et les Juifs continuent à faire leur aliya, littéralement, en hébreu, « monter » à Israël. Les enquêtes montrent que les Israéliens restent obstinément optimistes quant à l’avenir de leur pays. Et les Juifs continuent d’affluer, en particulier d’Europe, où leur sécurité s’est rapidement détériorée. La semaine dernière, des milliers de Parisiens ont manifesté aux sons d’une diatribe antisémite, pillé des magasins juifs et tenté de saccager des synagogues.

Les Juifs américains ne connaissent pas de menace comparable, et pourtant nombre d’entre eux continuent à faire leur aliya. Ils ne viennent pas à la recherche d’un refuge, mais pour relever le défi sioniste, évoqué dans l’hymne national israélien, « être un peuple libre sur notre terre, la terre de Sion et de Jérusalem. »

Des centaines de jeunes Américains sont des « soldats seuls », sans aucune famille dans le pays, et se portent volontaires aux premières lignes des unités combattantes. L’un d’eux, Max Steinberg de Los Angeles, est tombé aux premiers jours des combats à Gaza. Ses funérailles, au Mont Herzl à Jérusalem, ont réuni 30 000 personnes, la plupart d’entre eux des étrangers, venus par respect pour ce sioniste intrépide et altruiste.

J’ai aussi rendu hommage à Max, dont l’épopée sioniste ressemble beaucoup à la mienne. Après avoir travaillé dans un kibboutz, j’ai fait mon aliya, et suivi une formation de parachutiste. J’ai participé à plusieurs guerres, et mes enfants ont servi dans les rangs de l’armée, et parfois combattu. Notre famille s’est abritée des Scuds irakiens et des M-75 du Hamas, et un terroriste suicide a assassiné l’un de nos proches parents.

Malgré ces épreuves, ma vie sioniste est extrêmement enrichissante. Et non grâce aux succès de cette idéologie – les prix Nobel remportés par des chercheurs israéliens, les remèdes israéliens aux maladies chroniques ou les percées dans les énergies alternatives. Mais, paradoxalement, grâce à ses échecs.

L’échec est le prix de la souveraineté. Gouverner signifie faire des choix difficiles et souvent angoissants – attaquer le Hamas dans les zones peuplées, par exemple, ou de subir des tirs de roquettes sur notre propre territoire. Il faut concilier entre notre désir d’être éclairé et celui de rester en vie. Souvent en payant le prix, la souveraineté implique d’assumer ses responsabilités. Le sionisme, pour moi, est une responsabilité juive. Il signifie endosser la responsabilité de notre infrastructure, de notre défense, de notre société et de l’âme de notre Etat​​. Il est facile de s’attribuer les victoires ; beaucoup plus difficile d’assumer les échecs.

Mais c’est précisément l’attrait du sionisme. En grandissant en Amérique, j’étais reconnaissant d’être né à une époque où les Juifs peuvent assumer des responsabilités souveraines. Gouverner est chaotique, mais ce chaos est une bénédiction refusée à mes ancêtres depuis 2 000 ans. Et je ressens toujours ce privilège aujourd’hui, même si Israël est face à une situation à la fois périlleuse, douloureuse et injuste. Même s’il lutte contre des terroristes qui tirent en se cachant derrière leurs propres enfants, même si nos enfants en uniformes sont tués et blessés, tandis que le monde les traite de criminels de guerre.

Le sionisme, néanmoins, vaincra. Tirant son énergie d’un peuple qui refuse de disparaître et sa philosophie d’idéaux qui ont fait leurs preuves historiquement, le projet sioniste prospérera. Nous serons honnis, nous nous retrouverons de plus en plus seuls, mais nous défendrons les maisons que ce sionisme nous a poussés à construire.

Par M. Oren – Wall Street Journal – Traduction JSSNews

M. Oren était l’ambassadeur d’Israël aux États-Unis de 2009 à 2013. Il est titulaire de la chaire de diplomatie internationale au IDC Herzliya en Israël et est membre du Conseil de l’Atlantique. Parmi ses livres, “Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East”, et “Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present.”

Voir enfin:

Les images manquantes de la guerre contre le Hamas

En coopérant à la censure médiatique du Hamas sur ses combattants, la presse internationale ne relate qu’une partie de l’histoire

Uriel Heilman

Times of Israel

1 août 2014

On ne manque pas d’images du conflit de Gaza.

Nous avons vu les décombres, les enfants palestiniens morts, les Israéliens courir aux abris pendant les attaques de roquettes, les manœuvres israéliennes et les images fournies par l’armée israélienne des militants du Hamas sortant de tunnels pour attaquer les soldats israéliens.

Nous n’avons pratiquement pas vu aucune image d’hommes armés du Hamas à Gaza.

Nous savons qu’ils sont là : il y a bien quelqu’un qui doit se charger de lancer les roquettes sur Israël (plus de 2 800) et de les tirer sur les troupes israéliennes dans Gaza. Pourtant, jusqu’à maintenant, les seules images que nous avons vues (ou dont nous avons même entendu parler) sont les vidéos fournies par l’armée israélienne de terroristes du Hamas utilisant les hôpitaux, les ambulances, les mosquées, les écoles (et les tunnels) pour lancer des attaques contre des cibles israéliennes ou transporter des armes autour de Gaza.

Pourquoi n’avons nous pas vu des photographies prises par des journalistes d’hommes du Hamas dans Gaza ?

Nous savons que le Hamas ne veut pas que le monde voit les hommes armés palestiniens en train de lancer de roquettes ou utilisant des lieux peuplés de civils comme des bases d’opération. Mais si l’on peut voir des images des deux côtés pratiquement dans toutes les guerres, en Syrie, en Ukraine, en Irak, pourquoi Gaza fait-elle figure d’exception ?

Si des journalistes sont menacés et intimidés lorsqu’ils essaient de documenter les activités du Hamas dans Gaza, leurs agences de presse devraient le dire publiquement. Elles ne le font pas.

Mardi, le New York Times a publié un article du photographe Sergeï Ponomarev sur ses journées à Gaza. Voici ce que Ponomarev écrit :

C’était une guerre de routine. On part tôt le matin pour voir des maisons détruites la veille. Ensuite on va aux funérailles, ensuite aux hôpitaux parce que plus de personnes blessées arrivent et dans la soirée on retourne voir plus de maisons détruites.

C’était la même chose chaque jour, en passant simplement de Rafah à Khan Younis.

Y-a-t-il des tentatives de documenter les activités du Hamas ?

Si, comme moi, vous vous demandez si le New York Times a envoyé un autre photographe pour couvrir cet aspect de l’histoire : le New York Times n’a pas publié de photos de combattants du Hamas à Gaza, point final. En regardant les trois dernières séries de reportages photographiques du journal sur le conflit, sur un total de 37 images, il n’y en a pas une seule sur un combattant du Hamas.

Dans la série de reportage photo du L.A Times, sur plus de 75 photographies du conflit, il n’y a pas non plus une seule image de combattants du Hamas, selon le Comité américain pour la Précision du reportage au Moyen Orient.

Pour de nombreux spectateurs, le récit de cette guerre doit apparaître très clair : le puissant Israël bombarde des Palestiniens sans défense. C’est compréhensible lorsque l’on ne voit presque aucune photographie des agresseurs palestiniens.

Dans un article du Washington Post de William Booth datant du 15 juillet, l’utilisation du Hamas de l’hôpital Al-Shifa dans la ville de Gaza comme une base opératoire est mentionnée, mais on consacre seulement une demi-phrase dans le huitième paragraphe de l’article.

Le ministre a été refoulé avant qu’il ne puisse atteindre l’hôpital qui est devenu de facto un quartier général pour les dirigeants du Hamas, comme on peut le voir dans les couloirs et les bureaux.

Comme l’a noté Tablet, c’est ce que l’on appelle noyer le poisson.

Dans la même logique, une agence de presse palestinienne a annoncé cette semaine que le Hamas a exécuté des dizaines de Palestiniens suspectés d’avoir collaboré avec Israël la semaine dernière. Le JTA a repris cette information, mais elle n’a pas été mentionnée par les grandes agences de presse.

Soit les journalistes et les rédacteurs de chef ne sont pas intéressés à raconter cette partie de l’histoire qui montre ce que le Hamas fait dans Gaza soit ils n’en sont pas capables. Arrêtons-nous sur cette dernière possibilité.

On a beaucoup parlé du côté des soutiens d’Israël d’une décision de Nick Casy du Wall Street Journal d’effacer un tweet au sujet du mode d’utilisation du Hamas de l’hôpital Shifa comme une base d’opérations. On peut supposer que Casy a effacé le tweet à cause des menaces du Hamas soit sur sa personne ou sur sa capacité à continuer à couvrir le conflit.

Un article du Times of Israel suggérait déjà cela plus tôt dans la
semaine :

Plusieurs journalistes occidentaux travaillant actuellement à Gaza ont été harcelés et menacés par le Hamas pour avoir documenté des cas de l’implication par le groupe terroriste de civils dans sa guerre contre Israël, ont déclaré des officiels israéliens en exprimant leur indignation que certains média internationaux se laissent apparemment intimider sans même évoquer ce type d’incidents.

Le Times of Israel a confirmé plusieurs incidents au cours desquels des journalistes ont été interrogés et menacés. Cela incluait des cas où des photographes qui avaient pris des photos de terroristes du Hamas dans des circonstances compromettantes, des hommes armés préparant des tirs de roquettes dans des structures civiles, et/ou des combattants en habits civils, et qui avaient été approchés par des hommes du Hamas, menacés physiquement et on leur avait pris leurs équipements. Un autre cas impliquant un journaliste français avait tout d’abord été annoncé par le journaliste impliqué, mais le récit avait ensuite été retiré d’Internet.

Après avoir quitté Gaza, la journaliste indépendante Gabriele Barbati, dans une série de tweets condamnant le Hamas pour un incident récent avec des victimes civiles, avait soutenu les déclarations que le Hamas menaçait des journalistes :

Sorti de #Gaza loin des représailles du #Hamas : tir de roquette manqué a tué des enfants hier à Shati. Témoin : des militants se sont précipités pour enlever les débris (29 juillet).

Pourquoi peut-on seulement lire des articles sur l’intimidation dans des médias juifs ou israéliens, ou sur des blogs, mais pas dans les grands médias occidentaux ?

Sur son blog Powerline, l’avocat Scott Johnson demande aux agences de presse de remédier à cela :

Les menaces du Hamas ne sont pas responsables de l’ignorance et de la stupidité de la couverture des hostilités à Gaza, mais elles sont en partie responsables. Les journalistes et les médias employeurs coopèrent avec le Hamas non seulement en passant sous silence des histoires qui ne servent pas la cause du Hamas, mais aussi en ne parlant pas des conditions restrictives dans lesquelles ils travaillent.

Ce n’est pas un détail. L’opinion publique est un élément crucial dans ce conflit. Elle va jouer un rôle pour déterminer quand les combats cesseront, à quoi ressemblera le cessez-le-feu et qui portera en priorité la responsabilité pour la mort d’innocents.

Si les grands médias suppriment les images des terroristes du Hamas utilisant des civils comme des boucliers et utilisant des écoles et des hôpitaux comme des bases d’opérations, alors les gens autour du monde auront naturellement du mal à voir les Israéliens comme autre chose que des agresseurs et les Palestiniens comme autre chose que des victimes.

Ils n’ont pourtant qu’une partie de l’histoire. Et d’où je viens, une demi-vérité est considérée comme un mensonge.

10 commentaires pour Hamas: De même que pour toutes les terres conquises par l’islam (For the Hamas, Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection as long as Heaven and earth last)

  1. […] de ses partenaires du djihad final, que la continuation par d’autres moyens de la Solution finale au problème palestinien […]

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  2. […] de comprendre, au-delà de nos préventions oecuméniques ou progressistes et de Mosoul à Gaza, la réalité proprement religieuse et théologiquement fondée de ses revendications […]

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