Posted tagged ‘Israel and “normalization”’

The Islamic Jihad and Peace with Jews

February 9, 2017

The Islamic Jihad and Peace with Jews, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, February 9, 2017

(“Normalization?” In what way is the present situation abnormal? The dispute has been festering for centuries. — DM)

On the face of it, the anti-normalization campaign appears driven by political motivations. However, it turns out that there is also a powerful Islamic angle to this campaign of hate, which is aimed at delegitimizing Israel and demonizing Jews.

The Palestinian anti-normalization “enforcers” do their utmost to conceal the Islamic aspect of their campaign. They are not eager for the world to know that Islam supplies much of the ideology and justification for their anti-Israel activities.

Fatwas (Islamic religious decrees) and statements issued by leading Muslim scholars and clerics have long warned Muslims against normalization with the “Zionist entity.” Such normalization, they have made it clear, is considered an “unforgivable crime.” The authors of these hate messages are not opposed to normalization with Israel because of settlements or house demolitions, but rather because they believe Jews have no rights at all to any of the land.

In 1989, more than 60 eminent Muslim scholars from 18 countries ruled that it was forbidden for Muslims to give up any part of Palestine.

The vicious campaigns to boycott Israel and Jews, while political in dress, are in fact deeply rooted in Islamic ideology.

These campaigns are patently not a legitimate protest. They are not even part of an effort to boycott Israeli products or politicians and academics. The real goal of the campaigns is revealed in the words of the Muslim leaders: that Jews have no rights whatsoever to the land, and must be targeted through jihad as infidels and enemies of all Muslims and Arabs

Settlements, checkpoints and fences are irrelevant; Muslim scholars want Jews off what they define as sacred Muslim land. Supporters of BDS and the anti-normalization movement would do well to consider this fact. Failing to do so is tantamount to aiding and abetting Muslims to destroy Israel, and kill as many Jews as possible in the process.

Muslim scholars have feverishly citing chapter and verse from the Quran and the hadith, the words of the Prophet Mohammed, in their efforts to encourage Arabs and Muslims to avoid normalization with Jews.

The Quran and hadith have also been leveraged to promote boycotts against Israel and Jews — thereby refuting claims by anti-Israel activists that their campaigns are just about politics.

Palestinians have long maintained that their campaign to ban normalization with Israel is mainly directed against the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The Palestinian anti-normalization movement, which continues to target Israeli and Palestinian peace activists who hold — horrors! — public meetings, has in recent years gained momentum, largely thanks to the ongoing anti-Israel campaign of incitement and indoctrination in the Palestinian media and mosques.

In recent years, Palestinian anti-normalization activists have managed to foil several meetings between Israelis and Palestinians, under the pretext that such encounters cause damage to the Palestinians. The activists justify their disruption by citing what they see as Israeli practices against Palestinians, and violently object to any meetings with Israelis, including those who wholeheartedly support the Palestinians and oppose the policies of the Israeli government.

The most recent incident occurred at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem, where Israeli and Palestinian activists gathered to talk about peace and coexistence. Shortly after the meeting began, a number of anti-normalization activists stormed the conference hall to protest the meeting.

“Meeting with Zionists is an act of treason,” one of the protesters shouted. “There are no solutions. Palestinian must be freed, from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea. Shame on you!”

The protesters claimed that they were opposed to the meeting because Israel was “demolishing Arab houses and killing Palestinians.”

1069-1Palestinian “anti-normalization” activists disrupt an unofficial Israeli-Palestinian peace conference Jerusalem’s Ambassador Hotel, in 2104.

Hind Khoury, a Christian woman who has previously served as Palestinian Authority ambassador to France, received the brunt of their anger. Khoury’s attempts to persuade the protesters that the meeting was not about normalization, but about achieving a just and comprehensive peace, fell on deaf ears. Ironically, it was the intervention of the Israeli Police that allowed Israeli and Palestinian activists to proceed with their conference.

Such scenes have become commonplace at the East Jerusalem hotel, a preferred site for unofficial peace conferences organized by Israelis and Palestinians. Anti-normalization activists raid the conference hall several times a year in their attempts to disrupt such gatherings.

The anti-normalization activists have also been vocal in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities. The Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, which recently published an interview with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, has also come under attack. For these Palestinians, conducting an interview with an Israeli government official is engaging in “media normalization.”

“The newspaper must apologize to the Palestinians,” the protesters demanded.

On the face of it, the anti-normalization campaign appears driven by political motivations. However, it turns out that there is also a powerful Islamic angle to this campaign of hate, which is aimed at delegitimizing Israel and demonizing Jews. The Palestinian anti-normalization “enforcers” do their utmost to conceal the Islamic aspect of their campaign. They are not eager for the world to know that Islam supplies much of the ideology and justification for their anti-Israel activities.

Fatwas (Islamic religious decrees) and statements issued by leading Muslim scholars and clerics have long warned Muslims against normalization with the “Zionist entity.” Such normalization, they have made it clear, is considered an “unforgivable crime.”

The authors of these hate messages are not opposed to normalization with Israel because of settlements or house demolitions, but rather because they believe Jews have no rights at all to any of the land.

“Normalization with the Zionist enemy means turning the presence of Jews in Palestine to something normal,” explained one scholar, Adnan Adwan. “Normalization means accepting the right of the Zionist entity to Arab lands and Palestine.”

In response to an inquiry from Palestinians about the perspective of Islam regarding peace and normalization with Jews, a group of leading Muslim scholars issued a fatwa stating that this was completely haram (forbidden). They even went farther by ruling that any form of peace with Jews was also haram, despite the fact that Prophet Mohammed signed a treaty, known as the Constitution of Medina, with Jews and other non-Muslims shortly after his arrival at Medina from Mecca in 622 CE.

In their fatwa, the Muslim scholars wrote: “It is true that Prophet Mohammed signed a treaty with the infidels, including the Quraysh tribe and the Jews, but he did not make concessions that are contrary to Islam.” They pointed out that Prophet Mohammed did not strike the deal with the infidels in order to allow them to stay in their homes permanently. Nor did the prophet promise to abandon jihad (holy war) as a result of this treaty, they added in their fatwa. “There is no evidence whatsoever that the Prophet or any of his successors had made peace with infidels controlling Islamic lands,” the fatwa clarified.

To support their argument, the scholars quote verses from the Quran which — they maintain — prohibit Muslims from making peace or ever placing their confidence in Jews. One verse which they claim refers to Jews is taken from Surah Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War): “And if they intend to deceive you, then verily, Allah is All-Sufficient for you. He it is Who has supported you with His Help and with the believers.” (62) According to the fatwa, this verse from the Quran refers specifically to Jews.

The scholars continue with another verse from the same Surah Al-Anfal to explain why Muslims must continue to fight against Jews:

“O Prophet (Mohammed)! Urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome a two hundred, and if there be a hundred steadfast persons they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are people who do not understand.” (65)

Yet a further verse from the Quran is then cited to substantiate their ideology of war against the Jews — verse 7 from Surah At-Taubah (The Repentance):

“How can there be a covenant with Allah and with His Messenger for the Mushrikin (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) expect those with whom you made a covenant near Al-Masjid al-Haram (at Makkah)? So long, as they are true to you, stand you true to them. Verily, Allah loves Al-Muttaqun (the pious).”

According to the fatwa, the “treacherous” Jews have since failed to “repent” (presumably, convert to Islam) and that is why it is forbidden to make peace with them.

The Muslim scholars also point to several fatwas prohibiting peace and normalization with Jews issued in the past century. The ban dates back to 1935, when a group of Muslim scholars and clerics ruled during a conference in Jerusalem that it was forbidden for Muslims to sell Arab-owned lands to Jews. A year later, scholars from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, one of the first Islamic universities in the Arab world, ruled that it was the duty of all Muslims to engage in jihad “to salvage Palestine.” In 1989, more than 60 eminent Muslim scholars from 18 countries ruled that it was forbidden for Muslims to give up any part of Palestine.

Other Muslim scholars have referred to another verse in the Quran to justify banning normalization with Jews. In Surah Al-Mumtahinah (The Woman to be examined), verse 1 states: “O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies as friends, showing affection towards them, while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth.” They also quote the following hadith (a saying attributed to Prophet Mohammed) to support their claim against making peace with Jews: “Those who side with the unjust to assist them in their injustice, while knowing that they are unjust, walk out of Islam.”

The vicious campaigns to boycott Israel and Jews, while political in dress, are in fact deeply rooted in Islamic ideology.

The anti-normalization activists and those promoting boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel perceive Jews as the enemies of Allah and Prophet Mohammed. These campaigns are patently not a legitimate protest. They are not even part of an effort to boycott Israeli products or politicians and academics. The real goal of the campaigns is revealed in the words of the Muslim leaders: that Jews have no rights whatsoever to the land, and must be targeted through jihad as infidels and enemies of all Muslims and Arabs.

Muslim scholars have left no room for doubt about their view of the true nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Settlements and checkpoints and fences are irrelevant; Muslim scholars want Jews off what they define as sacred Muslim land. BDS and anti-normalization movement supporters might do well to consider this fact. Failing to do so is tantamount to aiding and abetting Muslims to destroy Israel, and kill as many Jews as possible in the process.

The “Anti-Normalization” Campaign and Israel’s Right to Exist

August 8, 2016

The “Anti-Normalization” Campaign and Israel’s Right to Exist, Gatestone InstituteKhaled Abu Toameh, August 8, 2016

(Please see also, Israeli-Saudi Ties Warming; Hizballah and Iran Livid. — DM)

♦ For many Arabs and Muslims, the conflict with Israel is not about a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines. These opponents have no intention of recognizing Israel’s right to exist, even if it allows for the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

♦ A leading cleric, Dr. Ali Daghi, Secretary-General of the International Muslim Scholars, wrote: “There is a consensus among Muslims, in the past and present, that if an Islamic land is occupied, then its inhabitants must declare jihad until it is liberated from the occupiers.”

♦ “Anyone who calls for peace with the Zionists should brought to trial for high treason. Normalization is treason.” — Ramzi Al-Harbi, Saudi writer.

♦ Let us be clear: these are not fringe voices. This is mainstream Arab and Islamic society. What bothers them is not the “normalization” with the “Zionist entity,” but the fact that Israel exists. For the masses, jihad against Israel is the solution, not another peace initiative endorsed by unelected Arab dictatorships.

Arabs and Muslims are up in arms over a controversial visit to Israel by a retired Saudi general, Dr. Anwar Eshki, who is being accused of promoting “normalization with the Jews and the Zionist entity.” If “normalization” with Israel is being denounced as a major crime and sin, one can only imagine what “peace” with Israelis would be considered in the Arab and Islamic countries.

General Eshki and a delegation of Saudi academics and businessmen met with Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen. Yoav Moderchai and several Knesset members from the opposition. The Saudi delegation also travelled to Ramallah, where its members met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian officials.

1764Retired Saudi general Anwar Eshki (center, in striped tie) and members of his delegation, meeting with Knesset members and others during a visit to Israel, on July 22, 2016. (Image source: Twitter)

The anger engendered by the unprecedented visit by the Saudi delegation to Israel shows that many Arabs and Muslims continue to believe that Israel has no right to exist despite the optimism voiced over the so-called Arab Peace Initiative of 2002.

Several Arab and Muslim leaders insist that, according to this initiative, an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital would lead to the creation of “normal relations” between their countries and Israel.

However, the outrage the Saudi delegation’s visit to Israel has triggered throughout the Arab and Islamic countries points to one conclusion: that for many Arabs and Muslims, the conflict with Israel is not about a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines. Nor is the conflict about Palestinian rights and “normal relations” between Israel and the Arab and Islamic countries.

Those opposed to the visit are expressing their feelings under the banner of “Anti-Normalization” with Israel. The existence of Israel on “Muslim-owned” land, however, is the real problem. These opponents have no intention of recognizing Israel’s right to exist, even if it withdraws to the pre-1967 lines and allows for the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. This, of course, stands in sharp contrast with the spirit of the Arab Peace Initiative, which many in the Western world mistakenly believe would put an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

The first to express outrage over the visit were thousands of Saudis, including top Islamic clerics, who took to social media to express their poison and hatred for Israel and Jews. Many reminded their listeners of fatwas (Islamic religious decrees) banning any form of “normalization” with Israel and Jews, who are referred to as “infidels and polytheists.” The fatwas also forbid Muslims from giving up any part of “Muslim-owned” land to non-Muslims.

In Islam, if land has ever been under Muslim control, like southern Spain, el-Andalus, it must belong to Muslims to be as an endowment, or waqf, held in trust for Allah, in perpetuity. As the entire Middle East was under the control of the Muslim Ottoman Empire from 1259-1924, many Arabs and Muslims believe that the entire area belongs only to Islam, regardless of who may have lived there before.

Jews, who have lived continuously in Biblical Canaan and Judea for three thousand years, might well wonder how they can be accused of “occupying” their own land.

One of the leading clerics, Dr. Ali Daghi, Secretary-General of the International Muslim Scholars, wrote: “There is a consensus among Muslims, in the past and present, that if an Islamic land is occupied, then its inhabitants must declare jihad until it is liberated from the occupiers.”

Clearly the two-state solution is not the goal of this cleric and his friends. Nor are they interested in “Palestinian rights.” Rather Dr. Daghi is concerned about the “right” of Muslims to all the land, including those parts on which Israel exists today.

Another senior Saudi religious leader, Adel Al-Kalbani, the former imam of the Grand Mosque of Mecca, joined the “anti-normalization” campaign by declaring: “When we were young, they used to call them the Zionist enemy. For sixty years, this enemy has not changed. But we have changed!” The “change” he is talking about relates to those few Arabs and Muslims who are willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Saudi sheikh Esam Al-Zamel said, “The hatred for Israel and the Zionist enemy is inscribed in the hearts of our generation. We must inscribe these values and principles in the hearts of our children.”

Another Saudi citizen, Sultan Al-Jumeri, said, “Normalization and extending a hand to the Zionist entity must remain a disgrace and sin that will chase the perpetrators to their last day. This is a betrayal of the history, the land and the martyrs.”

Fahd Al-Shumri, also of Saudi Arabia, remarked, “Normalization means recognition of “Israel.” This will lead to another phase: relinquishing the Al-Aqsa Mosque and recognizing the Jews’ right to the land of Palestine.”

For his part, Hassan Al-Mutairi, a Saudi preacher, wondered, “Is there any Muslim who supports normalization with the Zionists? The stone and tree will remain witness to our enmity to the Jews.”

He is referring to a hadith (the words and actions of Mohammed), which is also a part of theHamas Charter, that states:

“Judgment Day will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind the rocks and the trees, but the rocks and the trees will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him — except for the gharqad tree, which is one of the trees of the Jews.”

Some Saudi and Arab writers described the visit by the Saudi delegation as a “stab in the back” against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) against Israel. They urged the Saudi government to take immediate punitive measures against the former general and his delegation members, in order to deter others from committing such a “big crime” against Arabs and Muslims.

“Israel will remain our number one enemy in spite of the Zionists,” remarked Saudi writer Amal Zahid. Ramzi Al-Harbi, another writer from Saudi Arabia, commented, “Anyone who calls for peace with the Zionists should be brought to trial for high treason. Normalization is treason.”

Many Palestinians also joined the bandwagon by adding their incendiary and hateful remarks against the Saudis who visited Israel.

“We salute every Saudi who rejects normalization with the occupation,” said Palestinian political analyst Ibrahim Al-Madhoun.

Not surprisingly, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups also issued statements strongly condemning the visit of the Saudi delegation to Israel and calling for a ban on such trips. These groups even went as far as condemning a number of Palestinian Authority officials, such as Jibril Rajoub, for participating in the meetings between the Saudi delegation and Israeli officials.

The Palestinian “Resistance Committees,” a coalition of various Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip, denounced the visit as a “crime against Palestine and its people.” The groups described the visit as “shameful” and warned against attempts by some Arabs and Muslims to “accept the existence of the Zionist terrorist entity on the land of Palestine.”

The widespread campaign against the visit of the Saudi delegation to Israel is the direct result of decades of anti-Israel indoctrination in the Arab and Islamic countries, including the Palestinians. At the core of this campaign is the denial of Israel’s right to exist and a denial of any Jewish link to “Muslim-owned” land.

Let us be clear: these are not fringe voices. This is mainstream Arab and Islamic society. The Palestinians, too, have long been part of this campaign, promoting their own “anti-normalization” drive to prevent anyone from meeting with Israelis.

By allowing (and sometimes endorsing) such campaigns, the Palestinian Authority is shooting itself in the head. Each time a PA official, including President Mahmoud Abbas, meets with Israelis, a large group of Palestinian “anti-normalization” activists react by denouncing the encounters and calling for a total boycott of Israel.

The anti-Israel BDS movement provides an inspiration to these haters. As far as the enemies of Israel are concerned, the campaign should not be only about boycotts, divestment and sanctions. As the fury over the visit to Israel clearly shows, what bothers them is not the “normalization” with the “Zionist entity,” but the fact that Israel exists.

The world can continue talking about the Arab Peace Initiative for as long as it wants. The facts on the ground show that the Arab and Muslim masses continue to see Israel as an alien body that was forcibly planted on “Muslim-owned” land. For the masses, jihad against Israel is the solution, not another peace initiative endorsed by unelected Arab dictatorships.