For most of the world, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is a simple one in which two peoples claim the same land. It is not now nor has it ever been solely about land. The conflict is rooted in religion at least from the time of the Mufti of Jerusalem’s instigation of riots against the Jews long before the State of Israel existed or there were any settlements or “occupation.” This should be painfully obvious given the rioting at the Al-Aqsa mosque and the fact that Hamas is using the defense of Al-Aqsa as the pretense for declaring war on Israel’s civilian population.
Some might agree that religion is a fact but blame the Jews for claiming Israel as the land God promised to them, even though Israel has repeatedly proved willing to share that land. The Palestinians have not.
If you want to understand why there can be no peace without the defeat of Hamas and radical change on the Palestinian side, simply read the following from the Hamas covenant:
- The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that.
- Nationalism, from the point of view of the Islamic Resistance Movement, is part of the religious creed. Nothing in nationalism is more significant or deeper than in the case when an enemy should tread Muslim land. Resisting and quelling the enemy become the individual duty of every Muslim, male or female.
- Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts … The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported … until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realized.
- [Hamas] strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine ….
- In [the] face of the Jews’ usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised.
- The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews. When the Jew 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.”
- There is no solution for the Palestine question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.
- Palestine is an Islamic land … liberation of Palestine is then an individual duty for every Muslim wherever he may be.
- The Zionist invasion is a vicious invasion. It does not refrain from resorting to all methods, using all evil and contemptible ways to achieve its end. It relies greatly in its infiltration and espionage operations on the secret organizations it gave rise to, such as the Freemasons, the Rotary and Lions clubs, and other sabotage groups. All these organizations, whether secret or open, work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions. They aim at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting consciences, deteriorating character and annihilating Islam. It is behind the drug trade and alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate its control and expansion.
- Leaving the circle of struggle with Zionism is high treason, and cursed be he who does that.
- Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people. “May the cowards never sleep.”
- It is the duty of the followers of other religions to stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region …
It is also worth mentioning the charter says: “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders. It goes back to 1939, to the emergence of the martyr Izz al-Din al Kissam and his brethren the fighters, members of Muslim Brotherhood.” Note that Israel did not exist or occupy an inch of land in 1939.
Like those who dismissed Hitler’s public declarations of his intention to exterminate the Jews, people who think the conflict can be ended by coming up with a better peace plan or pressuring Israel to capitulate to Palestinian demands ignore what Hamas explicitly declares as its intention. And, incidentally, this applies to the supposedly secular Fatah, which has long abused Islam to incite violence and is no less committed to the same objectives as Hamas (read the PLO Charter).
Israel has made peace now with six Muslim nations, so it is not Islam that is the obstacle to peace. Those Muslim leaders were not Islamic extremists like the leaders of Hamas, and they changed their attitude towards Israel because they were willing to act in the best interests of their people. That has never been the case for the Palestinians.
What Golda Meir said in 1973 is relevant to understanding the conflict with the Palestinians today: “We’re the only people in the world where our neighbors openly announce they just won’t have us here. And they will not give up fighting and they will not give up war as long as we remain alive … this is the crux of the problem: it isn’t anything concrete that they want from us. That’s why it doesn’t make sense when people say, ‘Give up this and give up the other place’ … . They say we must be dead. And we say we want to be alive. Between life and death, I don’t know of a compromise.”
I’m also reminded of what Meir said to a senator named Joe Biden, “Don’t look so sad, Senator, we have a secret weapon in our battle against the Arabs. Senator, we have no place else to go.”
Mitchell Bard is a foreign-policy analyst and an authority on U.S.-Israel relations who has written and edited 22 books, including “The Arab Lobby, Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews” and “After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.”