Whenever he holds the upper hand, he goes about the earth corrupting it, destroying (people's) crops and animals. Allah does not love corruption.
What Should Be The Muslim Perspective Regarding Israel And The Jews?
In this section of the book we shall be examining the oppression and pains our Palestinian brothers have been suffering for the last 60 years or so. However, before looking at the events in Palestine there is one very important point we need to clarify, the attitude that Muslims need to adopt toward Israel, Zionism and the Jews. First and foremost we need to make it quite clear that, in this book as in our other works, the criticisms in it are not directed against the Jewish people or Israel as a whole. It is a known fact that, under the influence of various superstitious traditions, radical thinking or ideologies based on atheism, some Jews support a policy that incites and is based on violence. However, that does not mean that all Jews are responsible for the suffering and conflict taking place. Indeed, devout Jews who believe in the Oneness of Allah also criticize the policy of violence followed by certain circles within the Israeli administration, and are often in fact they become the main target of this oppression.
To summarize, the object of criticism is superstitious traditions that seek to supposedly legitimize violence and ruthlessness by misinterpreting the Bible and a radical world view that regards other people as second class and considers it perfectly normal to inflict oppression and injustice on them on the basis of those traditions. In other words, it is radical, atheist Zionism, a social Darwinist and occupying ideology. Zionism emerged in the 19th century as an ideology that espoused a homeland for the Jews who were then without one. As time passed, however, Zionism underwent a process of degeneration, as happens with many ideologies, and that legitimate demand turned into a radical and irreligious conception that resorted to violence and terror in practice and formed alliances with extremist forces.
There are two varieties of Zionism today. The first of these is the Zionist conception of devout Jewish people, who wish to live in peace and security in Israel alongside Muslims, seeking peace and wishing to worship in the lands of their forefathers and engage in business. Muslims are not opposed to Zionism in that sense. For devout Jews to live in peace and security in the lands holy to them, to remember Allah and worship in their synagogues, to occupy themselves with science and business, in short, to live and settle freely in those lands, is not something to alarm any Muslim. Indeed, it is a good thing that Muslims would rejoice at. Throughout the course of history it has always been Muslims who have enabled the Jews to survive the hardships and sufferings they have experienced, and who have sheltered and protected them.
The Zionist belief held by a devout Jew and, as described above, based on the Torah does not conflict with Islam. It is revealed in the Qur'an that Allah has settled the Children of Israel in that region:
Remember when Moses said to his people, "My people! Remember Allah's blessing to you when He appointed prophets among you and appointed kings for you, and gave you what He had not given to anyone else in all the worlds! My people! Enter the Holy Land which Allah has ordained for you. Do not turn back in your tracks and so become transformed into losers." (Surat al-Ma'ida: 20-21)
Jews therefore have the right to live freely in these lands, but that right also applies to Muslims, and of course Christians, who have also lived in them for hundreds of years and believe in the sacred character of the region. These blessed lands are sufficiently broad, lovely and fertile for all faiths and communities to live together in peace. The right to life of one does not disqualify others from enjoying the same right.
Therefore, it is the "irreligious, Godless Zionism" that we condemn and regard as a threat to all mankind. These atheist Zionists, who do not defend the existence and oneness of Allah, but, on the contrary, encourage a Darwinist, materialist perspective and thus engage in irreligious propaganda, are also a threat to devout Jews and devout Christians. Atheistic Zionism is today engaged in a struggle against peace, security and moral virtue, and constantly produces strife and confusion and the shedding of blood. Muslims and devout Jews and Christians must join forces to oppose this Godless Zionism and encourage belief in Allah.
Relations between sincere and devout Jews and Muslims must exist within a framework of affection, respect and compassion. That is because this is the moral values and behavior that Allah reveals to Muslims in the Noble Qur'an and that the Prophet (saas) shows us through his own life.
The Exiling of the Palestinian People
(left)1967 POPULATION (right)1997 POPULATION
Population change between the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967 and 1997. The Jewish population is shown in blue and the Arab population in red.
In the early 1900s, Jews constituted less than 10 percent of the population of Palestine. The number of Jewish migrants, 100,000 in the 1920s, reached 232,000 in the 1930s according to official figures. By 1939 there were 445,000 Jews out of a total population of 1.5 million. From representing 10 percent of the population just two decades before, they now constituted 30 percent by 1939. Jewish settlement areas were also expanded in line with the rise in population. By 1939 the land owned by Jews had doubled in comparison to the 1920s. By 1947, there were 630,000 Jews in Palestine and 1.3 million Palestinians. Between the partitioning of Palestine by the United Nations on November 29, 1947 and the founding of the state of Israel on May 15, 1948, the Israelis acquired a substantial part of Palestinian lands. At this point, it needs to be stated that Jews have a perfect right to want a homeland belonging to themselves. And there is nothing wrong in that homeland being in Palestine, the historic home of the Jews. However, it is most unjust and cruel for atheist Zionists to believe in and implement a plan intended to exile the Muslim Arabs living in the country or otherwise annihilate them. These lands are wide enough for Arabs and Jews to live together in peace. The existence of one does not depend on the annihilation of the other. There is no reason why these two people, one descended from Hazrat Jacob (as) and the other from Hazrat Ishmael (as), should not live together as brothers.
Yet during the foundation of Israel, atheist Zionists followed a ruthless policy aimed at the elimination of Muslim Arabs, and as a result of pressure and killing in Palestinian villages, the number of Palestinians living in some 500 cities, towns and villages fell from 950,000 to 138,000. A great number of these peoplb e had been killed, and others were exiled. The atheist Zionistterror groups attacked Muslim villages at night. Muslims were shot, and everywhere these groups passed through was burned and destroyed. By these means, some 400 Palestinian villages were wiped off the map in 1948 and 1949. The property left behind by the Palestinians was taken over by the atheist Zionists by virtue of the Absentee Property Law. Until 1947, Jewish land ownership in Palestine was some 6%. By the time the state was formally established, it had 90% of the land.9 The Palestinian Arabs were left with just two separate areas, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
As we have seen, although there was no reason why Jews and Muslims should not live together in peace, atheist Zionists forced the Palestinian people to abandon the lands they had lived on for hundreds of years. Joseph Weitz, the head of the Israeli government's transfer committee of 1948, wrote in his diary in December 20, 1940: "It must be clear that there is no room for both peoples in this country. No development will bring us closer to our aim, to be an independent people in this small country. After the Arabs are transferred, the country will be wide open for us; with the Arabs staying, the country will remain narrow and restricted. The only way is to transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries, all of them. Not a single village, or a single tribe must be left."10 Heilburn, the chairman of the committee for the re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, expressed the atheist Zionist view of the Palestinian people in these words: "We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves."11
For a Palestinian, setting out on what should be a 15-minute trip to go to work or visit a relative living in a nearby refugee camp becomes a true ordeal. He will suffer verbal and physical abuse from Israeli soldiers at the regular security checkpoints along the road.
By far the greater part of the Palestinian Muslims who were forcibly removed from the places they had lived in for hundreds of years are still living in refugee camps. The number of Palestinians living in refugee camps, and in those in neighboring countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, is some 3.5 million. (This figure is based on statistics completed at the end of the 1990s.)
The conditions faced by the Palestinians in the refugee camps and the regions under Israeli occupation are particularly unpleasant. These people have difficulties in meeting even their most basic human needs. They can enjoy electricity and water only to the extent that the state of Israel gives permission, and have to walk miles to poorly paid jobs in order to make a living. Even journeys of just 10-15 minutes, to go to work or visit relatives in a nearby refugee camp, are not easy for a Palestinian. They are subjected to identity checks at frequent intervals along the road, and to verbal and physical abuse. Sometime Israeli soldiers close roads for "security" reasons, and Palestinians are then unable to go to work, or anywhere, not even to hospital if they are ill.
As well as all this, they survive every day with the constant fear of being killed, injured or detained. That is because the people living in the camps are frequently subjected to armed attacks by some fanatical Jews particularly during the night.
In his book The Israeli Connection, Benjamin Beit Hallahmi, a professor of psychology at Israel's Haifa University, describes the situation of the Muslims living in the Gaza Strip and Israel's view of them:
In 1986, the Gaza population stood at 525,000 and the density at 2,150 per square kilometer (in Israel it is 186). Most able-bodied Gazans, starting sometimes at age eight, work in Israel, at wages which are 40 percent below average Israeli pay. They pay income tax - without being entitled to any benefits, since they are defined as nonresidents.
In the Israeli consciousness Gaza has become the symbol of helplessness and squalor, but there is no sympathy for the denizens of Gaza, for they are the enemy.12
It will be useful at this point to briefly consider the impressions of a Palestinian-American citizen who visited the refugee camps in order to get a better idea of the conditions there. Yasmine Subhi Ali, a medical student, says this of her 1999 visit to the Shatila Camp:
Persecution of the Civilian Population
Some circles that enjoy influence within the Israeli administration, have implemented a systematic state terror toward the Palestine people since the beginning. Naturally, the main targets of that terror are the Muslims living in the region. For half a century now, Palestinian Muslims have been ejected from their homes with no justification even being offered, and have been shot and attacked, have seen their homes demolished and their fields and gardens torn up, and been subjected to torture and violence. What is going on in Palestinian lands reveals that there is a terrible oppression and harshness prevailing within the country.
Very few of the attacks on and bombings of women, young people and children in Palestine are reported by the world media.
In Palestine, 70% of whose population consists of young people, children have experienced exile, detentions, imprisonment and slaughter ever since the occupation in 1948. They have been treated as second-class citizens in their own land, and learned to survive, even under the most intolerable conditions. Half of those who lost their lives in the Intifada which started with Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to the Dome of the Rock in October 2000 were under age 16. Sixty percent of those injured were less than 18. At least five children a day still die in those regions where the conflict continues, and more than 10 are injured.
Journalist-writer Ruth Anderson described the inhuman images from the Aksa Intifada in The Palestine Chronicle, published in Palestine:
Most Palestinians, forced by Jews off lands they had lived for thousands of years, are still struggling to survive in refugee camps. The current number of those living in such camps totals some 3.5 million. These camps are frequently subjected to abuse, oppression and bombing by the state of Israel.
No one mentions the newly married young man who went off to demonstrate only to die a martyr leaving his young bride a widow. No one mentions the Palestinian youth whose head was crushed by Israelis and whose arms were broken before he was so brutally slaughtered. No one mentions the little 8-year-old boy who was shot to death by Israeli soldiers. No one says how (some) Jewish settlers armed with all sorts of weapons and encouraged by Barak's government, storm Palestinian villages and uproot olive trees and murder Palestinian civilians. No one mentions the Palestinian babies who have died when their homes were bombed by air raids or who were caught in a hail of Israeli bullets while being transported to an envisioned safety. Everyone knows that babies cannot throw stones. Everyone knows but Israelis and Americans.14
The reply from Ehud Barak, the prime minister of the time, to the inhuman scenes going on in Palestine was particularly interesting. He simply stated that he doesn't mind how the conflict in Gaza, the West Bank and the other zones will ever die down and that the use of all means against Palestinians crowds was justified. He also noted that he is not interested in how many Palestinians die, but he is only concerned with the security of his own people.15
The response from E. Eytan, a general in the Israeli army, is even more thought-provoking. He stated that they do not regret anything they have done and they are ready to use all means for the security for their people and soldiers. He said that the order was given to the troops to use weapons against Palestinian demonstrators and that people must be shot in the head and chest to instill fear into the population.16
The above statements from some Israeli officials are the clearest possible expression of this cruel mentality. The figures show that most Israeli soldiers carried out their orders with the greatest efficiency. According to a Palestine Health Organisation report, 34 percent of the more than 400 people killed during the Aqsa Intifada were under age 18. The important thing, however, is that 47 percent of the dead were people who did not take part in the demonstrations or clashes. Thirty-eight percent of those injured on the West Bank were hit by real bullets, and 75 percent of those in the upper parts of their bodies. In the Gaza Strip, 40 percent were injured by real bullets, and 61 percent of them in the upper body, in other words in the chest. The total number of wounded exceeded 10,000. Some 1,500 people suffered permanent disabilities. The hospitals where these people were being treated were also frequently attacked. A total of 1,450 people were detained, and 750 of these are still in Israeli prisons.
THE CHILDREN WERE ALSO SUBJECTED TO ATTACKS
A chart showing the numbers of people killed in the al-Aqsa Intifada, and where they were hit. It shows that the children and the young in particular were targeted and shot in the head and chest to be sure of killing them..
A PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE ARCHIVES The Israelis carry out their killings before the eyes of the world.
Some 2,760 buildings were seriously damaged. Of these, 773 were the homes of Palestinian civilians, 180 of which were completely destroyed. Among the damaged buildings were 29 mosques, 12 churches and 44 water depots. Forty-one schools were rendered completely unusable, and four of them were actually used as military warehouses by Israeli troops. Thirty school buildings were burned by Israeli soldiers. The situation led to damage totaling around $400,000.
The defenseless, including young Palestinians no more than children were often shot at.
Finally, 45 students were killed on their way back home from school during the first two months of the al-Aqsa Intifada.17
All these statistics point to one clear fact: There has been a conscious and systematic policy of the elimination of the Palestinian people. The above figures show that Israeli troops did not use their weapons to remove a threat to public security, but to kill and maim. Most of the children who were killed and crippled were shot in the head or chest, or else from behind. It is obvious that no soldier whose aim is simply to maintain order would shoot people in the head or chest, or from behind as they run away.
It is also completely unacceptable for some Palestinians to perpetrate acts of violence against innocent Israeli civilians. However, Muslims are charged with behaving in the manner commanded by Allah and being guided by the sunnah of the Prophet (saas), at all moments of their lives.
In the verses of the Qur'an Allah calls people to the ethics of Islam, through which the world can be made a haven for peace and love. Allah commands us to rule justly without discriminating among people, to preserve people's rights, not to tolerate cruelty, to support the oppressed in the face of cruelty, and to lend a helping hand to those in need. This justice requires one to face a decision by protecting the rights of both parties, to evaluate events objectively, and to think without bias. It requires justice, honesty, mercy, and compassion.
Palestine Chronicle, November 13, 02
In addition to attacks by Israeli forces, the Palestinian people are also struggling with economic difficulties, hunger and drought.
It is obvious that attacks such as these against civilians cannot be excused. As explained above, such a method is absolutely inconsistent with Islam. When we examine the Qur'anic verses and the actions of the Prophet (saas), it is clear that there is no place in Islam for attacks against civilians. Whether during the conquest of Mecca or during other wars, the Prophet carefully protected the rights of innocent and unarmed people, and prevented them from being harmed. He reminded believers in this regard on various occasions, commanding them to "Set out for war in the name of Allah and for the sake of Allah. Do not lay hands on the old verging on death, on women, children and babies. Do good, for Allah loves the virtuous and pious" (Muslim) Muslims oppose tyranny and barbarism, the unnecessary use of weapons, and all unjust practices.
In any discussion of the attacks on Israeli citizens, another topic which must be examined is the place of suicide in Islam. Some circles are gravely misinformed about Islam, believing that this religion of peace permits the practice of suicide attacks; nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that Islam forbids the taking of one's own life, just as it forbids the taking of another's. Allah condemns suicide explicitly when he says, "do not kill yourselves." (Surat an-Nisa': 29). No matter what his reason, it is forbidden in Islam for anyone to kill himself. The Prophet (saas) also condemns suicide in one of the hadiths, indicating that those who choose this path will suffer eternal damnation:
Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in the (Hell) Fire falling down into it and abiding therein perpetually forever; and whoever drinks poison and kills himself with it, he will be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever; and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever. (Muslim)
Consequently, every Muslim should condemn these incidents, which cast a pall on the just cause of the Palestinian people.
During the events sparked off by Israel's opening a tunnel near the Jerusalem Mosque that had been kept closed for centuries, the Palestinian minister of finance was attacked by Israeli troops wielding sticks (top left). The sufferings of the Palestinians, one which has been going on for more than half a century now, were countered with bombs, bullets and truncheons.
Al Jamiat, October 02
The Guardian, July 21, 01
PRAYERS AT GUNPOINT
Have you seen him who prevents a servant when he goes to pray? (Surat Al-'Alaq: 9-10)
It should be bore in mind that any mode of struggle outside of the values of the Qur'an – for example, the "guerilla" tactics envisaged by communist ideology – is not correct, and cannot succeed. For this reason current situation on Palestinian lands must be evaluated sensibly and realistically, and a new strategy consistent with the Qur'an must be determined.
Washington Report, August-September 97
Disproportionate force inflicted on the defenseless costs many harmless people their lives.
One could say a great deal more, and cite a great many more examples of what is going on in Palestine. Yet what we must above all not forget is the responsibility that falls to every person of conscience in the face of them. The events in Palestine mean much more than an Arab-Israeli war. First of all, the Muslim people who lives under constraint and oppression are engaged on an important quest for justice. Moreover, atheist Zionist oppression also afflicts devout Jews and Christians. It is not only the Palestinians who are trapped behind walls. Everyone in the region, incuding Israeli citizens, has been comdemned to live behind walls when they could be travelling and doing business perfectly freely. That is why all believers have a duty to wage a war of ideas with those ideologies used to support the continuing oppression in Palestine, and to try to find a solution to it.
Every person of conscience must consider that fact and look for a way out. As we have said in other sections of this book, that way out lies in spreading Qur'anic morality among people worldwide. That is the only way to bring about peace and brotherhood, whether in Palestine or any of the many other countries experiencing war and conflict. If the justice, cooperation, compassion, love, self-sacrifice and forgiveness that the morality of the Qur'an commands come to prevail in the world, then the result will be a place of justice, peace and security.
With the words, "Let there be a community among you who call to the good, and enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong. They are the ones who have success" (Surat Al 'Imran: 104), Allah draws attention to this honorable duty placed on all believers. What all Muslims therefore need to do is themselves to live by a morality that is pleasing to Him, explain it to other people, and preach the morality of the Qur'an to the entire world.
17.These figures cover the period from September 2000 to March 2001. They were compiled by the Palestinian HDIP Institute from information supplied by organizations working in the region, such as the Red Cross and the United Nations. See http://www.hdip.org