Why is there unending conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East? Is this a 20th century phenomena, or does it have deeper roots? Why does peace seem impossible? To answer these questions one has to look past the current media bent portraying the “Palestinians” as merely seeking self-determination, while Israel is seen as an “occupying force” of Palestinian land. We need to journey much further back in history to reveal the actual roots of this conflict.
Abraham is considered the first patriarch of the Jews. The Arabs also consider him their patriarch. While the Bible makes it clear Abraham is a Jew, the Quran, written centuries later, does not consider him to be a Jew. The matter is further complicated because Isaac, (a Jew) and Ishmael, (an Arab) both sons of Abraham, have different mothers. One might characterize their relationship as the biggest, longest running and most violent family feud in history.
Fast forward to the time of Mohammed and the birth of Islam. When Mohammed began teaching the Jews they were initially intrigued. However, when it became clear he wasn't familiar with Jewish scripture and tradition the Jews rejected his teachings and didn't view him as a prophet. This angered Mohammed. He instructed his followers who had been facing Jerusalem when praying to turn away from it. This remains the case today.
Events turned increasingly hostile with three Jewish tribes of Medina. In the case of the Bani Quraiza tribe Mohammed ordered them to be killed. Approximately 900 were slain.
His anger at the Jews refusing to accept him as a prophet resulted in numerous anti-Jewish verses in the Quran. Examples include: "Allah stamped wretchedness upon the Jews….because they disbelieved Allah's revelations." "Allah turned the Sabbath-breaking Jews into apes." "Allah has cursed the Jews and hardened their hearts. Nearly all of them are treacherous." A recent column in the official PA Daily referring to Jews as "Allah's enemies" confirms this viewpoint remains current as well as mainstream.
Whose god is greater?
Hatred of Jews has been a cornerstone of Islam from its birth, which explains why the contentious relationship between Arabs and Jews is not a 20th century phenomena. It also offers insight into why today's conflict has nothing to do with incorrect accusations of Israel wanting to subjugate Arabs, or "occupy their land.”
Indeed the modern conflict stems from Islam's goal of destroying Israel and annihilating the Jewish people, in accordance with Islamic eschatology, expressed in the Quran. It also helps explain why Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 didn't bring peace. It's because Israel still existed after the withdrawal. Islam's objective is the elimination of 100% of Israel. Nothing less is acceptable. Far too many people fail to understand this critical point.
In the eyes of many Muslims, accepting Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state on land viewed as theirs is considered blasphemy.
In the final analysis, it's essential to understand the conflict between the Arabs and Jews is not about borders. If it was it could have been solved long ago. As Walid Shoebat, a longtime Muslim terrorist who became a Christian in the 1990s, said: "The conflict has nothing to do with land. It's about whose god is greater." I believe Mr. Shoebat has an excellent point.
Dan Calic: writer, advocate, speaker. See additional articles on his Facebook page