Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tilley Has Responded - As Have I

Dear Mr. Medad:

These deaths you cite of little Yehudah and Shalva are extremely sad and part of the miserable tragedy that is Israeli settlement policy in occupied land. And of course, Yehudah and Shalva are not alone. But of what, precisely, are they the victims?

Of course the violence is two-sided, but that does not signify that it is the same. The massacre of "innocent" white settler families in North America by angry Native American death squads was also a tragedy. No one excuses the Sioux or Comanche or Apache men who ran a hatchet through a little child's head, disemboweled her mother, and crucified her father next to their prairie log home, whatever their own frustrations, anger, and grief over the deaths by mutilation and/or starvation of their own families and clans. But the larger picture matters. Who is invading and displacing whom? Whose society is being decimated, who are being impoverished and humiliated, whose youth is being deprived of any future? What side is losing dozens, and what size is losing thousands? What is invasion and what is resistance to invasion? Most of all, what is necessary to make this violence stop?

You are fully aware that the vast majority of West Bank settlers live in major urban centres like Ma'ale Adumim and Gilo and Gush Etzion and now Har Homa. They do not even consider these settlements to be "settlements" -- they call them "neighborhoods". They do not even see the army, except as comforting checkpoints, that operates so freely beyond the comforting wall. They do not stand in the endless lines trying to reach a job, a school, a field, a family member. They do not see their year's crop rot in trucks stopped at sealed borders. They live in a carefully and artfully constructed bubble of quasi-normalcy, in which the violence of the displaced can manifest only as pathological because their own flowers bloom so hopefully and all they want is a decent life for their families in pretty homes.

Hence the settlements themselves cultivate a mind-set that casts all resistance as animalistic. These natives didn't even accept peace when it was offered to them (1947, 1967, 1995, whenever). Islam teaches hatred. The Jews have to have "somewhere to go". The Arab armies attacked us first. Etc., etc., etc.

All this is the classic worldview of the peaceful colonist who can't understand the savage attacks of the natives against their peaceful homes. If only the world would understand, the colonist thinks, it would stop worrying about these backward hateful people and defend civilization. But that dream is hopeless, I'm afraid. Little Shalva died, and probably more innocent young Jewish settler children will die before this is all over. But that is just part of the overall misery of taking someone else's land and pretending it is okay.



My response:-

So, the Jews had/have a choice: stay in the countries of exile and be killed in pogroms (Russia; and during the Crusades in Germany); be burned at the stake (Spain); tortured on the rack (Portugal & Spain); etc., etc. Or go back home and face the Arab.

The one advantage is, despite your avoidance of the issue, that Eretz-Yisrael is the Jewish national homeland and even the Arabs know that. Maybe that's why they are fighting so hard.

Here's one comment by a pro-Zionist Muslim:-



"Pharoah sought to scare them [the Israelites] out of the land [of Israel]: but We [Allah] drowned him [Pharoah] together with all who were with him. Then We [Allah] said to the Israelites: 'Dwell in this land [the Land of Israel]. When the promise of the hereafter [End of Days] comes to be fulfilled, We [Allah] shall assemble you [the Israelites] all together [in the Land of Israel]."

[Qur'an, "Night Journey," chapter 17:100-104]


God wanted to give Avraham a double blessing, through Ishmael and through Isaac, and ordered that Ishmael's descendents should live in the desert of Arabia and Isaac's in Canaan.

The Qur'an recognizes the Land of Israel as the heritage of the Jews and it explains that, before the Last Judgment, Jews will return to dwell there. This prophecy has already been fulfilled.

The fundamentalist Muslim program to use Islam as an instrument for political warfare against Jews finds a major obstacle in the Qur'an itself. Both the Bible and the Qur'an state quite clearly that the right of the Israelites to the Land of Israel does not depend on conquest and colonization. This right flows from the will of almighty God Himself.

Both the Jewish and Islamic Scriptures teach that God, through His chosen servant Moses, decided to free the offspring of Jacob from slavery in Egypt and to constitute them as heirs of the Promised Land. Whoever claims that Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel is something new and rooted in human politics denies divine revelation and divine prophecy as explicitly expressed in our Holy Books (the Bible and Koran).

The Qur'an relates the words by which Moses ordered the Israelites to conquer the Land:

"And [remember] when Moses said to his people: 'O my people, call in remembrance the favour of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the peoples. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin.'" [Qur'an 5:20-21]

Moreover - and those who try to use Islam as a weapon against Israel always conveniently ignore this point - the Holy Qur'an explicitly refers to the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel before the Last Judgment - where it says: "And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: 'Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd.'" [Qur'an 17:104]

Therefore, from an Islamic point of view, there is NO fundamental reason which prohibits Muslims from recognizing Israel as a friendly State.

In any case, I presume that I wish to emphasize to you that we are not "colonists" nor "settlers". We are not like the people who invaded North America or South Africa. Our culture, religion and national psyche are inherently bound up with the Land of Israel.

However, my point about "pottering" still holds. The antipathy to Jewish nationalism eventually leads very moral people to disdain the persons who are "causing problems" and instead of expressing sympathy with the victims, they themselves get blamed. That is abhorrent to me.

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