Islam and the Problem of Israel: Chapter 1


The Three-Cornered Nature of the Problem

A. Historical Preview

The problem of Israel confronting the Muslim World today has neither precedent nor parallel in Islamic history. The Muslim World has tended to regard it as another instance of Modern colonialism, or at best, as a repetition of the Crusades. The difference is not that Israel is neither one of these; but that it is both and more, much more. Unfortunately, there is no Islamic literature on the subject. The need for this analysis of the problem is, therefore, as great as the present moment which calls upon the Arab World in particular and the Muslim World in general to accept Israel as an integral member of a world-of Muslim-nations in Asia-Africa.

The “Problem of Israel” is a three-cornered affair, involving the Muslim World, Western Christendom and the Jews. The first two have been locked in struggle ever since the rise of the Islamic state in Madinah in 622. Indeed, even earlier. Christian commercial interest had pushed Abyssinia into launching a colonialist venture in South Arabia in 560 A. C. and an attempt to destroy the power of Makkah in the “Year of the Elephant,” or 570 A. C., the year of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam). Even as early as that time, Western Christendom saw fit to use the religious zeal of Eastern Christians in order to exploit both them and the pre-Islamic Arabs for commercial profit.

Pre-Islamic Arabia was a religious vacuum at the time, and the Christians of the West who held the reins of power in their hand were not concerned with preaching the faith. Rather, they were immersed in political struggles on the internal front, and economic and military struggle on the external. Arabia had no significance for them except as a trade route. When the new Islamic state began to raise its head following the integration of Makkah and most of the tribes of Western and South Arabia, Byzantium saw fit to mobilize its puppet armies in South Palestine and Jordan, a move which brought about the first military encounter between Islam and Christendom, the Campaign of Mu’tah (9 A.H./631 A. C.).

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PA’s future not only in Palestinian hands

Ghassan Khatib

The goal of establishing a Palestinian national authority on Palestinian soil is one of the most important goals of the Palestinian people’s struggle. The establishment of the current Palestinian Authority in 1994 came to translate this goal into reality. Some considered this incomplete authority an attempt to abort the Palestinian national liberation struggle. But with the passage of time, all Palestinians dealt with the PA as, at least, an authority of the Palestinian people inside the occupied Palestinian territories and eventually almost all the political factions in these territories competed to join and control this authority.
It is well understood that the PA is incomplete, restricted and limited. The hope of those heading this authority was that it would gradually develop into an independent state with full sovereignty. But Israel continued to exercise control over the vital aspects of the lives of Palestinians and their authority, such as the borders, the crossings, the land, air and sea space as well as security. The failure of the final status negotiations in Camp David in 2000 brought back violence to Palestinian-Israeli relations.

In the years up to 2006, Israel worked on narrowing the space granted the PA not only geographically, but also at the economic, security and political levels. Israel intermittently halted transferring the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA according to the Oslo Accords and it put into action a systematic destruction of the majority of the security infrastructure of the PA. It destroyed many of the civil authority institutions and severely restricted the movement of goods and persons from, to and within the various parts of the PA territories. Finally, Israel severed any political dealing with the Palestinian leadership and considered it “irrelevant”.

Israeli measures impeding the work of the PA escalated even further after Hamas won the majority of the PLC seats in January 2006 and formed the government. Again, Israel halted the transfer of tax revenues and tightened restrictions on movement even further. The basic difference this time was the positions of the international community and the Arab world, which tried to compensate the Palestinian people but also chose to be part of the siege on the Palestinian government.

The Israeli measures have now reached a point where Israel is arresting elected PLC members as well as ministers in the government. This has prompted questions to be raised among Palestinian political circles about Israel’s aims and long-term goals regarding the PA and the Palestinians, the position of the international community and, finally, about the best means Palestinians can adopt to confront all of these challenges.

Is Israel really interested in the continued existence of the PA? Are Palestinians? If the PA should be dissolved, will Israel accept its responsibilities as an occupying power vis-a-vis the Palestinian people?

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HOPE: Palestine Revisited

We cordially invite you to


on 2nd September 2006

A seminar featuring:

Dr. Daud Abdullah
Matthias Chang
Prof. A. B. Kopansky
Ustaz Maszlee Malik

A preview of a Palestinian documentary film: “Jenin, Jenin”.

Date: 2nd September 2005
Venue: Dewan Merdeka, PWTC, Kuala Lumpur.
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Tickets: RM 30 & RM 50
*no meals provided

Organized by ADNI Alumni Association

In conjunction with Al-Quds Day of 21st August

Heaven Of Peace & Education
“Bringing Peace and Security Through Charity and Education”

For tickets and inquiries, please contact:

Ahmad – 019 2117942
Jabbar – 012 3851477
Or e-mail to

More info at

For inquiries please call the Syed – 019 2456853!


Bank-in to our Maybank account 5621 8810 1300, IIC Development Sdn. Bhd. (Please call Syed for further action)

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Spiegel interview with Jimmy Carter

“The US and Israel Stand Alone”

Former US president Jimmy Carter speaks with DER SPIEGEL about the danger posed to American values by George W. Bush, the difficult situation in the Middle East and Cuba’s ailing Fidel Castro.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Carter, in your new book you write that only the American people can ensure that the US government returns to the country’s old moral principles. Are you suggesting that the current US administration of George W. Bush of acting immorally?

Carter: There’s no doubt that this administration has made a radical and unpressured departure from the basic policies of all previous administrations including those of both Republican and Democratic presidents.

SPIEGEL: For example?

Carter: Under all of its predecessors there was a commitment to peace instead of preemptive war. Our country always had a policy of not going to war unless our own security was directly threatened and now we have a new policy of going to war on a preemptive basis. Another very serious departure from past policies is the separation of church and state, which I describe in the book. This has been a policy since the time of Thomas Jefferson and my own religious beliefs are compatible with this. The other principle that I described in the book is basic justice. We’ve never had an administration before that so overtly and clearly and consistently passed tax reform bills that were uniquely targeted to benefit the richest people in our country at the expense or the detriment of the working families of America.

SPIEGEL: You also mentioned the hatred for the United States throughout the Arab world which has ensued as a result of the invasion of Iraq. Given this circumstance, does it come as any surprise that Washington’s call for democracy in the Middle East has been discredited?

Carter: No, as a matter of fact, the concerns I exposed have gotten even worse now with the United States supporting and encouraging Israel in its unjustified attack on Lebanon.

SPIEGEL: But wasn’t Israel the first to get attacked?

Carter: I don’t think that Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon. What happened is that Israel is holding almost 10,000 prisoners, so when the militants in Lebanon or in Gaza take one or two soldiers, Israel looks upon this as a justification for an attack on the civilian population of Lebanon and Gaza. I do not think that’s justified, no.

SPIEGEL: Do you think the United States is still an important factor in securing a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis?

Carter: Yes, as a matter of fact as you know ever since Israel has been a nation the United States has provided the leadership. Every president down to the ages has done this in a fairly balanced way, including George Bush senior, Gerald Ford, and others including myself and Bill Clinton. This administration has not attempted at all in the last six years to negotiate or attempt to negotiate a settlement between Israel and any of its neighbors or the Palestinians.

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