This is a religious war, not a territorial dispute

The original sin: “occupation” or being Jewish? By Elder of Ziyon

In the aftermath of the Har Nof shul terror attack there have been some outstanding pieces in the various media on the root causes of Palestinian rejectionism.  Contrary to what most of the world believes, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is not a territorial dispute.  At base it boils down to “the Muslims don’t want us here in Israel. In fact they don’t want us to live at all, anywhere”. In other words it is a religious war against the Jews.

But, as David Horovitz in the Times of Israel says, Palestinians should know it’s not going to work: (emphases are mine).

“Jerusalem is starting to burn. Religious fervor is intensifying,” I wrote here less than two weeks ago. On a day when Palestinian terrorists chose to target Jews at prayer in a synagogue, the centrality of religious dispute to this latest iteration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is now unmistakable.

And at the core of this new iteration, Tuesday’s attack made murderously clear, is Muslim intolerance — of the very notion that Jews have a religious connection to the Temple Mount, and by extension to Jerusalem and to Israel.

Because the final thing that has to be put in writing, even on a horrible, evil day like this, when the fingers loathe the necessity to tap the keyboard, is that it’s not going to work. Palestinian terrorists, and those who incite them and support them, should know: We are not going to be shot and stabbed and bludgeoned out of here by your brutality and the false justifications you invoke to legitimate it.

We stood firm during year upon year of Second Intifada terrorism, when you were blowing up our buses, malls, restaurants and supermarkets, and pragmatism could have dictated that we do what the terrorism was designed to make us do: flee. We do not insist on maintaining our majority Jewish state to the exclusion of your rights. Anything but. We seek co-existence. But your rights cannot be achieved by denying us ours.

For this is the homeland of the Jewish nation, the only place we have ever been sovereign or sought sovereignty. And what needs writing and saying, most especially on a terrible day like today, is that we will not be driven from it.

Similarly,the blogger Abu Yehuda notes the religious roots of the conflict and writes: This is the Jewish State, get used to it:

It’s time for a reevaluation of the relationship between Israel and the PA, as well as its Arab residents. I suggest that we start with the passage of the Basic Law that defines Israel as the state of the Jewish people, and follow up with the annexation of Area C, the parts of Judea and Samaria that are under Israeli control and where all the Jewish communities are. Areas A and B, where 97% of the Arabs live, can be granted political autonomy, but must remain under Israeli security control — borders, airspace, etc.

Is this a problem? Too bad. A completely sovereign ‘Palestine’ in the territories is inconsistent with the continued existence of a Jewish state. This is true regardless of the “aspirations of the Palestinian people.” This isn’t something that can be negotiated; it’s a fact of geography.

That’s it. No more ‘peace process’ that envisions a sovereign ‘Palestine’ in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Arabs were on the losing side of several wars and intifadas that they or their allies started. Those are the consequences. They can call it “Nakba 2.0″ if they want.

Finally, we need to send the message to our Israeli-Arab residents, particularly in eastern Jerusalem: this is the Jewish state — get used to it. We own it. The descendants of the 1948 Arab refugees are not coming back. The flag is the Magen David and the national anthem is Hatikva. If you can’t stand the lack of Arab or Muslim sovereignty, you can go to the PA areas or Gaza, or 22 other Arab states, or even Sweden for all we care. But if you want to live here and enjoy the benefits provided by the State of Israel to all of its citizens, Jews and Arabs, then you have to stop trying to kill Jews or overthrowing our state.

Varda Epstein at Israellycool wrote a powerful piece in which she captured the essence of the conflict. She expressed so eloquently exactly what I feel but find so hard to put into words: “It’s not about land, it never was”:

It was never about land. It was never about the Temple Mount.

I will tell you what it is about. You might scoff. But I will still be right.

I’ll be right about the root cause of the conflict. The conflict that began between two brothers, Ishmael and Isaac. One cast out, a bad influence.

The other, Abraham’s heir.

Two nations spawned, sprung from one father, two mothers. One nation chosen. The other nation scorned, spurned, JEALOUS, evil.

The Jews persist. They, we, refuse to die out, no matter how many of us they kill. Six million they killed, and still we lived. Live.

Biblically. Epically.

It makes everyone mad. It makes President Obama mad. Those Jews. He can’t say it out loud. Not where anyone can hear it. But you know he thinks it.

Europe, who wishes we would just go away and not remind them of their most primitive blood lust that can only be satisfied by persecuting Jews.

The Christians who resent us for not accepting the trinity. The Muslims who hate us for not being Muslim. The Temple Mount which refuses to stretch the truth to include a revisionist history in which Jesus did not drive out moneychangers and usurers from Al Aqsa. A Temple twice destroyed. Artifacts ignored.

…Except they fail. We are not easily eradicated.

We will not let them drown out the truth with their idiotic notions: Peace with Arafat. Peace in which Jews are forbidden entry to this village or that within the land God gave them. Two states on Jewish land will not please God. Two states is a euphemism. A solution that is The Final Solution.

The solution that will solve The Jewish Problem which is the Jews’ refusal to die out like any other normal people. The insistence on remaining a living part of humanity on God’s green earth. The Jewish refusal to roll over into the sea.

But even if we agreed, were forced to jump off a cliff into raging waters, would it matter? Did God not split the sea that we might live?

It was never about land. There is plenty of land to go around. Masses of land. Twenty-two Arab states. Oil-rich, filthy rich, Muslim Arab land. Plenty of room for their brethren.

But only one tiny sliver of land that is ours.

Read it all.

Arlene Kushner approaches the issue from a different angle. Although she identifies the religious and political roots of the violence, she advises to tread cautiously on the Temple Mount while exerting our sovereignty in all of Jerusalem:

I do not believe that attempting to seize control of the Temple Mount now would be a constructive act.. I have written extensively about the fact that King Abdullah of Jordan sits uneasily on his throne. Were he to be toppled, he would be  replaced by jihadis and radicals – and this would definitely not be in our best interest. What is more, we have a relationship with Jordan that is valuable in a host of other ways.

One of the ways Abdullah maintains political strength and commands respect from the people is by demonstrating that he – via the Jordanian Wakf – exercises control on the Mount and is able to confront Israel. He makes a great show of this.  And while it is not to my liking, I do understand it.  To undercut Abdullah now, while the region is in such ferment, would be unwise.

Do I think what Moshe Dayan did was deplorable?  Yes.  Do I believe Jews should have full and equal rights on the Mount? Absolutely. But what was done badly in the past must be undone when the time is right.


More to the point, I believe, is exercising full Israeli sovereignty and control over all Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem.  Not incidentally, this includes effective control over Har HaZeitim (the Mount of Olives) and the ancient Jewish cemetery there, where we are still seeing Arab vandalism and destruction of graves.

The need to be strong – to make the Arabs fear us – is a point I’ve already made.

We need to bring out the army and have an on-going military presence in the city.  Checkpoints, if necessary, at intersections leading in and out of the most troublesome neighborhoods.  There should be a situation in which Arabs with knives and cleavers are likely to be caught before they use their weapons.  They should at least know they cannot walk around with such weapons with impunity.

We need to increase our intelligence and behave proactively to bring in people plotting attacks before they are reality – with preventative detention of agitators.

There are caches of guns in Arab areas of Jerusalem, and they need to be searched out and confiscated.  I find it deplorable that this has not yet been done.


Naftali Bennett gave an interview on Army Radio today in which he espoused this sort of approach.

We should not active defensively, he says, but go on the attack, just as we did to put down terrorism in Arab areas of Judea and Samaria, in 2002, in Operation Defensive Shield.  Terror infrastructure must be rooted out.

It is time to openly conceptualize the PA and Abbas as the enemy, not as a potential partner, whom the world is waiting for us to sit down and talk to as soon as matters settle down. Passing the law establishing Israel as a Jewish state is a part of this thinking.

Simmering under the surface is the issue of our jurisdiction in Area C in Judea and Samaria – over which, according to Oslo, we were to have civil and military control.  I cannot say this is a question of sovereignty, because – unfortunately – we have not declared sovereignty in this area (yet).  But it is a close second, in terms of losing our prerogatives in an area over which we were supposed to have control. And this, in my opinion, is directly connected to the governmental mental set (which must change now) regarding such matters as slipshod control over certain neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

No one said this was going to be easy to sort out.  Or to make right.

Read the rest of her thought-provoking article.

This Jerusalem Post editorial sums up the general Israeli feelings about this religious war:

Ever since Israel’s founding the pretext for killing Jews is Jewish sovereignty on land deemed to belong to Muslims, no matter what the borders. Even the ultra-Orthodox Jews of Har Nof and who have traditionally opposed political Zionism are legitimate targets for Palestinian murderers. Haredi spiritual leaders such as Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef have even implored Jews not to go up on the Temple Mount so as not to enrage Muslims.

The obscenity of what transpired Tuesday morning in Har Nof’s Kehilat Yaakov Synagogue cannot be explained away by glib terms like “despair” or “occupation.” There are millions of people living between the Mediterranean and the Jordan – Jewish, Muslim, and Christian – who may fall into despair without resorting to heinous crimes like the one perpetrated in Har Nof.

Nor does the murder of innocent civilians advance the Palestinian cause. Religious Jews wrapped in prayer shawls and phylacteries lying in pools of their own blood on the floor of a synagogue is an instantly recognizable image – not just for Jews. It conjures up centuries of violent anti-Semitism and places the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the context of just another example of irrational – and therefore incurable – Jew hatred. It seems to prove to Jewish Israelis that there is really nothing to talk about with the Palestinians, let alone a peace agreement that must of necessity rest on mutual trust.

I would add that the standard battle cry of Arab terrorists is the proof that their hatred is for Jews – not “just” Israelis. They scream “Itbah al-Yahud!” – Slaughter the Jews! – as they rush to murder us. You will never hear them shout “Itbah al-Israili” or “Itbah al Zioni”.

It’s the “Yahud” with whom they have a problem. The feeling is mutual.

This entry was posted in Defence and Military, Israel news, Terrorism and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to This is a religious war, not a territorial dispute

  1. OyiaBrown says:

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  2. The elements of the issue of Israeli/Palestinian relations are complex and of variable significance. They include, but are not limited to: religious fanaticism, tyrannical Palestinian leadership, international anti-Semitism, Israeli military defenses, Israeli/U.S, relations, israeli/international economic relations and the effectiveness of israel’s public relations program. The recent 50 day war is a significant lesson in israel’s successful handling of these issues. Vindictive action is less effective than defensive action. But that case has to be made on an international scale to avoid negative consequences.

    • anneinpt says:

      Elliott, the recent war may have been a military success, but our success in the battlefield of ideas remains much more doubtful.

      Nevertheless we must keep hammering home the point that this conflict is at root a religious one, one that won’t be solved by Israel handing over yet more swathes of territory in order to create another terrorist stronghold. The world has to be made to understand that the Muslims don’t WANT pieces of our land. They want the entire thing and they want us gone, not necessarily in that order.

      • Brian Goldfarb says:

        “our success in the battlefield of ideas remains much more doubtful,” says Anne. But not necessarily as doubtful as you fear. We say, last night, the documentary “The Green Prince” (based, in part, on Mosab Hassan Youseff’s “Son of Hamas”) which tells the story of Shin Bet turning the son (Mosab) of a founder of Hamas into an informer. In truth, Shin Bet didn’t turn him, Hamas did, through their extreme violence towards fellow Hamas members in prison, up to and including killing them.

        In fact, the Israelis, having arrested Mosab, didn’t use physical torture against him (apart from a gratuitous rifle butt to the back of the head when he was first arrested), just psychological torture. Thus, the use of extreme violence by Hamas turned Mosab against them.

        I recommend all readers to watch the film (it’s in English {both Mosab and his Shin Bet “handler” speak in English to the camera}, so most readers here will understand what’s going on in the film). Have downloaded the book to my e-reader, but not started it yet,so I can’t say how good the book is,

        Yes, the film is “slanted” – it’s an Israeli film – but for anyone who hasn’t made up their mind against Israel, it will be revelatory. It doesn’t appear to have been released yet on dvd, but it has been nominated for an Oscar (best foreign documentary) so if it’s shortlisted, it will be allover the entertainment pages.

        • anneinpt says:

          Thanks Brian, I’ve read reviews but I haven’t seen the film or read the book. Do you think it really was psychological “torture” and not just psychological “persuasion”. I find the thought of torture horrifying, unless used against ticking bomb terrorists. Plus, just using the word gives ammunition to the anti-Israelists.

          • Brian Goldfarb says:

            Perhaps the use of the word “torture” was too strong, but (physically non-violent) interrogation techniques can include long periods of isolation, being left in darkness (not just at night), various forms of sensory deprivation and so forth. There are those who would say that, even without a finger being laid on anyone and no physical harm being done, this could well be classified as torture.

            My major argument os that the Israelis didn’t inflict any physical harm on Mosab, whereas Hamas use of extreme violence on Hamas members “turned” Mosab against them, especially as it was almost certainly not deserved: those tortured almost certainly hadn’t agreed to work for the Israelis.

      • Any ultimate or even intermittent goal, weather it is the control of a uprising or the negations at a peace conference should be viewed in the context of the affected elements I described. We have witnessed the ineffectness of various concessions, wether they are land, prisoners, settlement freezes, humanitarian assistance, free exercise of cherished religious rights, etc., etc., because, as you correctly recognize, the basis of the conflict is intrangince religious dogma mandating genocide. Defeating this religious ideology should consider the elements I refer to as part of the political equation involved in the strategy of defeat, not merely the alternative concession Israel is being forced to insure.

  3. The majority of Arabs are Muslims, and if you had checked their legislation ” sharia ” you wouldn’t have written so, Arabs problem is with ” Israel ” not the jews you are defending, and especially the population not the leaders who have stayed in control since Israel ensured their stability. ” And I am sorry for my bad English”.

    • anneinpt says:

      I’m sorry to disagree with you but you are completely wrong. The Muslim Arabs objected to the presence of Jews in Israel long before there ever was an Israel. How else can we explain the massacres, the attacks, the invasions by the Felaheen, all through the decades and centuries, starting back in the 1900s and even earlier.

      I do agree with you that it is Israel that ensures the stability and survival of many Arab leaders. In which case, why do they whip up their populations into hatred of Israel? It makes no sense.

      • It’s all right, it’s your perspective, but I am Syrian, and I distinctly know how things are going on on the ground, because Israel is our neighbor.
        We, as Arabs would have liked Israel if it hadn’t supported our dictatorships, its FORBIDEN for the Syrian ongoing revolution to bear a democracy and freedom, WHY?! Because democracy means developments, and they don’t want anything inside them, but ignorance, poverty and diseases.
        And you already answered your question, Israel supports our dictatorship for decades man for DECADES, and Muslims are not violent by the way, I am Muslim, and I don’t eat people, I live a normal life just like the other 1.6 billion Muslims, not like those who had been created by the American intelligence, such as ISIS and others, SURPRISED? No, sir, it’s the truth, that you can’t hear on fox news, violence is a word like terrorist, they just create them, to sell weapons, or steal a country’s natural resources, or to support a dictator ” like what they have done to protect Al Assad so they created an ‘ Islamic militia ‘.
        i spoke a lot, forgive me, but we are tired from whats happening, and only the truth would help a syrian homeless hungry chiled sufforing to keep israel and its friends in safe.

        • Brian Goldfarb says:

          Oh, dear, Waseem Helwani, facts are clearly not your strong point. You clearly need to read both the Hamas and Hezbollah Charters (as well as the PLO Charter) which include clear and unequivocal sections demanding not only the destruction of Israel but also the killing of Jews anywhere and everywhere they are to be found (I can provide links should you need them).

          Facts, however unpleasant, need to be faced. You may wish to believe that Moslems are not violent, but the available facts speak otherwise. Since 1948, something on the order of 5 (or more) times as many Arabs and/or Palestinians have been killed by their fellow Moslems as have been killed as a direct or indirect result of Israeli military, police or even civilian action. Over 200,000 people have been killed in Syria alone since the start of the uprising against Assad, with not one Israeli boot, rocket, bomb, etc, across the border.

          It may surprise you to know that you cannot come on to websites such as this one and make unsubstantiated assertions such as “Israel supports our dictatorship for decades man for DECADES, and Muslims are not violent by the way,” with no evidence to support such claims (especially given the point I make immediately before this last sentence).

          It’s late where I am, but if you choose to disbelieve me, then I am quite willing to come back at a more reasonable hour (in my timezone) and more thoroughly deconstruct your wild and woolly ramblings.

          • And it’s late here too, I would provide links if it’s necessary, but Israel declared for many times ago” you can check that on YouTube” that they are praying to the god to save the Al Assad’s regime, so what does that mean !, and I don’t defend Hizbullah, because it’s a terrorist armed party, my speech is generally about violence and who is really being badly affected by it, am sorry but when you want to analyze the reality, you need to see the whole picture, not just the part which is about Israeli civilian have been killed, why the double standards!.
            ” Eventually, am sorry for my poor English, it doesn’t help me well in such topics, and thank you for your patience.”

            • anneinpt says:

              Waseem, when you see on Youtube that Israelis are praying to save Assad’s regime, it’s only because the jihadi rebels are even worse! There is no way we would want Assad to stay in power in normal times! We would love to have a normal civilised democracy to our north rather than a dictatorship that we can’t trust, and if it falls we don’t know who we can trust afterwards.

              And anyway, don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Most of it is lies.

              • There were no jihadi groups when the Syrian revolution started, such groups just been created as a result of the unbelievable injustice occurring every day in Syria ” +20000 Syrian children were killed and tortured by the Syrian regime whereas the united nations didn’t do anything to stop their suffering”. Doesn’t mean that I agree with those groups, they are the worst thing ever happened in Syria and the world ” of course they don’t represent Islam from my perspective”, and since they formed themselves ” or were formed” the revolution was killed, I hope the allies defeat them.
                I appreciate that you are an Israeli civilian, thus, you can’t speak 100% objectively, whereas I do, and when I blame your government, doesn’t mean am defending ours. Honestly, I hate them all, moreover, our problems as Muslims aren’t with other people, but with governments, so I deal with any person of any ethnicity or religion, as long as this person “cares” about human rights, and have morals.
                And how could you don’t trust al Assad?! He and his father literally protected your Northern borders for more than 40 years, and was so clear that they were and still not a threat to Israel.
                And we are, as Muslims, involved in every single violence action happened and happening and will happen, and that is TRUE..
                We killed 3 million Iraqi civilians since 2003 ” but we said sorry, there were no mass destruction weapons as we claimed ”
                We caused the world wars | and ||
                We attacked Vietnam and Afghanistan.
                We killed millions of redskins in America
                We killed 6 million Jews in Germany in the last century
                We did a lot of bad things actually !!!!.
                In conclusion, I don’t have the absoluteness, and I think you don’t have it either.

        • anneinpt says:

          Waseemhelwani, I am truly sorry for your predicament, and for your misfortune in living in Syria both under Assad’s dictatorship and now in a civil war. You must know that Israel is providing medical help to wounded Syrians, no matter who they are and how they were injured.

          You’ve got it wrong about Israel supporting the Syrian dictatorship. Israel has propped up Jordan’s king for years, and of course the Palestinian leadership. We also probably quietly supported Mubarak and now al-Sisi. But these are all countries who signed peace treaties with Israel, even if they only brought a cold peace.

          At the moment Israel is trying its hardest to stay out fo the Syrian battle. We would like all sides to lose. Assad is a fascist dictator and the rebels are all jihadists. Nothing good will come out of the war for Israel.

          I don’t know where you are getting your information from (well, I can probably guess) but Israel certainly didn’t create any militias or terrorist organizations.

          I’m afraid you have been fed a farrago of lies and propaganda.

          And I’m also sorry to tell you that Muslims are indeed violent. OK, maybe not every single one, but as a society, Muslim society is extremely violent. Almost every single war going on in the world at the moment was either started by or is involved with Muslims.

          I hope you can keep safe and keep on maintaining some sort of normal life until peace returns – or makes its first appearance in our region. Look after yourself and you are welcome to comment here some more.

          • Brian Goldfarb says:

            Before we go any further, Waseem Helwani, you say above ” Israel declared for many times ago” you can check that on YouTube” that they are praying to the god to save the Al Assad’s regime,” with no further sourcing of that comment. I said in my first comment to you that evidence is required. So, with regard to this alleged You Tube item, what’s the link, so that we can all check it for ourselves.

            Further, who is supposed to have said this, what is their position in Israeli society, do they have one? I could say such things, but that wouldn’t make me representative of Jews in the United Kingdom, let alone all of British society. What I imagine might be the attitude of many Israelis is either (as a cousin of mine living in Israel said) “while their killing each other, they are not trying to kill us”, or a wish that both sides could lose the civil war. But that’s just my opinion: I have no evidence and nor have you shown us any.

            Furthermore, when you go on to say that (directed at Anne) “I appreciate that you are an Israeli civilian, thus, you can’t speak 100% objectively, whereas I do,” how do you know Anne can’t speak objectively? What evidence do you have that she isn’t speaking objectively? And what evidence do you produce to show that you are speaking objectively?

            Everything you have written so far has lacked evidence to back it up. And, indeed, you have reverted to a common position among those who are not, shall I say, politely, friends of Israel: Israel is to blame for everything, Israel is backing Assad (some in Israel may prefer Assad to regain control of Syria for the sake of stability for Israel, but many have no real view of who is right and/or who should win.

            You then go on to raise any number of irrelevant issues relating to the Middle East, as though it is the fault of Israel that the West attacked Iraq.

            I have news for you: Israel told the US and her allies that the real threat to the Middle East was (and is) Iran, not Iraq; also Israel has had absolutely no influence on the Arab Spring – nothing to do with them.

            So, what’s your problem with Israel?

            And when are you going to produce some evidence for us to consider?

  4. peteca1 says:

    Anne … YES it is now a religious war. It has gone beyond claims over land or statehood. It is becoming a “fight for survival”. Both sides in this dispute apparently believe that. And the basis for any type of negotiated solution seems to be quickly evaporating.

    The whole world is becoming more polarized. Disputes and altercations are growing. People are dividing along all kinds of lines … political, ethnic, tribal, religious. But I think that the religious divisions are the most perilous – because they go to the core of what people believe about life. Not too many people will die for a political party … some will … but not many. However, a deeply religious commitment – yes people will fight tooth and nail for this. It appears that the ME is headed in this direction. The highly polarized actions are now clearly visible with Hamas and ISIS. It will be visible in your own people – because Israel will respond to the threats against your country. I do not see how peace can be maintained in such an environment!!!

    Pete, USA

    • anneinpt says:

      Pete, I don’t believe the Islamic wars around the world are “headed” in the direction of religious wars. I believe they always WERE religious wars, and the world has taken almost a century to catch up on this idea.

      I don’t think real peace will be achieved any time soon, certainly not in our lifetime. What can be achieved is conflict management – keeping a lid on it and learning to live with it, much as Israel has been doing right from the beginning.

      • Earl says:

        Your point is exactly that of mine for more than a decade: the dar al-Islam v. dar al-harb dichotomy is a central, immutable tenet of Islam, and there can be no “ME peace” as long as Israel remains a Jewish state. This most assuredly is a religious war, and not a territorial dispute per se.

  5. Pingback: This is a religious war, not a territorial dispute

Comments are closed.