This is the first of four posts I will be doing entitle THE MIDDLE EAST AND US. The following 3 posts will be uploaded over the coming three weeks.
THE MIDDLE EAST AND US—PART 1
On August 8, 2014, former head of the Australian Army Lieutenant General Peter Leahy reportedly said, “Australia is involved in the early stages of a war which is likely to last for the rest of the century.”
Michael Krause a retired Major General agreed. Aware of the army’s experience in Iraq and Afghanistan he said, “I have seen these people. I know how they think. I know how they fight. There is no compromise possible.”
The headline of The Australian newspaper the next day was, “We’ll fight Islam (for) 100 years.”[i] UK Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly made similar comments in the last week of August 2014. What is happening in the Middle East has global consequences.
When Western forces first entered Iraq and Afghanistan it was said at the time they will win some battles but will lose the war. In both those countries, no matter how our political leaders reframe the outcomes, it may now be said that the losers by most measures have been western nations. Little remains of their hoped for outcomes from their interventions costing trillions of dollars and thousands of lives.
In Australia as in other Western countries, we are unable to plan beyond our election cycle of 3-4 years. Muslim leaders think in terms of centuries. Mohammed invited the Christian leaders of his time to submit to Islam. They declined. So Islamic forces determined to capture the Citadel of Christianity– Constantinople. Although their attacks were repeatedly repulsed, they finally succeeded after only 800 years.[ii]
Gaza and Israel
In the Middle East if a Jewish person is asked the basis of his claim to the land of Israel the reply may be, “We have been here for 3000 years.” To the same question persons today called Palestinians may reply, “We have been here for 6000 years.”
From the Biblical record we understand that God reserved for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants a sliver of land on the coast along the Eastern Mediterranean seaboard, which became known as Israel. The vast expanse of land to the east and south of Israel was reserved for the descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar who was a servant of Abraham’s wife Sarah. (Genesis 12-27)
In 1003 BC King David was at last able to conquer Jerusalem. The area of the city at that that time was just 12 acres, or a little less than 5 ha. The rest of the Promised Land was conquered and possessed by King David except for the Philistine territory, which is today’s Gaza.
Half a millennium later, in 586 BC most of the people of what remained of Israel were deported as captives of war to the vicinity of today’s Baghdad. Towards the end of that 6th century BC the deportees were permitted to start to return to their homeland. The Temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt in 536-516 BC. Almost a further 70 years later, about 453 BC, Nehemiah arrived to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Arabs and other local tribal chiefs, who were on the scene by that time, resisted his work. They ridiculed, threatened, concocted false reports and sought to terrorize the returnees. Their activities are recorded in Nehemiah chapters 2, 4 and 6. What is happening today is not a new phenomenon. Jews remained in possession of their land till 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed the Jerusalem Temple and scattered the inhabitants.
Almost five and a half centuries later in 638 CE an Islamic Army captured Jerusalem for the first time. The city and its accompanying territory remained mostly under Muslim control thereafter. But the Jewish people did not vanish.
However by the late 1800s the brutality of the Muslim authorities was so severe that many Jews were forced to flee. Simultaneously the Muslim Ottoman government in Turkey began to repopulate the vacated land with Muslim refugees from other parts of their Empire in which there were disturbances.
In 1890 the Muslim population was only 432,000. By the time of Israel’s establishment by the UN in 1947, the Muslim population, through Turkish repatriation policy had almost tripled to 1,181,000.[iii]After 1918 with the defeat of the Turkish government in World War I the Jewish population started to return. Many of them were fleeing from European threats and conflagrations, especially the Holocaust of the 1940’s, which saw approx. 6 million Jews killed. Today the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael face off against one another.
Neither side in the current conflict is prepared to yield a centimeter of land. Article 7 in HAMAS’s charter based on Islamic texts specifically asserts they will destroy all Jews and Israel. Israel says, “If you attack we will retaliate.”
HAMAS spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri on August 17, 2014 on Al -Aqsa television declared, “Our true war is not aimed at opening border crossings. It is aimed at the liberation of Jerusalem. We refuse to accept the continued defiling of our land by the occupier. The army of Mohammed has begun its return.”[iv] HAMAS can never cannot accept the loss of territory once occupied by Muslim authorities. To them it remains a sacred trust, a Waqf, which must be regained.
The current off-again on-again war between Gaza and Israel has provided opportunity for mostly public pro-Palestinian reaction in many Western countries. In France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, USA, Australia and elsewhere, Muslims, formerly thought to be well-integrated, assimilated, moderate citizens who contributed to the rich mosaic of multiculturalism in those countries, have suddenly taken to the streets showing a different side of Islam, reportedly shouting:
“Heil Hitler. Hamas Hamas. Jews to the gas. We are all Hamas. We are Jihad”.[v] Many well-meaning non-Muslim people have joined these processions.
In Sydney as the crowd waved their black flags of jihad, the reported shout was:
Palestine is a Muslim land.
The solution is Jihad.
You can never stop Islam.
From Australia to Al Sham.
One Ummah (Muslim community) hand in hand
from Lakemba to Gaza.
One call –“Khalifa”.[vi]
The latest claimant for the role of Caliph, that is, a leader of international Islam, is Abu Bakr al Baghdadi also known as Caliph Ibrahim. He reportedly announced that, “The long slumber of neglect has ended. The sun of Jihad has risen. Triumph looms on the horizon. Infidels are terrified. As East and West submit Muslims will own the earth.”[vii] Those objectives are clear.
As for Israelis the Muslim objectives about them are equally clear. In his Friday sermon on August 22, 2014 in Khan Younis in Gaza, Sheikh Mohammed Abu Rajab is reported as saying, “We pledged before the commanders of the Jihad to die for the sake of Allah; we have gathered the Zionists from all corners of the globe so that it will be easier to slaughter and kill them”.[viii]
Part 2 will be posted within a week.
[i] Brendan Nicholson, We’ll fight Islam 100 years. The Weekend Australian, August 9-10 2014, 1.
[ii] https//www.raymondibrahim.com/islam/the-seige-of-constantinople(viewed August 16 2014)
[iii] Ezequiel Doiny, The Muslim Colonists: Forgotten Facts about the Arab-Israeli Conflict. http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4611/muslim-colonists. August 15 2014.
[iv] MEMRI TV, Hamas Spokesman: Our War Is For Liberation of Jerusalem Not For Lifting Of Blockade. Viewed August 26 2014.
[v] Denis MacEoin, The New Romantics ‘Being Fair’ to Terrorist Groups. http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4602/new-romantics. August 14 2014.
[vi] Andrew Bolt, Wake up Labor, smell the threat. HeraldSun, August 4 2014, 13.