Tuesday, March 9, 2010

[The following is a guest post by Alexander Maistrovoy.]

Welcome to the Holy Land: Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi in Hebron, Bilal Ibn Ribah mosque in Bethlehem and Al-Burak Wall...

The Israeli government announced that it would include the Cave of the Patriarchs (Me'arat HaMachpelah) in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem as part of a comprehensive plan to preserve Israel's national heritage and religious sites ("Moreshet"). The reaction of the Arab (and all Islamic) world to the decision has once again shown the real essence of the "Arab-Israeli conflict", which actually is the holy war that Arabs had proclaimed against the Jews.

Any conflict can be resolved if the conflicting parties recognize each other's right of existence. It becomes basically irresolvable if one of parties refuses to recognize the other. The key questions of borders, the status of Jerusalem and refugees are difficult but could be resolved in case Arabs recognized the right of the Jews to live in their land.

Arabs do not recognize it. All their policy, strategy, and ideology is directed to depriving the Jews of any connection with the land of Israel: virtually, and then physically to uproot the Jews from the history of the Holy Land. Jews have neither antiquities nor holy sites, they have no past. In other words, they do not belong to this land and have no right to exist at all.

It is this genocidal approach that is characteristic of Islam. Power and possession are inherent parts of religious attitude in Islam. This approach extends to all other religions, not only to Judaism. The idea consists in depriving other cultures of their spiritual base to achieve total physical domination over them.

The famous Belgian orientalist Koenraad Elst in his book Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam writes: "In all the lands it conquered, Islam has replaced indigenous places of worship with mosques. In Iran, there are no ancient Zoroastrians or Manichean shrines left. In Central Asia, there are no Buddhist temples left. Similarly, in India (except the far South where Islam penetrated rather late) there are practically no Hindu temples that have survived the Muslim period (over 10,000 destroyed). But there are thousands of mosques built on the foundations of Hindu temples (for example, the Ayodhya temple)." Nowadays, the same policy is being carried out towards the Jews. The ignorance, hypocrisy and soullessness of the Western world make the problem easier to overcome.

Jerusalem has never been a holy Muslim place. Statements about the city being "the third holy place of Islam" appeared in the thirties of the last century. First they were announced by Jerusalem's notorious Grand Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini. He aspired to stir up religious fanaticism among apathetic local population. Al-Husseini worked vigorously to raise Jerusalem's status as an Islamic holy center. He renovated the mosques that had fallen into complete disrepair on the Temple Mount while conducting an unceasing campaign regarding the imminent Jewish "threat" to Muslim holy sites.

(It is a well-known fact that Hussein collaborated with Hitler in the "final solution of the Jewish question". Less known is that he was appointed to the post of the High Commissioner by a Jew Herbert Samuel).

Earlier all Arabian historians and scientists referred to Jerusalem and, first of all, the Temple Mount, as the Jewish holy site only. In the 13th century an Arab geographer Yakut said: " Mecca is holy to Moslems and Jerusalem to the Jews".

On the Temple Mount "triumphant soldiers of Islam" behaved in the same way as they did everywhere where they appeared: destroyed local holy sites and replaced them with their own. When Caliph Omar entered the city of Jerusalem there was only one holy site on the Temple Mount at that time: the Byzantine Church of Saint Mary of Justinian. Caliph Abd El Malik built here the Dome of the Rock that is still incorrectly called the "Omar Mosque". 20 years later his son, Abd El-Wahd, reconstructed the Church of Saint Mary and converted it into the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Historian Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann wrote: "With this understood, it is no wonder that Mohammed issued a strict prohibition against facing Jerusalem in prayer, a practice that had been tolerated only for some months in order to lure Jews to convert to Islam. When that effort failed, Mohammed put an abrupt stop to it on February 12, 624. Jerusalem simply never held any sanctity for the Moslems themselves, but only for the Jews in their domain."

Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran. The myth of Jerusalem being "the third holiest place in Islam" began to spread quickly after 1967. Muhammad is believed by all Muslims to have ascended into heaven alive at the site of the Dome of the Rock. Earlier this legend was not considered to be basic in Muslim mythology. Rabbi Joseph Katz wrote that the present Arabian name of Jerusalem, "el-KuDS," is an abbreviation for another Arabic name used for Jerusalem until the last century, "bet el-maKDeS". Under Arab rule, in the 10th century Jerusalem was always called "bet el maKDeS" The name "BeT el-MaKDeS" is a translation of the Aramaic and Hebrew "BeiT ha-MiKDaSH," which means "Temple."

As I have already explained, Jerusalem became a holy city of Islam thanks to Haj Amin Al-Husseini. In 1947 the Saudis published a "Fatwa" (a religious ruling) calling for "rescuing the Temple Mount from the Jews." After 1967 Yassir Arafat used this slogan to transform the conflict with Israel to a religious war. Today Arabs do not recognize that there was the Temple here, or that Jerusalem has ever had any relation to the Jews. What's more, the existence of the Jews, as a religious and ethnic community is also denied. The PA Mufti, Ikrima Sabri, appointed by Yassir Arafat, said that there was no such thing as the Western (or "Wailing") Wall. He claimed that it was the "part of the walls of the Al Aqsa mosque" and called it "Al Burak Wall."

For decades the Jerusalem Waqf has been destroying unique Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount under different pretexts. Thousands of tons of dirt full of artifacts were carted away and dumped. If it goes like this, there will soon be no traces of the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount.

That was the Jerusalem story.

Now about Me'arat HaMachpela and Rachel's Tomb. Genesis Chapter 23 tells us that Abraham purchased the Cave of the Patriarchs to bury his wife Sarah. Genesis 35, 19 describes that Rachel "died and was buried on the road to Efrata which is Bethlehem."

It had happened about two thousand years before Islam appeared. Now we learn that Me'arat HaMachpela and Rachel's Tomb have always belonged to Arabs. According to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas the Israeli cabinet's decision is a "serious provocation that may lead to religious war." The USA, EU and UN have urged Israel to exercise restraint.

We also learn that both sites have no connection to the Jews. One of them is named the Sanctuary of Abraham (Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi), and the second Bilal Ibn Ribah mosque. By the way, Bilal Ibn Ribah mosque was built by the Muslims only a thousand years ago.

All of this without any doubt is a "continuing Israeli provocation." It can cease only in one case: with the disappearance of Israel and its citizens. In the same way as Zoroastrians and Manichees ceased to exist. As Hindu and Buddhist temples disappeared. As the Church of Saint Mary of Justinian is gone from the Temple Mount and the "Wailing Wall" got its "real" name: "Al Burak Wall." During the centuries everything that became part of "Dar Al-Islam" ("Land of Islam") has ceased from existence.


Now we learn that Me'arat HaMachpela and Rachel's Tomb have always belonged to Arabs.

and will be believed by Joe Biden.

No Cynic, that isn't true. Biden isn't an idiot, Obama definitely isn't an idiot.

I think in fact the Administration is very concerned, must be concerned, about Erdogan and the apparent Turkish swing to the religious side.

That's potentially dangerous for the US, for Iraq, for the Kurds, obviously for the secular, liberal Turks and of course for Israel and Armenia even; and could be a game changer for NATO.

This sort of rhetoric would never have emanated from a secular Turkish party or even from the Ottomans.

And, it explains the latter day reluctance to address the Armenian issue. I think relations with Turkey are now more fragile than at any time since Ataturk turned to the West, precisely because of religious issues.

However, this is laying bare one of the more powerful reasons for the Arab/Israeli conflict, and it's one the left in particular hasn't understood well at all; many of us are pretty agnostic to begin with and tend to see things in terms of economics and power balances and underestimate religious narratives. This was true of most Zionist Jews as well for that matter.

People might have seen Arab nationalism, though its force was underestimated; but the power of the Christian and Islamic mythos in the East went right over our heads, imo.

Well, now we can't ignore these issues, they have come to the forefront and also, so have some uncompromising Jewish visions about the land.

This all makes me nervous. Why? Precisely because religious issues cannot be controlled by rational means, you can't just say, well, your problem is that you are poor, over here, whereas you over here have lots of oil money so let's share, and you over here lack water and technological skill, whereas the Israelis can help with this, so let's share, and the Palestinians are mad because they lack self-determination, so we can solve the problem of the Arab/Israeli conflict by creating a self-determining Palestinian state.

Those are all rational solutions to problems that have a supernatural aspect, and therefore they will only work to some degree.

But, in a way I am glad it's out there because now we can see it.

This was all masked for decades by Great Power proxy wars and the Cold War and by the socialist narrative which underestimates religious power, and assumes people are rational and their suffering can be alleviated by rational means, which is obviously not always true.

So now the religious conflict is plainly visible, which means it can be recognized and hopefully addressed on its own terms.

That's precisely what's so horrible about the PLO's changing their tune from secular nationalism to a religious cause, something engineered by Arafat in his last years. He established the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades and put Al Quds at the top of the agenda and lead crowds in chanting "Jihad! Jihad! JIhad!" Holed up in the Mukata, he was always posed in front of a picture of the Al Aksa mosque.

His reframing the conflict in religious terms following Oslo only made the conflict more intractable.


No Cynic, that isn't true. Biden isn't an idiot, Obama definitely isn't an idiot.

So then keeping parts of Jerusalem Judenrein but all of it open to Arabs is malicious.
Biden declares apartments in a Jewish part of East Jerusalem to be settlements for settlers is what then if not idiotic/stupid and inflammatory providing the PA with a nice cover up for their intransigence and a lovely excuse to hammer the Israelis.
They obviously didn't learn from their attempts last year.
And now we have the Arab League in the guise of Amr Moussa is making the decisions for Abbas.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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