Throughout history, religious wars have been fought in the name of different gods. The premise of the Oslo Accords was that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not an irreconcilable religious war, but one over borders. However, the Palestinian religious leaders, all appointees of the PA political leadership, are publicly preaching that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is part of Islam's eternal religious war against the Jews. Jews are portrayed as the eternal enemies of Allah, and the killing of Jews as Allah's will. On the national level, Allah prohibits acceptance of Israel's existence and will destroy it.
This ideology is preached in sermons and religious lessons that are broadcast every Friday on official Palestinian TV and radio, and from the religious lessons appearing in PA newspapers and children's textbooks.
The Palestinians have redefined the conflict from one over borders, in which compromise may be a solution, into a religious war in which compromise is heretical. The implications for future peace are ominous.
This report is not brought as a critique of Islam's religious traditions, nor does it claim to represent authentic Islam. Rather it demonstrates the way Palestinian Authority religious leaders are selecting, interpreting and teaching Islam. Although Islam has positive references and traditions regarding Jews, the PA religious leaders have chosen to cite only negative references in their religious teaching, using the traditional sources to justify and even to demand uncompromising hatred of Jews and Israel.
The religious ideology of the Palestinian Authority religious leaders can be summarized by eight essential principles:
Regarding the Jews:
- Jews are the enemy of Allah.
- Islam is fighting a continuous religious war against the Jews.
- The killing of Jews is a religious obligation.
- Palestinians are the vanguard in this war against the Jews, and all Islamic nations are obligated to assist in this war.
- Islam is fighting a continuous religious war against the Jews.
- All of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea (which includes all of Israel) is a religious Waqf -- an Islamic religious trust. Any Moslem who relinquishes any part to Israel is damned to Hell.
- All agreements with Israel are inherently temporary in nature, and are signed only because of Israel's temporary balance of power advantage.
- Allah will replace Moslems who shirk their obligation to battle Israel.
- The ultimate destruction of Israel is a certainty.
The Palestinians repeatedly use Islamic sources to defend this religious hatred, even demanding the killing of Jews as a current obligation and the will of Allah. At least four times in recent months, Palestinian religious leaders have taught publicly that the following Hadith (Islamic traditions attributed to Mohammed) is an authoritative directive of Islam today, expressing Allah's will that obedient Moslems kill Jews. According to Sheikh Muhammed Abd al Hadi La'afi, quoted in the official P.A. newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (May 18, 2001), and Dr. Muhammed Ibrahim Madi, delivering the main Friday sermon on Palestinian TV (April 13, 2001), the Hadith itself states:
"The Day of Resurrection will not arrive until the Moslems make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: 'Oh Moslem, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!'"
On Palestinian TV (March 30, 2001) the preacher Dr. Muhammed Ibrahim Madi attacked Arab-Moslem world leaders because they are avoiding attacking Israel with missiles and tanks, and threatened them that Allah is liable to "replace them with other men... that fight for Allah... to liberate the lands from the defilement of the Jews."
These broadcasts by officially appointed religious leaders, presenting the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as an eternal religious conflict, have been preached long before the current violence began. This preaching it is not a reaction to the present violence, and possibly the opposite is true. The PA's religious worldview, that sees agreements with Israel as inherently temporary and war against the Jews as an expression of Allah's will, has in all likelihood fueled the hatred that has lead to Palestinian terror and violence.
This report presents representative selections from sermons broadcast during recent years:
* * *
Eternal Islamic War against the Jews is led by Palestinians; the Jews are enemies of Allah.
"We the Palestinian nation, our fate from Allah is to be the vanguard in the war against the Jews until the resurrection of the dead, as the prophet Mohammed said: 'The resurrection of the dead will not arrive until you will fight the Jews and kill them...' We the Palestinians are the vanguard in this undertaking and in this campaign, whether or not we want this..." (Palestinian TV, July 28, 2000)
"Blessed is he who fights jihad in the name of Allah, blessed is he who [goes on] raids in the name of Allah, blessed is he who dons a vest of explosives on himself or on his children and goes in to the depth of the Jews and says: ‘Allahu Akbar, blessed be Allah.' Like the collapse of the building upon the heads of the Jews in their sinful dance-hall, I ask of Allah that we see the Knesset collapsing on the heads of the Jews." (Palestinian TV, June 8, 2001)
"The battle with the Jews will surely come... the decisive Moslem victory is coming without a doubt, and the prophet spoke about in more than one Hadith. And the day of resurrection will not come without the victory of the believers [the Moslems] over the descendents of the monkeys and pigs [the Jews] and with their annihilation." (official P.A. newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 18, 2001)
"The Jews are the Jews. There never was among them a supporter of peace. They are all liars... the true criminals, the Jewish terrorists, that slaughtered our children, that turned our wives into widows and our children into orphans, and desecrated our holy places. They are terrorists. Therefore it is necessary to slaughter them and murder them, according to the words of Allah... it is forbidden to have mercy in your hearts for the Jews in any place and in any land. Make war on them anyplace that you find yourself. Any place that you encounter them -- kill them. Kill the Jews and those among the Americans that are like them... Have no mercy on the Jews, murder them everywhere..." (Palestinian TV, October 13, 2000)
"My dear brothers, so continues the struggle between the Moslems and the Jews from the past, both near and far, in the present and in the future. And in this matter the word of Allah will be fulfilled: 'There will not be found [anyone] more hostile to the believers than the Jews and the idolaters." (Palestinian TV, April 13, 2001, quoting the Koran - Sura 5,84)
A repeated goal of PA religious teaching is to defame Jews and Jewish tradition:
"...The Jews are used to deceit... They fake the facts and changed the laws of Allah... The Torah was brought down with contained guidance toward the path of righteousness and light, just as every book which Allah brought down... [The Jews] switched the law of Allah and by this rebelled on His ruling and religion and way, and therefore they merit to be heretics and to be banished from the Allah's mercy... They faked the words of Allah and changed their religion and laws and they are the wicked. And whomever does not rule according to what Allah brought down, whomever rebelled against this... is in a rebellion against Allah, and is a descendant of Abelis [ghost], the descendant of the Satans, and worthy of receiving the punishment of the sinners..." (Palestinian TV, February 16, 1999)
"...Their Bible [of the Jews] today has no light and no teachings. Their Bible today is just a bunch of notes that were written down by people who lie about God, his prophets and his Bible... Those who do these kinds of things are the descendants of Abelis, meaning the descendants of the satans... They fabricated a Jewish history book full of promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He will give them the land of Palestine..." (Palestinian TV, November 3, 1998)
* * *
All of the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea is Holy Islamic Wakf (Moslem religious trust).
Shiekh Yuosouf Abu Sneina, official preacher of the Al Aqsa Mosque, referred to the Israeli cities of Haifa, Lod, Jerusalem, and Nazareth, on Palestinian Radio (April 30, 1999):
"The Islamic Land of Palestine is one and cannot be divided. There is no difference between Haifa and Nablus, between Lod and Ramallah, between Jerusalem and Nazareth. Dividing Palestine into cantons and giving recognition to the occupation is prohibited by Sharia (Islamic religious law), since Palestinian is Wakf (Islamic Trust) for all Moslems in the East and in the West. No one has the right to give it up or to forsake it. The liberation of Palestine is a mandatory obligation for all Moslems and not only for our Palestinian nation."
Demonstrating the consistent ideology, a nearly identical speech was broadcast one year later (Palestinian TV, September 8, 2000)
"Allah made it clear to us through the laws of the Sharia (Islamic religious law), and we say: The Islamic Land of Palestine is one and cannot be divided. There is no difference between Haifa and Nablus, Lod and Ramallah, Jerusalem and Nazareth or Gaza and Ashkelon. Palestine is Wakf land that belongs to Moslems throughout the world and no one has the right to give it up or to forsake it. Whoever does this is a traitor to the trust and is nothing but a loathsome criminal whose end shall be in hell."
Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the Palestinian Authority appointed Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, referred to the Israeli cities of Jaffa and Acre on Palestinian TV (January 11, 2001):
"We are discussing the current problems and when we speak about Jerusalem it doesn't mean that we have forgotten about Hebron or about Jaffa or about Acre... We are speaking about the current problems that have priority at a certain time. It doesn't mean that we have given up... We have announced a number of times that from a religious point of view Palestine from the sea to the river is Islamic."
As broadcast on Palestinian TV (October 13, 2000), again referring to Israeli cities and regions:
"Even if agreements were signed [regarding] Gaza and the West Bank, we will not forget Haifa, Acre, Jaffa, the Galilee Triangle, and the Negev. It is only a question of time..."
"It is forbidden for anyone, Arab, Palestinian or Moslem to forgo one grain of soil of the land of Palestine, Jerusalem and Al Aksa... Whoever forgoes even one grain of soil his sin is upon him, and all the sins of the Palestinians, the Arabs and the Moslems, forever and ever..." (Palestinian TV, September 8, 2000)
"...The Jews gathered from all ends of the earth in our beloved Palestine, from Rosh HaNikra in the north to Eilat in the south... from sea to river, it was all a land of Moslems... Palestine's borders, the promised Palestine, is from the sea to the river..." (Palestinian TV, August 18, 2000)
* * *
The Oslo Agreements are only temporary; future generations will complete the war.
In an interview on Palestinian TV (September 1, 2000) an Israeli Arab Knesset Member, Abd-Al Malek Dahamshe, defined the agreements with Israel as "Hudna" -- a temporary cease fire. In response to a viewer who called in to the studio and commented that, "Our problem with Israel is not a border problem, but an existential one," Knesset Member Dahamshe responded: "We exaggerate when we say 'peace'... What we are speaking about is 'Hudna.'" This idea of accepting "Hudna," temporary agreements until some future liquidation of Israel, has also been expressed by Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, leader of the Hamas terrorist organization, as quoted in the official Palestinian Authority newspaper, Al Hayat-Al Jadida (July 24, 2000):
"We are speaking of 'Hudna', [a cease fire] for a while, but not of the end of the conflict. In exchange for this
The newest Palestinian school textbooks, published in September 2000, teach this prohibition of leaving Islamic land in Israel's hands. In sixth grade “Islamic Education,” the following is taught:
"Patriotism in Islam: In Islam, it is not improper for a Moslem to love his homeland. To the contrary, Islam encourages this, and established its defense as an obligatory commandment for every Moslem if even a centimeter of his land is stolen. I, a Palestinian Moslem, love my country Palestine..." (Part A, p. 68)
The same theme is echoed by preachers at the mosques, as broadcast on Palestinian TV (July 28, 2000):
"All of the agreements entered into [with Israel] are temporary, until the decree comes from Allah and until the destiny from Allah is realized."
And as proclaimed by Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Maadi, in the Friday sermon on Palestinian TV, (June 8, 2001):
"Who is responsible for the loss of Palestine... and [for] deceitfully labeling it Israel?... The Prophet [Mohammed] soothes us with many Hadiths that Palestine shall return to its former days... We must prepare a foothold, for the coming army of Allah, by divine predetermination. May it be Allah's will [that] this oppressing state shall pass, Israel shall pass. This oppressing state, America, shall pass. The oppressing state Britain, shall pass, [those] that brought this catastrophe [nakba] of this nation..."
And then in the Friday sermon on Palestinian TV (May 4, 2001):
“...In our holy books [it is written] that when a state for the Jews is established in Palestine, it will not last more than 67 years. In other words -- the year 2022. And I beg Allah to bring an end to the country of the oppressor in America, and the country of the oppressor Israel in Palestine, by that date... Therefore, it is our hope that this oppressive country [Israel] will be terminated, as in the words of Allah..."
* * *
The destruction of Israel is a global Islamic responsibility.
"Arab and Moslem rulers! The weaponry that will not be used against the enemies of Allah will rust and you will use them against one another, as happens periodically. Aim your arrows once and make war, as they war against you. Why this fear of the State [of Israel] that is surrounded by Arabs and Moslems? Why this fear? Because you do not fear Allah -- whoever fears Allah, all else will fear him." (Palestinian TV, March 30, 2001)
"There are Hadiths (Islamic traditions attributed to Mohammed) regarding our struggle against the Jews. And it is given: ‘The day of resurrection will not arrive until the Moslems make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: 'Oh Moslem, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!' This Hadith clarifies to us the characteristics of the campaign between us and the Jews. The tree and the rock do not say 'Oh, Palestinian,' 'Oh Arab,' or 'Oh resident of the Middle East.' Rather they say: 'Oh, Moslem, Servant of Allah.'" (Palestinian TV, March 30, 2001)
"The Arab rulers and the Moslems, and our people everywhere. If we don't support Allah, He will replace us with other men... The courageous over the infidels, make war for Allah and are not afraid... This is the depiction of the army of Allah that will come at Allah's decree, from here or from there, to liberate these lands from the defilement of the Jews, for Allah was angry with them in his book and called them once 'monkeys,' once 'swine,' and once 'donkeys.'" (Palestinian TV, March 30, 2001)
"Oh, our Arab brethren... Oh, our Moslem brethren... Don't leave the Palestinians alone in war against the Jews... Even if it has been decreed upon us to be the vanguard... Jerusalem, Palestine and Al Aksa, the land that Allah blessed and its surrounding areas will remain at the center of the struggle between truth and falsehood, between the Jews and the non-Jews on this sacred land, regardless of how many agreements are signed, regardless of how many treaties and covenants are ratified. For the truth is in the Koran, as verified by the words of the prophet Mohammed, that the decisive battle will be in Jerusalem and its environs: 'The resurrection of the dead will not occur until you make war on the Jews...'" (Palestinian TV, August 11, 2000)
"All the members of this nation must take part in this struggle against the enemies of Allah, so that through us the saying of Allah will be fulfilled: 'You will not find people more hostile than are the Jews.'" (Palestinian TV, April 13, 2001)
"Palestine... causes the Jews to lose sleep, causes the enemies of Allah throughout the land to lose sleep... It is a bleeding wound, and it will continue to bleed forever and ever... Jerusalem is a symbol... to the Moslems and to their war of Jihad forever and ever." (Palestinian TV, August 11, 2000)
"The victory is coming, the victory is coming, the victory is coming! Allah, show us your marvels against the Jews! Show them a black day, like the day of A'ad and Tha'mud (tribes that were defeated and destroyed). Because they boasted to us of their strength! Show us the prince against them, show them a black day! Allah, transform them into the Moslems' spoils of war! Allah, transform them into our spoils of war!” (Palestinian TV, April 13, 2001)
----------- Material provided by Palestinian Media Watch, an independent, Jerusalem-based non-profit organization which monitors the Palestinian media. To receive free reports, subscribe at firstname.lastname@example.org