A roadmap or any other attempt at achieving an agreement establishing two independent states (the continuation of the State of Israel and a separate Palestinian state), existing together in peace, is bound to fail. Why? Consider the hate factor.
If the State of Israel were to suddenly disappear, Palestinians and the rest of the Muslim world would still hate the Jews. But the “Zionists” would no longer be a persistent pain in the middle of a Muslim neighborhood. And they could live with that.
The enmity between the Jews and Muslims began after Muhammad, the founder of Islam, fled from his home in Mecca in 622 and settled in the relative safety of Medina in the northern part of Saudi Arabia. While there, his attempts to convert the local Jews to the new religion were rejected and the “Prophet” was subjected to ridicule.
In chapter 5 of the Quran God declares, “O You who believe, do not take as allies those who received the Books (Jews) before you, but who now treat your religion as a joke and a game.”
Muhammad responded to the indignities by having his critics assassinated and by undertaking a jihad against Jewish villages. In April 0f 627, after the surrender of the Beni Quraidha near Medina, the Prophet had all of the captured men and boys of fighting age (about 900) beheaded. His campaign wiped out most of the Jews in the area. The women and children were taken as slaves and their property divided among the Muslim army.
Three years before his death, Muhammad survived an attempt to poison him by a Jewish woman named Zainab. Some Muslims blame his death in 632 on the effects of the poison and thus consider Muhammad a martyr for having been killed by a Jew.
As a result , the Quran does not deal kindly with the Jews. Every Muslim knows the history of bad blood that existed between the Prophet and his detractors.
There is no compromise in Islam. Muslims consider the words in the Quran, the Muslim bible, to be the words of God. There can be no criticism, no reformation. This perfect book is filled with with examples of the horrible fate that awaits unbelievers, especially the Jews.
Sura 48, verse 29 reads: “Muhammad is God’s Apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.” The Muslim resentment is deeply embedded and Muslims are very vocal when Jews become the topic of conversation. Over the past twenty years my talks with Muslims from “Palestine”, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, and Kuwait have elicited only negative comments.
Responses to my questions can be summed up as a desire to see the State of Israel eliminated, or as a Pakistani professor put it, “Why don’t we make it (the reality of Israel) a myth?”
Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, speaking for the Muslim perspective in 1937, said, “Our hatred of the Jews dates from God’s condemnation of them for their persecution and rejection of Isa [Jesus Christ] and their subsequent rejection later of His Chosen Prophet [Mohammad].”
He added, “…God teaches us — and we implicitly believe this… that for a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew, ensures him an immediate entry in Heaven and into the august presence of God Almighty.”
Whenever I interviewed Muslims, I would ask them to show me Palestine on a map. Each one would move his hand from north to south over Israel. A Palestinian added that they should have taken the land for peace deal. “It would be a start.” he said.
Given that hatred of Jews is a fundamental part of Islam, any hope for a lasting peace between the two parties would require a drastic change in the religion itself. That will not happen.
There is a very slim chance that Palestinian “moderates” (those who don’t break things or kill people) will see that, in the short term, an agreement is the best route to follow. They will at least have a state. And that would be, as the Palestinian said in my interview, “a start.”.
Will a peace agreement bring peace? No. In the mind of a Muslim, whether in Riyadh or Detroit, this is a conflict destined to continue until the Jewish State ceases to exist. The Muslim true believers, the beheaders and suicide bombers, will continue to do whatever they can to make this a reality – God willing.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MUHAMMAD, Sir John Glubb, Stein and Day, New York, 1970.
LIFE OF MAHOMET, Sir William Muir LLD., London, Elder, & Co., 15 Waterloo Place, 1877.
THE ARAB MIND, Raphael Patai, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1973.
THE QURAN, TRANSLATION AND COMMENTARY, Abdalla Yousuf Ali.
ISLAM UNVEILED, Robert Spencer, Encounter Books, San Francisco, 2002.
ONWARD MUSLIM SOLDIERS, Robert Spencer, Regnery Publishing, Inc., Washington, .DC., 2003.