The policy of terror of the occupying Israeli government
For years now there has been chaos and oppression in the Palestinian
lands, where for 400 years during the Ottoman period peoples of different
religions, languages and cultures lived together in peace and security.
The slaughter and killing that continue with all their ruthlessness in
the present day began when the region came under British domination and
accelerated with the founding of an independent Jewish state.
the root of what is going on in the region lies the fact that the Palestinian
lands are seen as sacred by the three divine religions. However, those
who defend the Zionist view have followed a policy aimed at eliminating
the other peoples, instead of maintaining that sacred nature in peace
and brotherhood. Zionist thought says that the Jews are a "superior
race", which God has chosen, and that all other peoples in the world
must bow their heads down to them. For Zionism, the belief in "the
promised land" is just as important as that of the "chosen people."
According to that belief, the Jews must live in the holy lands that God
has promised to them. This region, from the Nile River to the Euphrates,
consists of Palestinian lands more than anything else, and has Jerusalem
at its center. Zionism believes that it is the Jews' most natural right
to live in the promised land, and that all sorts of violence and oppression
may be used against those who try to prevent this. At the root of the
present injustice in Palestine, and the state of Israel's policy of violence
and oppression towards the Palestinians, lies this racist belief and view.
For the Jews, the founding of an independent Jewish state on Palestinian
land was a sacred mission. Another important aim is to preserve the existence
of that state, which was established in May 1948. According to the rulers
of the state of Israel, that can only be guaranteed by increasing the
population on Palestinian territory and widening the areas inhabited by
them. In order to bring that about, the entire Palestinian population
must either be moved off that land, or else eliminated. For fully a half
century now, the state of Israel has been engaged in the long-term extermination
of the Palestinian people in accordance with that belief.
It needs to be made clear that the Jews' wish for a homeland of their
own is entirely justified. Neither is there anything wrong in that homeland
being in Palestinian territory, the Jews' historical homeland. However,
Zionism is a twisted ideology which harbours an aggressive plan to take
over all of Palestine and exile or eliminate the Muslim Arabs living in
the country, and which sees nothing wrong in carrying that plan out. That
is why its measures are condemned not just by Muslims, but also by a great
many Israelis, Jews and Christians.
The Exiling of the Palestinian People
When the Zionists decided to found an independent Jewish state on Palestinian
territory, one of the first problems they faced was the small size of
the Jewish population living there. In the early 1900s, Jews constituted
less than 10 percent of the population of Palestine. Thanks to the efforts
of the Zionists, the number of Jewish migrants, 100,000 in the 1920s,
reached 232,000 in the 1930s according to official figures. By 1939 there
were 445,000 Jews out of a total population of 1.5 million. From representing
10 percent of the population just two decades before, they now constituted
30 percent by 1939. Jewish settlement areas were also expanded in line
with the rise in population. By 1939 the land owned by Jews had doubled
in comparison to the 1920s. By 1947, there were 630,000 Jews in Palestine
and 1.3 million Palestinians. Between the partitioning of Palestine by
the United Nations on November 29, 1947 and the founding of the state
of Israel on May 15, 1948, the Israelis acquired a substantial part of
Palestinian lands. As a result of pressure and killing in Palestinian
villages, the number of Palestinians living in some 500 cities, towns
and villages fell from 950,000 to 138,000. A great number of these people
had been killed, and others were exiled. The Zionist terror groups that
would later form the Israeli Army attacked Muslim villages at night. Muslims
were shot, and everywhere these groups passed through was burned and destroyed.
By these means, some 400 Palestinian villages were wiped off the map
in 1948 and 1949. The property left behind by the Palestinians was
taken over by the Jews by virtue of the Absentee Property Law. Until 1947,
Jewish land ownership in Palestine was some 6%. By the time the state
was formally established, it had sequestered 90% of the land.9
The Palestinian Arabs were left with just two separate areas, the Gaza
Strip and the West Bank.
For a Palestinian, setting
out on what should be a 15-minute trip to go to work or visit a
relative living in a nearby refugee camp becomes a true ordeal.
He will suffer verbal and physical abuse from Israeli soldiers at
the regular security checkpoints along the road.
As we have seen, each new arrival of Jews meant cruelty, oppression and
violence for the Muslim population. In order to settle the new arrivals,
Zionist organizations forced the Palestinian people to abandon the lands
they had lived on for hundreds of years. Joseph Weitz, the head of the
Israeli government's transfer committee of 1948, wrote in his diary in
December 20, 1940: "It must be clear that there is no room for both
peoples in this country. No development will bring us closer to our aim,
to be an independent people in this small country. After the Arabs are
transferred, the country will be wide open for us; with the Arabs staying,
the country will remain narrow and restricted. The only way is to transfer
the Arabs from here to neighboring countries, all of them. Not a single
village, or a single tribe must be left."10
Heilburn, the chairman of the committee for the re-election of General
Shlomo Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, expressed the Zionist view of the
Palestinian people in these words: "We have to kill all the Palestinians
unless they are resigned to live here as slaves."11
By far the greater part of the Palestinian Muslims who were forcibly
removed from the places they had lived in for hundreds of years are still
living in refugee camps. The number of Palestinians living in refugee
camps, and in those in neighboring countries such as Lebanon and Jordan,
is some 3.5 million.
Most Palestinians, forced by Jews off lands they had lived for thousands
of years, are still struggling to survive in refugee camps. The
current number of those living in such camps totals some 3.5 million.
These camps are frequently subjected to abuse, oppression and bombing
by the state of Israel.
The conditions faced by the Palestinians in the refugee camps and the
regions under Israeli occupation are particularly unpleasant. These people
have difficulties in meeting even their most basic human needs. They can
enjoy electricity and water only to the extent that the state of Israel
gives permission, and have to walk miles to poorly paid jobs in order
to make a living. Even journeys of just 10-15 minutes, to go to work or
visit relatives in a nearby refugee camp, are not easy for a Palestinian.
They are subjected to identity checks at frequent intervals along the
road, and to verbal and physical abuse. Sometime Israeli soldiers close
roads for "security" reasons, and Palestinians are then unable
to go to work, or anywhere, not even to hospital if they are ill.
In addition to
attacks by Israeli forces, the Palestinian people are also
struggling with economic difficulties, hunger and drought.
well as all this, they survive every day with the constant fear of being
killed, injured or detained. That is because the people living in the
camps are frequently subjected to armed attacks by fanatical Jews living
in the nearby settlement areas, particularly during the night.
In his book The Israeli Connection, Benjamin Beit Hallahmi, a
professor of psychology at Israel's Haifa University, describes the situation
of the Muslims living in the Gaza Strip and Israel's view of them:
In 1986, the Gaza population stood at 525,000 and the density at 2,150
per square kilometer (in Israel it is 186). Most able-bodied Gazans, starting
sometimes at age eight, work in Israel, at wages which are 40 percent
below average Israeli pay. They pay income tax - without being entitled
to any benefits, since they are defined as nonresidents.
In the Israeli consciousness Gaza has become the symbol of helplessness
and squalor, but there is no sympathy for the denizens of Gaza, for they
are the enemy.12
It will be useful at this point to briefly consider the impressions of
a Palestinian-American citizen who visited the refugee camps in order
to get a better idea of the conditions there. Yasmine Subhi Ali, a medical
student, says this of her 1999 visit to the Shatila Camp:
… passing many damaged remnants of the civil war and the Israeli
invasion all along our route. I expected that we would have to stop at
some gate signifying the entrance to the camp when we reached it, but
I saw nothing of the sort. I didn't need to: the contrast between the
camp and the surrounding area (which was not the nicest part of town in
the first place) was so striking that there could be no mistaking it.
There were piles upon piles of trash, junk, and stones lining both sides
of the road… Crowded shops line the street now, but in the distance
behind them reminders remain: those bullet-hole-ridden, gunpowder-stained
buildings… and a graveyard for which (we were told) the camp inhabitants
were not allowed to build any memorials or even tombstones.13
Israeli forces defenseless
people with automatic rifles and heavy weapons.
Genocide Against the Civilian Population
Israel has implanted systematic state terror against the Palestinian
people ever since it was founded. Naturally, the main targets of that
terror are the Muslims living in the region. For half a century now, Palestinian
Muslims have been ejected from their homes with no justification even
being offered, and have been shot and attacked, have seen their homes
demolished and their fields and gardens torn up, and been subjected to
torture and violence. What is going on in Palestinian lands reveals that
there is a terrible genocide being carried out by the state of Israel.
Very few of the attacks on and bombings of women, young people and children
in Palestine are reported by the world media.
Israelis carry out their killings before the eyes of the world.
In Palestine, 70 percent of whose population consists of young people,
children have experienced exile, detentions, imprisonment and slaughter
ever since the occupation in 1948. They have been treated as second-class
citizens in their own land, and learned to resist, even under the most
intolerable conditions. Half of those who lost their lives in the Intifada
which started with Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to the Dome of the
Rock in October 2000 were under age 16. Sixty percent of those injured
were less than 18. At least five children a day still die in those regions
where the conflict continues, and more than 10 are injured.
Journalist-writer Ruth Anderson described the inhuman images from the
Aksa Intifada in The Palestine Chronicle, published in Palestine:
No one mentions the newly married young man who went off to demonstrate
only to die a martyr leaving his young bride a widow. No one mentions
the Palestinian youth whose head was crushed by Israelis and whose arms
were broken before he was so brutally slaughtered. No one mentions
the little 8-year-old boy who was shot to death by Israeli soldiers. No
one says how Jewish settlers armed with all sorts of weapons and encouraged
by Barak's government, storm Palestinian villages and uproot olive
trees and murder Palestinian civilians. No one mentions the Palestinian
babies who have died when their homes were bombed by air raids or who
were caught in a hail of Israeli bullets while being transported to an
envisioned safety. Everyone knows that babies cannot throw stones.
Everyone knows but Israelis and Americans.14
The reply from Ehud Barak, the prime minister of the time, to the inhuman
scenes going on in Palestine was particularly interesting as a reflection
of the state of Israel's view. He simply stated that he doesn't mind how
the conflict in Gaza, the West Bank and the other zones will ever die
down and that the use of all means against Palestinians crowds was justified.
He also noted that he is not interested in how many Palestinians die,
but he is only concerned with the security of his own people.15
SHEDS CHILDREN'S BLOOD
Whenever he holds the upperhand, he
goes about the earth corrupting it, destroying (people's)
crops and animals. Allah does not love corruption.
(Qur'an, 2: 205)
The response from E. Eytan, a general in the Israeli army, is even more
thought-provoking. He stated that they do not regret anything they have
done and they are ready to use all means for the security for their people
and soldiers. He said that the order was given to the troops to use weapons
against Palestinian demonstrators and that people must be shot in the
head and chest to instill fear into the population.16
The above statements from Israeli officials are the clearest possible
expression of this cruel mentality. The figures show that most Israeli
soldiers carried out their orders with the greatest efficiency. According
to a Palestine Health Organisation report, 34 percent of the more than
400 people killed during the Aqsa Intifada were under age 18. The important
thing, however, is that 47 percent of the dead were people who did not
take part in the demonstrations or clashes. Thirty-eight percent of those
injured on the West Bank were hit by real bullets, and 75 percent of those
in the upper parts of their bodies. In the Gaza Strip, 40 percent were
injured by real bullets, and 61 percent of them in the upper body, in
other words in the chest. The total number of wounded exceeded 10,000.
Some 1,500 people suffered permanent disabilities. The hospitals where
these people were being treated were also frequently attacked. A total
of 1,450 people were detained, and 750 of these are still in Israeli prisons.
Some 2,760 buildings were seriously damaged. Of these, 773 were the homes
of Palestinian civilians, 180 of which were completely destroyed. Among
the damaged buildings were 29 mosques, 12 churches and 44 water depots.
Forty-one schools were rendered completely unusable, and four of them
were actually used as military warehouses by Israeli troops. Thirty school
buildings were burned by Israeli soldiers. The situation led to damage
totaling around $400,000.
Finally, 45 students were killed on their way back home from school during
the first two months of the al-Aqsa Intifada.17
A chart showing the
numbers of people killed in the al-Aqsa Intifada, and where they
were hit. It shows that Israeli troops aim at children and the young
in particular, and shoot at the head and chest to be sure of making
of those killed
and neck (including 9 people shot from behind)
(including 12 people shot from behind)
All these statistics point to one clear fact: The state of Israel is
engaged in a conscious and systematic policy of the elimination of the
Palestinian people. The above figures show that Israeli troops did not
use their weapons to remove a threat to public security, but to kill and
maim. Most of the children who were killed and crippled were shot in the
head or chest, or else from behind. It is obvious that no soldier whose
aim is simply to maintain order would shoot people in the head or chest,
or from behind as they run away.
is no doubt that the terrorist actions targeting civilians resorted to
by some radical Palestinian groups in the face of the Israeli oppression
were unjustified, and we duly condemn those. Such attacks are generally
the subjects of massive world criticism and are much more harmful than
beneficial to the Palestinian cause. Yet it must not be forgotten that
the starting point for these acts of terror was the Israeli occupation.
Before 1967, in other words before it had occupied all the Palestinian
territories, Israel faced no terrorist threat. It was the Israeli occupation
and strategy of "ethnic cleansing" that gave birth to and sustained Palestinian
However, Muslims are charged with behaving in the manner commanded by
Allah and being guided by the sunnah of the Prophet, may Allah bless him
and grant him peace, at all moments of their lives.
The verses of the Qur'an call people to the ethics of Islam, through
which the world can be made a haven for peace and tolerance. Allah commands
us to rule justly without discriminating among people, to preserve people's
rights, not to tolerate cruelty, to support the oppressed in the face
of cruelty, and to lend a helping hand to those in need. This justice
requires one to face a decision by protecting the rights of both parties,
to evaluate events objectively, and to think without bias. It requires
justice, honesty, mercy, and compassion.
It is obvious that attacks such as these against civilians cannot be excused.
As explained above, such a method is absolutely inconsistent with Islam.
When we examine the Qur'anic verses and the actions of the Prophet, may
Allah bless him and grant him peace, it is clear that there is no place
in Islam for attacks against civilians. Whether during the conquest of Mecca
or during other wars, the Prophet carefully protected the rights of innocent
and unarmed people, and prevented them from being harmed. He reminded believers
in this regard on various occasions, commanding them to "Set out for war
in the name of Allah and for the sake of Allah. Do not lay hands on the
old verging on death, on women, children and babies. Do good, for Allah
loves .the virtuous and pious" (Muslim) Muslims oppose tyranny
and barbarism, the unnecessary use of weapons, and all unjust practices.
For years now, Israeli troops have been
savagely killing the defenseless, including young Palestinians
no more than children, without batting an eyelash.
In any discussion of the attacks on Israeli citizens, another topic which
must be examined is the place of suicide in Islam. Some circles are gravely
misinformed about Islam, believing that this religion of peace permits
the practice of suicide attacks; nothing could be further from the truth.
The fact is that Islam forbids the taking of one's own life, just as it
forbids the taking of another's. Allah condemns suicide explicitly when
he says, "do not kill yourselves." (Qur'an, 4: 29).
No matter what his reason, it is forbidden in Islam for anyone
to kill himself. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,
also condemns suicide in one of the hadiths, indicating that those who
choose this path will suffer eternal damnation:
Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will
be in the (Hell) Fire falling down into it and abiding therein perpetually
forever; and whoever drinks poison and kills himself with it, he will
be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the (Hell) Fire
wherein he will abide eternally forever; and whoever kills himself with
an iron weapon, will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing
his abdomen with it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally
Consequently, every Muslim should condemn these incidents, which cast
a pall on the just cause of the Palestinian people.
During the events sparked off by Israel's
opening a tunnel near the Jerusalem Mosque that had been kept closed
for centuries, the Palestinian minister of finance was attacked
by Israeli troops wielding sticks (top left).Israel is trying to
counter the rightful struggle of the Palestinians, one which has
been going on for more than half a century now, with bombs, bullets
It should be bore in mind that any mode of struggle outside of the values
of the Qur'an - for example, the "guerilla" tactics envisaged by communist
ideology - is not correct, and cannot succeed. For this reason current
situation on Palestinian lands must be evaluated sensibly and realistically,
and a new strategy consistent with the Qur'an must be determined. If Palestine
were to engage in a diplomatic and cultural struggle against Israel, which
is militarily so much more powerful than Palestine, instead of a military
one, it would not only enjoy much greater success, but would also put
an end to the sufferings of innocent people.
The world has been watching what has been
going on in Palestine for half a century now. This savage oppression
is covered by newspapers all over the world every day, and read
about by billions of people.
One could say a great deal more, and cite a great many more examples
of what is going on in Palestine. Yet what we must above all not forget
is the responsibility that falls to every person of conscience in the
face of them. The events in Palestine mean much more than an Arab-Israeli
war. First of all, the Muslim people whose lands have been forcibly taken
from them are engaged on an important quest for justice. The lands in
question are considered holy by the entire Islamic world. The Palestinian
people are resisting abandoning Jerusalem, a city which belongs to the
whole Muslim world. That is why all believers have a duty to wage a war
of ideas with those ideologies used to support the continuing oppression
in Palestine, and to try to find a solution to it.
Every person of conscience must consider that fact and look for a way
out. As we have said in other sections of this book, that way out lies
in spreading Qur'anic morality among people worldwide. That is the only
way to bring about peace and brotherhood, whether in Palestine or any
of the many other countries experiencing war and conflict. If the justice,
cooperation, compassion, love, self-sacrifice and forgiveness that the
morality of the Qur'an commands come to prevail in the world, then the
result will be a place of justice, peace and security.
With the words, "Let there be a community among you who call to the
good, and enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong. They are the ones who
have success" (Qur'an, 3: 104), Allah draws attention to this honorable
duty placed on all believers. What all Muslims therefore need to do is
themselves to live by a morality that is pleasing to Him, explain it to
other people, and preach the morality of the Qur'an to the entire world.