Wednesday, September 14, 2016
The Arabs' Historic Mistakes in Their Interactions with Israel
This is part one of a two-part series. The second part will examine what we Arabs can do differently today.
In the current state of the relationship between the Arab world and Israel, we see a patchwork of hostility, tense peace, limited cooperation, calm, and violence. We Arabs managed our relationship with Israel atrociously, but the worst of all is the ongoing situation of the Palestinians.
The Original Mistake
Our first mistake lasted centuries, and occurred well before Israel's declaration of independence in May 1948. It consisted of not recognizing Jews as equals.
As documented by a leading American scholar of Jewish history in the Muslim world, Mark R. Cohen, during that era, "Jews shared with other non-Muslims the status of dhimmis [non-Muslims who have to pay protection money and follow separate debasing laws to be tolerated in Muslim-controlled areas] ... New houses of worship were not to be built and old ones could not be repaired. They were to act humbly in the presence of Muslims. In their liturgical practice they had to honor the preeminence of Islam. They were further required to differentiate themselves from Muslims by their clothing and by eschewing symbols of honor. Other restrictions excluded them from positions of authority in Muslim government".
On March 1, 1944, while the Nazis were massacring six million Jews, and well before Israel declared independence, Haj Amin al-Husseini, then Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, declared on Radio Berlin, "Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you."
If we had not made this mistake, we might have benefited in two ways.
Jews would likely have remained in the Muslim Middle East in greater numbers, and they would have advanced the Middle Eastern civilization rather than the civilizations of the places to which they fled, most notably Europe and later the United States.
Secondly, if Jews felt secure and accepted in the Middle East among Arabs, they may not have felt the need to create an independent state, which would have saved us from our subsequent mistakes.
The Worst Mistake
Our second and worst mistake was in not accepting the United Nations partition plan of 1947. UN resolution 181 provided the legal basis for a Jewish state and an Arab state sharing what used to be British-controlled Mandatory Palestine.
Video of the week- 9/11 memorial monument in Israel - http://tinyurl.com/zo37x6h
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