Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Facing a religious war, we cannot compromise

Amit Halevy

Often, reality calls on us as individuals and as a nation to overcome. To overcome is to stop ignoring the roots of the conflict and to peruse the Hamas charter, which calls in the name of God for Israel's destruction. "The Palestinian problem is a religious problem," the charter states, summing up Hamas thusly, "Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Quran its constitution, jihad its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes."
To overcome is to say to the Christian West and to ourselves: This is not terrorism, it's Islam. It wasn't a gang of terrorists that gained control of Gaza, but six faithful legions speaking through religious and social foundations, electing Hamas in Gaza by a wide majority. It is neither mysticism nor opium. It is institutionalized religion rooted in a structured ideology galvanizing millions of people worldwide to action. This is not the ninth-century "One Thousand and One Nights." Just look around, there is mass killing in Iraq and Syria and thousands of Christians fled Mosul this week fearing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's new Islamic caliphate.

To overcome is to liberate oneself from the childhood notions of fences and walls. These do not make a reality -- they conceal it. Evil has not disappeared from beyond the fence, it rockets at us from above and digs at us from below. It's sufficient enough to imagine Mahmoud Abbas setting the situation straight, or that at the end of the operation, as the pundits and intellectuals have said, the issue will go to Ramallah. But who is this Abbas, anyway, to the hundreds of thousands of people who elected Hamas in 2006? We tried this experiment once already. It was called the "Gaza First" plan and it failed in every way.
To overcome is to deal, first and foremost, with the ideology that is raging against us. The Israeli response, attacks as it were, feeds the international media as if this actually were a conflict between neighbors and not a decisively ideological war. Not all Islamic values are negative, but the ones fueling this war certainly are. From our vantage, they should be at the center of this war.
We must rivet our gaze to the Muslims and say, at each and every forum: In this struggle with Israel -- it is you who are heretic; you have profaned both religion and morality, for this world wasn't meant for occupation, theft and destruction, as you shamefully accomplished through so much of history, but for thriving and development. The postmodern West doesn't know how to say this. Perhaps it is afraid. This we proclaim in an unequivocal tone, through tanks and aircraft. We will not let you do to this territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea what the Islamic State group has done in Mosul or what Assad has done to your brothers in Syria.
You have desecrated our relations as well. "We shall inherit the east of the land and its west," as it is written in the Quran. Don't buy the Christian story (some parts have already been redacted). We are the true sons of Israel, those whom Muhammad encountered in Medina, an ancient nation that has returned home -- this time, forever.
To overcome is to recognize all of this and to take responsibility for the entire territory, at least the existing model in Judea and Samaria. Demilitarize Gaza, take control of its open territories, isolate municipal areas and go city after city clearing terrorist cells, work with local governors who declare both their opposition to Hamas and their commitment to civil society, and help them to rebuild it. It will exact a certain price and take much time, but it will lay the fundamental conditions for returning order to the region. If we finish up with negotiations between two equal sides under Tony Blair with a tie and a smile, it will be very sad.

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