Sheikh Qaradawi Orders Conquest of Israel by Palestinians: So Much for a Two-State Solution
Dear Friend of FLAME:
The fantasy of an Israeli-Palestinian peace grows more fantastic by the day, even as newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tries futilely to gin up a peace conference between Israel and the Palestinians. Kerry has already made three trips to the Middle East and still has nothing to show for it except a futile attempt to resuscitate a worn-out, decade-old proposal.
Kerry's latest ploy was the so-called Arab Peace Initiative (API), which was first proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and adopted by the Arab League. The API calls for Israel to withdraw completely to the 1967 armistice lines (including from East Jerusalem), repatriation of Palestinian refugees to their homes in Israel and Arab recognition of Israel. Now Kerry has persuaded a number of Arab nations to reaffirm their support for the API.
Unfortunately, the API was a bad idea when it was proposed, and it's an even worse idea now. One problem is that since the 1967 war against five invading Arab armies, Israel has annexed all of Jerusalem and made the city its capital. Second, Israel has expanded Jerusalem's city limits and the country's western border into what was once Jordan-occupied territory in the West Bank. While this is a relatively tiny amount of land---and Israel has indicated its willingness to trade other land for it---the API does not allow for such swaps.
A second, even larger problem with the API is that it doesn't account for the rise and increasing power of Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that already controls Gaza with an iron fist. In the West Bank, aging Palestinian "President" Mahmoud Abbas has no successor, and his ruling Fatah party and the Palestinian Authority are in political and economic shambles. Over the next decade, the well-organized Hamas seems destined to seize control of the West Bank as well.
Hamas's mission, of course, is the complete destruction of Israel, the murder of all Jews and the establishment of an Islamic nation from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. Hamas' influence in the Arab world grows daily, with visits by the Qatari head of state, who promised $400 million in support, and in June by Turkey's prime minister Erdogan---both of whom are snubbing Abbas. Last week Hamas and Gaza Palestinians were visited from Egypt by Sheikh Yusef Qaradawi, one of the most influential Sunni scholars and religious authorities in the Muslim world.
Just in case Western diplomats are still hoping that the Arabs want peace with Israel, Qaradawi gave them and the Gazans a spirited lecture on the Palestinians' sacred, irreversible obligation to conquer Israel and return it to Arab domination. If you have any friends who harbor hopes for an Arab-Israeli peace anytime soon, you'll want to send this article to them. Qaradawi's message is frightening, but because it's so passionate and well received by the Palestinians, it's deadly sobering.
Take a few minutes to read this disturbing article below by Lt. Col. Jonathan Halevi, then pass it along to friends, colleagues, and fellow congregants using the "send to a friend" button at the bottom of this email, or using the buttons above to share it via social media.
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Sheikh Qaradawi's Visit to Gaza: "We Will Never Concede Palestine, and We Will Never Recognize Israel"
By Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, May 14, 2013
Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, visited Gaza on May 7-10 at head of an entourage of 45, including senior officials of the organization. In the past, Qaradawi was a candidate for leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, and over the years he has acquired the status of spiritual leader of this movement and of its Palestinian branch, Hamas.
Qaradawi received a warm welcome, especially from the Hamas leadership. They saw the visit as an important affirmation, by the longstanding and supreme religious authority of the Sunni Muslim world, of Hamas' rule in Gaza. The visit affirmed Hamas as a faithful exponent of the Palestinian people and the jihadist enterprise, aimed at conquering the State of Israel and making it part of the Islamic state of Palestine – eventually to be one of the provinces of the Islamic caliphate whose capital will be Jerusalem.
Qaradawi's visit was extensively covered in the Hamas government's media, which again highlighted the "sheikh of jihad's" (as Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called him) backing for this Palestinian movement.
On May 10, the headline of the official Hamas daily Falastin was worded in that spirit: "Qaradawi calls for liberating the soil of Palestine." The subhead was a quotation of the most important statement he made: "We will never concede Palestine and we will never recognize Israel."
During the visit, Qaradawi set forth his political outlook, thereby offering a sort of vision for the future (as well as a sort of last will and testament, given his advanced age (86) and his own recent remark that his days are numbered). The following are the main tenets of that outlook:
Qaradawi's Vision for the Future
Dr. Marwan Abu Ras, president of the Palestinian Islamic Scholars Association, which is identified with Hamas, said in a speech honoring Qaradawi at the Islamic University that the Palestinians see themselves as continuing his path. "We are students of Qaradawi. We learned from him the true path [Wasatiyyah – the middle road], and [the way of] force regarding [the restoration of] rights, and [the way of] power regarding the prohibition on visiting Al-Aqsa [Mosque] when it is under occupation and [conditional] on its permission. We learned from him the [importance] of force in supporting the Palestinian resistance and in the actions of self-sacrifice [suicide]."
During the Second Intifada, Qaradawi published a religious ruling (fatwa) that permits suicide bombings and the killing of Israeli civilians. He headed the Union of Good organization, which raised millions of dollars for institutions connected to Hamas. A considerable part of these funds went to support Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel, for the families of terrorists who were killed including those who had carried out suicide bombings, and for Hamas' dawah activity, which inculcates the values of jihad in Palestinian society.
The visit of Qaradawi, the premier religious scholar of the Sunni Muslim world, is of great significance for Hamas, which wins further, major legitimacy for its rule. The visit also indicates that Hamas' jihad approach is preferable to that of political negotiations, which the "president of Palestine," Mahmoud Abbas, represents.
The tailwind provided by Qaradawi is also vital for Hamas in the long-term battle it is waging against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. This campaign aims at the eventual complete takeover of the PA and PLO institutions, while winning internationally recognized status for Hamas as the sole representative of the Palestinian people.
In the West, including some who are close to the Obama administration, Qaradawi has been portrayed as representing moderate, political Islam (Wasatiyyah). This notion helped legitimize the Muslim Brotherhood as an ally for the United States in place of longstanding regimes that fell in the revolts known as the "Arab Spring."
Qaradawi's words in Gaza reflect the real nature of Wasatiyyah (the true path): a clear-cut, organized approach to implementing Islamic religious rule in all the Muslim states, while adopting jihad as the means of realizing its political-religious objectives. This approach is similar to that of al-Qaeda, differing only in terms of the phases of implementation.
Moreover, Qaradawi, while focusing on the liberation of Palestine, also hinted at the Islamic obligation to liberate Spain from Christian occupation; the rule that no one has the authority to concede Islamic land applies to Spain as well (and to the other lands leading to the gates of Vienna). About a decade ago, Qaradawi issued a fatwa on the gradual conquest of the entire continent of Europe via Islamic exhortation (dawah) and the demographic factor, leading to the fulfillment of Muhammad's prophecy on the conquest of the cities of Constantinople (Istanbul), Jerusalem, and Romiyyah (Rome) as a condition for the emergence of the Mahdi, the Muslim messiah.
Finally, it should be noted that Qaradawi and his entourage entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing in Egyptian Sinai. Haniyeh, who welcomed him, boasted that there was and is no need for Israeli permission and that Qaradawi was coming to Gaza as had the "victorious conquerors" in the days of the Muslim conquests. Qaradawi's visit, like that of the high-ranking Bahraini delegation that concurrently arrived in Gaza, and hundreds of other delegations and visitors from abroad, indicates the simple fact that the Gaza-Egypt border is actually open and there is no "blockade" of Gaza.
Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd. and is a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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