The State of Play, Fifty Years On, In The Middle East


During the fifty years since its spectacular victory in the Six-Day War, when 300 Egyptian planes on eighteen airfields were destroyed within a matter of hours by the Israeli air force, Israel has faced a relentless campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state, and to simultaneously promote the notion of a “Palestinian people,” a people whom, we are repeatedly told, richly deserve a state of their own on at least some of the land that was “stolen” from them by the Jews. Part of that propaganda campaign has been to present the Muslim Arab war against Israel as susceptible of a “solution,” as long as Israel agrees to withdraw from its current borders, back to something like what it possessed before the Six-Day War, that is, the 1949 Armistice lines that the Arabs always refused to recognize, despite Israeli offers, as permanent borders. At the moment, there seems to be a temporary respite in the Muslim Arab war against Israel, given that Israel and a number of its Arab neighbors (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Kuwait, Bahrain) share the same fears of an aggressive Iran. But perhaps too much is being made of that ephemeral alliance; national interests can change, but Islam is forever. If the Iran threat disappears, how long will that much-ballyhooed alliance last, the one that is now said to exist, though unstated, between Infidel Israel and, mirabile dictu, a number of Arab states including, amazingly, Saudi Arabia?

In fact, the war against Israel is not, and never was, a war over this or that sliver or slice of territory but, rather, a classic Jihad, which has no end until the Infidel state of Israel ceases to exist, and all the territory it now controls reverts to its rightful owners, the Muslim Arabs. And the war against Israel does not stand alone. It is only the most publicized of the many local Jihads being waged, using many different instruments, all over the globe, but especially in Western Europe, where the Qur’anic injunction to “strike terror” among the Unbelievers (Infidels, Kuffar) has been dutifully acted upon by Muslims in the U.K., France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland. Israel is no longer the only target of violent Jihad,  but that is slim consolation, for the countries of Western Europe still refuse to recognize that the texts and teachings of Islam explain the Muslim terror attacks against them and against Israel, too. Instead, they persist in pretending that these attacks are the result of “twisted and distorted” versions of Islam that have nothing to do — as London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Pope Francis, Angel Merkel, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and many others continue to insist — with the real, peaceful, and tolerant Islam.

Europeans fail to see that the war against them is a Jihad, and do not realize that the duty to wage Jihad is incumbent on Muslims, until Islam everywhere dominates. It need not be violent, for there are many ways to conduct Jihad: Jihad of “the pen, tongue” can refer to propaganda, Islamic apologetics, missionary work to convert Infidels; the Jihad of “wealth” (Al-Jihad bi-al-mal), means using money as a weapon to spread Islam, that is, to pay for mosques and madrasas, or to bribe foreign rulers, or even diplomats at the U.N., to vote in favor of “Muslim” issues. Having admitted tens of millions of Muslims into their midst, the political and media elites in the West do not dare to recognize the permanent threat to European well-being they have themselves created. But they cannot fight this Jihad effectively if they continue to refuse to understand it. And they could fight it better if they realized that they are in the same boat as Israel, and that the Israelis have learned lessons in coping with terrorism that could be useful to the Europeans. But just as they do not want to recognize the Jihad against themselves, they do not want to admit that the war against Israel is a Jihad. And even now, as each week brings fresh news of Jihad killings in Europe, instead of a revived sympathy for Israel, as existed until the Six-Day War, Europeans have not modified their pressure on Israel to “make peace” — i.e., to give in to the territorial demands of the local Arabs, whether the Slow Jihadists of Mahmoud “No-One-Here-But-Us-Accountants” Abbas or the Fast Jihadists of Hamas, however plausibly presented as a “peace plan” — and still refuse to acknowledge that any further Israeli withdrawal (after more than 95% of the territory won in the Six-Day War, the entire Sinai and Gaza, has already been given up) would deprive Israel of the minimum conditions it needs for its own defense. The result would be perceived as weakening Israel, and would stimulate Muslim Arab appetites. The Europeans need to learn an essential lesson: any victory for Jihadists anywhere encourages Jihadists everywhere. When Europeans pressure Israel into making dangerous territorial concessions, and ignore Israel’s need for the “secure and defensible borders” it had been guaranteed in U.N. Resolution 242, they are not just harming the Jewish (Infidel) state, but emboldening Muslims in Western Europe. Were Israel to be pushed back to something like the 1949 Armistice lines, it would exist in a state of maximum insecurity, and eventually, the Arabs, who have learned patience, and can take their time, would try again to militarily defeat the Jewish state, when it was again within borders far more difficult to defend, especially with the loss of control over the invasion routes from the east. Any future victory over the Jewish state would put Muslims in Europe in a triumphalist mood, and whet, not sate, Muslim appetites everywhere. Europe’s well-being is now linked to Israel’s survival. Unfortunately, the Europeans still do not recognize that.

The most important victory in the war against Israel has been the new narrative of the conflict that the Arabs have created since their loss in the Six-Day War to disguise their jihad. No more threats of “extermination” and “massacres like in the days of the Mongols.” Instead, the local Arabs, west of the Jordan River, and identical in religion, language, customs to the Arabs on the eastern side of the Jordan, became the “Palestinian people” who had lived in “Palestine” (a toponym created by the Romans two millennia ago to supplant the word “Judea,” in an attempt to efface the Jewish connection to the land) since time immemorial. In order to weigh the claims of “the Palestinian people,” including their claim to have a moral and legal right to a separate state, we should first step back and see how, in general, what criteria should be applied to judge  what constitutes a separate people, and how to weigh that people’s claim to statehood. In particular, we need to examine where the claims of the “Palestinian people” to statehood should rank in the world’s sympathy.

The Serbians, the Montenegrins, the Kosovars, the East Timorese, the South Sudanese, have all attained their independence since 2000. Some of them had stronger claims than others to nationhood. The East Timorese, for example, are largely Christian, because Portugal, as colonial power since the 16th century, had introduced that religion to the indigenous people. When the Portuguese left in 1975, the East Timorese declared their independence, but a few days later, the Muslim army of Indonesia entered, declared East Timor a province of Indonesia, and imposed their rule, often massacring the rebellious inhabitants.  100,000 East Timorese were murdered by Muslim Indonesians — this certainly qualified this as  a  “genocide.” But international pressure grew and in 1999, the Indonesians finally withdrew. That international pressure was not just to have the Indonesians withdraw, but for the East Timorese to be helped to statehood. They achieved that independence in 2002. They were distinctive in their Asian neighborhood both by religion (Catholicism) and by language (Portuguese), and the genocide they had endured made their moral claim for statehood stronger still.

Similarly, the black Africans who finally won independence for the South Sudan had international support because of the violent war conducted by northern Arabs against the Christian and pagan blacks in the southern Sudan. This was no minor clash, but, a 22-year-long war that claimed two million dead black Africans, and four million more permanently displaced. These people, the  southern Sudanese, differed from the northern Arabs who oppressed them both by race and by religion (the southern Sudanese were Christian or pagan, and the Arabs were Muslim). They had the same strong case for statehood as did the East Timorese, including  the undeniable fact of the genocide that both the South Sudanese and the East Tiimorese had endured. And creating the state of the South Sudan did not threaten the Arabs of the Sudan, nor did the tiny state of East Timor threaten the mighty Muslim state of Indonesia.

These are the easy cases.

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