WE'VE MOVED! IsraPundit has relocated to Click here to go there now.
News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 21, 2003

Why one should oppose a second Palestinian-Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza - Part 18 of 23

This piece continues a series of which the first 17 parts were posted on September 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 22, 23; October 7, 24, 28, 29; November 6, and 26; and December 5, and 13, 2002, and January 7 and 10, 2003. (Alternatively, the previous articles may be found in the IsraPundit archives as follows: September 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 22, 23; October 7, 24, 28, 29; and November 6 and 26; December 5, and 13, 2002; and January 7 and 10, 2003). The object of the series is to provide a database that is not only reliable and well-documented but also one for which documents are easily accessible, preferably from web resources. The term "second Palestinian-Arab state" is used in order to underscore that one Palestinian-Arab state already exists: it's called Jordan, and it is located in that part of Eastern Palestine that was originally to have been part of the Jewish National Home.

18. Islamist hatred towards the West will not diminish with the creation of a second Palestinian-Arab state, since this hatred has far deeper roots; nor will the terrorism that this hatred nurtures cease.

Table of contents

18.1 Introduction
18.2 Summary of arguments against the conventional “root cause”
18.3 Elaboration on the “root cause” arguments advanced
18.4 Final comments

18.1 Introduction

Those who support the creation of a second Palestinian-Arab state in Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza), argue, inter alia, that such a state: (i) will terminate the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs; (ii) will create stability in the region; and (iii) will obviate the intense Muslim hatred against the US and the west, together with the consequent terror.

The first part of this argument has been refuted in Part 10 of this series (see Dawson Speaks or IsraPundit), while the “regional” part of the argument has been dealt with in Part 11 (see Dawson Speaks or IsraPundit ). The present Part 18 deals with the third argument, viz., the issue of Islamist hatred for the US/West and the consequent terrorism.

There is little doubt that (1) intense hatred against the US does indeed exist in the Moslem/Arab countries, and that (2) this hatred is commonly attributed to the US support for Israel. Consider, for example, a passage from a recent article by Thomas Friedman, dated January 12, 2003, and entitled, Sealing the Well, which presents both points:
Then why is George Bush so intensely disliked? ... [T]he biggest factor remains the Bush team's seeming indifference to making any serious effort to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when so much killing is going on. The administration's refusal to apply any creative imagination to defusing this conflict, and even belittling it while calling Ariel Sharon "a man of peace," has embittered the Arab public.
I accept that the hatred exists and that its roots are attributed to the US support (such as it is) for Israel. But I reject the argument that this is indeed the “root cause” of the hatred of the US. Above all, I reject the corollary that if the US support for Israel were to cease and if a second Palestinian-Arab state were created, then the hatred towards the US would cease too. The object of this article is to support this thesis.

18.2 Summary of arguments against the conventional “root cause”

(1) If the conventional “root cause” thesis were correct (US support for Israel generates Islamic rage against the US), then the Islamist terrorism that is directed towards other western powers, e.g., Britain and France, would not exist. In fact, notwithstanding the efforts that Britain and France are making to provide the Palestinian-Arabs with a state, they are still loathed and attacked by Islamists. The Islamist terrorism to which the UK and France (and indeed, Russia too), is of the same vintage as the anti-Israeli and the anri-American terrorism, with little local variation.

(2) The Islamists do not restrict their hatred and terrorism to the US and other Western powers. Rather, they also direct their terrorism towards the leaders of their own countries as well as towards Christians in several Third World countries. Clearly, this terrorism has nothing at all to do with the US and her support for Israel, and yet the pattern of hatred and terrorism is the same.

(3) In lieu of the conventional “root cause”, one may suggest the much more convincing explanation offered (among others) by Netanyahu. This interpretation contends that over the last 150 or 200 years, the Islamic world has had to confront the reality of lagging behind the West in terms of social and economic development, including the inability to democratise their regimes. Additionally, Islamic countries have displayed glaring polarisation between the ruling rich and the ruled poor. Reaction to this reality has led to the creation of such movements as pan-Arabism and fundamental Islamism, seeking a return to “pure” Islam. Both have harnessed two formidable weapons: (1) the need of the ruling classes to find a scapegoat in order to divert the people’s attention from the tyranny and poverty inflicted on them by their rulers; and (2) a religious-cultural system that may easily be construed to condone and support intolerance and terrorism. Subsequently, this article will refer to this interpretation as the “alternative explanation of the root cause” .

(4) If the foregoing analysis is the correct one, then the creation of a second Palestinian Arab state will do absolutely nothing to obviate the Islamists’ hatred and terrorism towards the US, the West, other countries, or their very own rulers.

18.3 Elaboration on the “root cause” arguments advanced

The issues surrounding the “root cause” have been discussed in public fora at length. For this reason, it would be unnecessary to provide comprehensive corroboration and documentation for each of the point made in Section 18.2. Given the existing space constraints, such a task would also be impossible, as even an annotated bibliography could not be accommodated in an article of reasonable size. Section 18.3, therefore, will concentrate on a few major points only.

(1) To demonstrate that Western powers other than the US are targeted by Islamist, even though their anti-Israeli stance is glaring, suffice it to recall that even as Britain called the Quartet conference for January 14, 2003, she was also busy with the terrorist ricin affair and saw a British policeman stabbed to death by Islamists in the course of conducting a ricin investigation in Manchaster. On the same day, Paris police discovered explosives in the Paris Basilica. This incident, of course, is minor compared to the bombing of the French oil tanker Limburg, as reported by CNN on October 6, 2002. And having mentioned France, recall this 1996 incident, as quoted from an article entitled, Three Decades of Middle East Terrorism (posted on the site of FreeLebanon):
Paris Subway Explosion, Dec. 3, 1996: A bomb exploded aboard a Paris subway train as it arrived at the Port Royal station, killing two French nationals, a Moroccan, and a Canadian and injuring 86 persons. Among those injured were one US citizen and a Canadian. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but Algerian extremists are suspected.
As noted, we only have space here for illustrative examples.

I maintain that the Thomas Friedmans of the media should have to explain: if the US support of Israel is behind the anti-American hatred among the Islamists, what propels the same people to engage in terrorism against their EU supporters? Perhaps the root cause has nothing to do with a Palestinian-Arab state and everything to do with the “alternative explanation”.

(2) Just as the Islamists target “friendly” countries such as Britain and France, so too they target third world countries, Christians, and their own leaders. To corroborate this statement, observe the following partial list of terrorist acts by Islamists, most of which do not involve Israel, the US or any western country specifically. The data are quoted from the aforementioned site of FreeLebanon.
Grand Mosque Seizure, Nov. 20, 1979: 200 Islamic terrorists seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, taking hundreds of pilgrims hostage. Saudi and French security forces retook the shrine after an intense battle in which some 250 people were killed and 600 wounded.

Assassination of Egyptian President, Oct. 6, 1981: Soldiers who were secretly members of the Takfir Wal-Hajira sect attacked and killed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat during a troop review.

Assassination of Lebanese President, Sept. 14, 1982: Premier Bashir Gemayel was assassinated by a car bomb parked outside his party's Beirut headquarters.

Soviet Diplomats Kidnapped, Sept. 30, 1985: In Beirut, Lebanon, Sunni terrorists kidnapped four Soviet diplomats. One was killed, and three were later released.

Egyptian Airliner Hijacking, Nov. 23, 1985: An EgyptAir airplane bound from Athens to Malta and carrying several US citizens was hijacked by the Abu Nidal group.

Egyptian Embassy Attack, Nov. 19, 1995: A suicide bomber drove a vehicle into the Egyptian Embassy compound in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing at least 16 and injuring 60 persons. Three militant Islamic groups claimed responsibility.

Bombing of Archbishop of Oran, Aug. 1, 1996: A bomb exploded at the home of the French archbishop of Oran, killing him and his chauffeur. The attack occurred after the archbishop's meeting with the French foreign minister. The Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) is suspected.

Egyptian Letter Bombs, Jan. 2 - 13, 1997: A series of letter bombs with Alexandria, Egypt, postmarks were discovered at Al-Hayat newspaper bureaus in Washington, D.C., New York City, London, and Riyadh. Three similar devices, also postmarked in Egypt, were found at a prison facility in Leavenworth, Kan. Bomb disposal experts defused all the devices, but one detonated at the Al-Hayat office in London, injuring two security guards and causing minor damage.

Tourist Killings in Egypt, Nov. 17, 1997: Al-Gama' at al-Islamiyya (IG) gunmen shot and killed 58 tourists and four Egyptians and wounded 26 others at the Hatshepsut Temple in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor.
In fact, the list above is quite incomplete. Omitted, for example, are the Islamist terrorist attack on OPEC, 21 December 1975, and the attempt on Mubarak’s life in Addis Ababa on June 26, 1995. A more complete list (albeit one that includes terrorism other than Islamist terrorism) may be found in such sites as Supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Terrorism Research Center, or the Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism.

On January 6, 2003 I posted an article on IsraPundit and on Dawson Speaks, documenting the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Islamists in one single week, centered on Christams, 2002. The final paragraph reads:
[I]n one single week, we had news about terrorism from (in alphabetical order) Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, and Russia. And again the question arises: what has all this terrorism to do with Jews, a Palestinian state or the “occupation”? Is it not time that the West identify the “root cause” of Islamist terror for what it really is?
With this evidence, Friedman’s case about the link between Islamic rage and the US support for Israel seems utterly absurd.

Next, we examine the “alternative explanation of the root cause”, which is more consistent with the facts as recorded above.

(3) In complete opposition to Friedman, the “alternative explanation” has been summarized by Netanyahu as follows (cited from p. 87 of:

Netanyahu, Benjamin. Fighting Terrorism. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001, Second Edition; italics in the original).

[T]he soldiers of militant Islam do not hate the West because of Israel, they hate Israel because of the West - because they see it is an island of Western democratic values in a Moslem-Arab sea of despotism.
How did Netanyahu and others who subscribe to the “alternative explanation” arrived at this conclusion? Quoting from Netanyahu (pp. 82 et seq), the following picture emerges.

To fully appreciate the enduring hatred of the West by today's Islamic militants, it is necessary to understand the historic roots of this enmity... [I]n the year 630 the Arab prophet Muhammad united the Arab peoples, forging them into a nation with a fighting religion whose destiny was to bring the word of Allah and the rule of Islam to all mankind. Within a century, Muhammad and his followers had made the Muslim Arabs the rulers of a vast empire, conquering the Middle East, Persia, India and the Asian interior, North Africa, Asia Minor, and Spain, and lunging deep into France... [F]or 950 years after that defeat, much of Islamic history focused on the struggle to prevent the reconquest of Muslim lands by the Christians, particularly the Holy Land, Spain, and southern Italy, and the longing for a great leader, the caliph, who would set right the historic wrong, resurrecting the glory of Islam by finally achieving the defeat of European power. This was a dream powerful enough to bring the armies of the Ottoman sultan to the gates of Vienna, where the Muslim thrust into Europe was broken in 1683.

The subsequent decline of Ottoman power relative to the Christian powers, particularly Britain and France, was long and painful. By 1798, Napoleon was in command of a modern citizen-army which was able to seize Egypt without difficulty. By the 1830s, Algeria had become a permanent French base and the British had seized control of ports along the Arabian coast. Within fifty years, all of North Africa and much of the Persian Gulf had become British, French, and Italian possessions. And in 1914, with the beginning of World War I, the final dismantling of what was left of the realm of Islam began. In the aftermath of World War I, Turkey was established as a Western-style secular state, and the Arab world was put under European control: Morocco, Algeria, and Syria under France; Egypt, Arabia, and Iraq under Britain. Iran, too, was placed under the control of a pro-Western royal family in the 1930s...

There can be no exaggerating the confusion and humiliation which descended on the Arab and Muslim world as a result of these developments. The European powers divided up the map of the former Ottoman lands into several arbitrary entities, and ruled by making alliances with local clans who found the relationship profitable... Not surprisingly, the result was bitterness and consternation in Arab society...
To Netanyahu’s analysis I would add two comments. First, though Netanyahu refers to “Arab society”, the explanation applies to other Islamic, non-Arab countries too. Second, to fully appreciate how the regimes in the Arab states have deprived their citizens of progress in all areas of human development, suffice it to read the
Arab Human Development Report, 2002, released last year by the UN. An article on this report, dated July 18, 2002, may be found at CitCUN. Typical findings include:
* Per capita income growth has shrunk in the last 20 years to a level just above that of sub-Saharan Africa. Productivity is declining.

* The real income of the average Arab citizen was just 13.9% that of the average citizen of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] countries.

* Research and development are weak or nonexistent. Science and technology are dormant.

* Intellectuals flee a political and social environment that is stultifying — if not repressive.

* Arab women are almost universally denied advancement. Half of them still cannot read or write.
Written by a an exclusively Arab team, this document should be read in full, tables charts and all, to be believed.

What was the Islamic reaction to this state of affairs? To “remedy” their sorry state, some among the Arabs turned to pan-Arabism, a la Nasser, others turned to Islamism, as the founders of the Moslem Brothers did in Egypt in 1928. Since pan-Arabism brought no real change even where the monarchy was toppled (Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Libya), one regime after another turned to anti-Israeli incitement to divert the attention of the people from their enduring misery. At the same time, some of these regimes began to sponsor anti-Western terrorism, Iran, Lybia and Syria being prime example. A specific illustrative case was referred to in an article I posted on January 15, 2003, about Cleo Noel (see IsraPundit or Dawson Speaks), which documented the active participation of Libya, Sudan and the PLO in the murder of US and Belgian diplomats in 1975. What the Islamic world failed to produce is democracies, and this applies in particular to the Arab states.

The “alternative explanation”, then, attributes the Islamic and Arab rage against the West to a 200-year old clash of civilizations during which the Islamic world failed to reform itself in the direction of democratisation. If this analysis of the root cause is as correct as I believe it to be, then the Friedman’s thesis is utterly bankrupt.

Having explained the Islamic/Arab rage, the question arises as to what produces Islamist terrorism? Clearly, not all “enraged Moslems” resort to terrorism. To my mind, any honest discussion of the issues has to recognize the contribution of the teachings of Islam, “the religion of peace”, lauded by Bush and Powell, in creating Islamist terrorists. In her article, A Sermon for the West, Oriana Fallaci observed that this has become more than a “sensitive issue”:
People are afraid to speak against the Islamic world. Afraid to offend, and to be punished for offending, the sons of Allah. You can insult the Christians, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Jews. You can slander the Catholics, you can spit on the Madonna and Jesus Christ. But, woe betide the citizen who pronounces a word against the Islamic religion.
Well, the present article will not shy away from calling a spade a spade.

In the Internet age, anyone with a computer mouse can verify what the Koran/Hadith actually say. For example, one Hadith gem is incorporated in the Hamas Charter and reads as follows:
The time [of resurection] will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim).
This incredibly racist, genocidal quotation comes from the site of The Palestine Center which cannot be suspected of a pro-Israel bias...

Similarly, the Koran proper contains an abundance of anti-Christian and anti-Jewish passages. Citing from the Koran, as posted on the Web by the University of Virginia, one finds:
"9.5": So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them.
"8.12": When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.
Is Islam, as reflected by these quotations, a contributing factor to the translation of “Islamic rage” into terrorism? One can argue that of the millions of Moslems who read the same Hadith that Hamas adopted in its Charter, only a few used it as a licence to engage in terrorism. Indeed, I do not contend that Islamic teachings are a sufficient determinant of terrorism, but they sure are a contributing factor. To corroborate this statement further, examine Bin Laden’s famous Fatwa, as posted by FAS (Federation of American Scientists):
Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders
World Islamic Front Statement

23 February 1998

Shaykh Usamah Bin-Muhammad Bin-Ladin
Praise be to Allah, who revealed the Book, controls the clouds, defeats factionalism, and says in His Book: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)"; and peace be upon our Prophet, Muhammad Bin-'Abdallah, who said: I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but Allah is worshipped, Allah who put my livelihood under the shadow of my spear and who inflicts humiliation and scorn on those who disobey my orders.

First, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.

Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million... despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation.

Third, if the Americans' aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel's survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula.

All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on Allah, his messenger, and Muslims.
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together," and "fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah."

Notwithstanding Bush’s lauding of the “religion of peaced”, how is it possible to decouple Bin Laden’s terrorism from the Islamic nature of his Fatwa, moored in Koranic quatations? Indeed, In a detailed article in the NYT Magazine (October 7, 2001), entitled This Is a Religious War, Andrew Sullivan expanded on the religious aspect as follows:

The religious dimension of this conflict is central to its meaning. The words of Osama bin Laden are saturated with religious argument and theological language. Whatever else the Taliban regime is in Afghanistan, it is fanatically religious. Although some Muslim leaders have criticized the terrorists, and even Saudi Arabia's rulers have distanced themselves from the militants, other Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere have not denounced these acts, have been conspicuously silent or have indeed celebrated them. The terrorists' strain of Islam is clearly not shared by most Muslims and is deeply unrepresentative of Islam's glorious, civilized and peaceful past. But it surely represents a part of Islam -- a radical, fundamentalist part -- that simply cannot be ignored or denied.
In translating the “Moslem rage” into terrorism, I deem the religious teachings detailed above to be one of several major contributing factors. Another such factor is the wealth and single-minded fanaticism of Wahhabism. This aspect has been summarized succinctly in a National Review article as follows:

1. Fundamentalism was always a tendency in Islam, as in every other religion, but did not gain permanent influence until the 18th century and the rise of Wahhabism.

2. Wahhabism is not dominant in the soul of Islam today, but exercises immense power in the Islamic world community — including in the U.S., where it influences up to 80 percent of mosques, mainly through financial subsidies.

3. Wahhabism justifies terrorism, whether that of the Saudis in 1924, bin Laden, or Hamas. Hizbullah represents a Wahhabized Shiism. The Taliban are a non-Wahhabi sect that has been bought by Wahhabi petrodollars. If Forte wishes to find some moderate fundamentalists, he should start with the Taliban.

4. Wahhabism rejects any and all coexistence with Judaism and Christianity, and would treat the good Forte more or less as the aliens in Independence Day treated the dancing hippies calling for cosmic love — by killing him. Wahhabis would be much happier with Noam Chomsky, but they would kill him too, eventually.

5. Wahhabism, like every totalitarian ideology that has gained power, faces the terrible problem of its own historical inconsistency. Since it is based on power alone, once in power it must foster compromises for its own protection that end up undermining its legitimacy with its followers.

6. Wahhabism is at this very moment fomented by Saudi Arabia, even while Saudi Arabia benefits from the benign gaze of Secretary of State Colin Powell.

7. Wahhabism, like Nazism and Communism, will be a threat to the peace of the world as long as it is allowed to flourish under Saudi patronage. Its funding must be cut off. This is not a matter of the human rights of Wahhabis, but of the human rights of their victims. Its opponents must be supported. Once its Gulf patronage is ended, it will dwindle to a feeble remnant, as did the once-powerful Yugoslav Communists — but, let it be noted, probably not without shedding more blood, just like said Yugocoms.
The analyses spelled out above are in sharp contrast to the trite, self-serving argument, according to which Islamic terrorism stems from poverty and dispair. On this issue I give the last word to an article in the Jerusalem Post, 'Palestine' touches bottom , January 17:

Despair? This isn't even ennui. What it is, rather, is some combination of religious belief, social faddishness and cultural mystique, the absence of any countervailing cultural institutions, and a political leadership that not only does nothing to resist the trend, but paves the way toward it.

18.4 Final comments

This article has attempted to support the argument that contrary to the analysis presented by Thomas Friedman and his ilk, the “Arab rage” does not stem from the US support for Israel. As Bin Laden’s Fatwa clearly indicates, Israel is an afterthought, while the US presence is a major consideration. In fact, Bin Laden’s ranting cites two major US “offenses”, namely their presence in Arabia and war against Iraq. If Israel were to disappear, these two “grievances’ would still remain.

Furthermore, the major American interventions abroad - Kuwait, Somalia and the Balkans - were all conducted in defence of Moslems, but this did not help the image of the US in the Islamic world. Similarly, Russia and the EU (especially the UK and France) have taken egregious anti-Israeli, pro-Arab positions, but they are still subject to Islamist terrorism.

Add to this the victimization of Christians in Third World countries and the terrorism against Arab leaders - all at the hand of Islamist terrorists, and it becomes quite clear that pinning anti-Western sentiment to support for Israel is a bankrupt, but bluntly self-serving argument for the anti-Israel propaganda machine.

No Palestinian-Arab state will solve the problems of “Islamic rage” and Islamist terrorism; democratisation and containment of state support for terrorism will achieve that.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.