The title of this blog is the same as Chapter 11 in my book, Muslim Mechanics. The roots of the terrible chaos initiated by Hamas and responded to by Israel run deep. Muslims and Jews have been going against each other since 627 A.D. When writing my book, I could only identify five reasons that cause Muslims to react against Jews. For the current conflict, the media has postulated many reasons why the Palestinians rose up against the Israelis. Reasons offered include Israel is running an apartheid state with the Palestinians getting the short end. Next, the Israelis won't give the Palestinians their sovereign state. There is also the view that the Jews ran the Arabs off their land back in 1947-48, and don't forget, Israel is illegally allowing Jewish settlements on Palestinian land. All this may be true, but deeper reasons keep this scab from healing.
Other facts that may shape your opinion:
Hamas' public charter calls for eliminating the Jewish contingent from Palestine.
In 2000, at Camp David, Israel's PM, Ehud Barak, offered the PLO chief, Yasser Arafat, the roadmap to a Palestinian state. Yasser Arafat declined.
In 2005, Israel withdrew 8,000 citizens and soldiers from Gaza and four settlements in the West Bank.
In 2008, Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, offered concessions leading to a Palestinian state, and Hamas, who took control from the Palestinian Authority, still refused.
Hamas has framed itself as a terrorist organization by deliberately killing citizens and children in their recent attack on Israel.
Early History of Jewish-Muslim Enmity
In 622 A.D., Muhammad fled from Mecca to Medina. The people of Medina asked him to set up a tribal council, allowing full participation by all tribes in the region. Throughout Saudi Arabia during this period, numerous tribes of Jews had left Israel either because of the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Canaanites, the Greeks, or the Romans. In Mecca, his relationship with Jews was hospitable, and in his new religion, he referred to them as "People of the Book." However, they were not so nice in Medina, refusing to believe in his God and religion. In 627, Muhammad fought a battle against his tribe from Mecca. While he won the battle, he blamed the local Jewish tribe for failing to honor their alliance. Consequently, Muhammad had the Jewish men beheaded and the Jewish women and children sold into slavery. Since that time, the hostility between the two religions has exploded.
The Five Reasons for Enmity
First, the Jewish people have repeatedly broken their covenants with God with disastrous results. The Babylonians conquered them because of their infidelities. Even Jesus predicted the nation would be sacked (as it was in 70 A.D. by the Romans). The Jewish people have failed to recognize God's prophets, Jesus and Muhammad. The liberal democracy of Israel today creates laws forged by man, not God. The Jewish state's economic prosperity has resulted in the worship of money, banking exploitation (usury), and material things other than God. According to Muslims, the Jewish state practices blasphemy and idolatry, two forms of shirk that warrant their nation's destruction.
Second, Muslims consider Palestine a holy place and a waqf. A waqf is an "inalienable charitable endowment under Islamic law, which typically involves donating a building, plot of land, or other assets for Muslim religious or charitable purposes. When the land was conquered in 638, the Caliph, Umar, was asked whether the land should be partitioned between the troops or left in procession of its population. The decision was made that the land should remain in the hands of its owners, but the control of the land ought to be endowed as a waqf in perpetuity for all generations of Muslims. Later, under the British Mandate of Palestine in 1922, the waqf was defined as state property with revenues guaranteed to charitable foundations. In 1948, the Jewish state was formed, and the Muslim charitable foundation was discontinued.
Third, the psychological impact of the State of Israel on Muslims is hard to overestimate. All through Islamic history, Jews were docile dhimmis subject to Muslim rule. Over the last century, Judaism has subverted traditional religious hierarchies in the Middle East. In doing so, it also undermined the credibility of Islamic superiority over Judaism. For Israel, making peace with Islamic nations is a diplomatic achievement. For Muslim countries, accepting Israel concedes the dominance of Judaism over Islam.
Fourth, Muslims believe they have more rights to Palestine because the land does not belong to the people who lived there first but to those who established and followed Allah's laws.
The fifth reason is the sacred night journey to heaven made by Muhammad. By his account, he traveled from the Great Mosque in Mecca to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and visited all the great prophets in a dream. The journey is briefly mentioned in the Qur'an (17:1) but is known primarily through hadith. In addition to Muhammad's night journey, the Dome of the Rock covers the site where Abraham offered to sacrifice Ishmael. Jerusalem is Islam's third most holy site, after Mecca and Medina. Resident Muslims revile Jewish access to the mosque area. An unspoken concern is that the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock exist on the Temple Mount, where the Jews wish to build the Third Temple. Muslims are worried that the structures would be demolished for that purpose.
Other Facts to Consider
One issue that has many Muslims upset is the length of time that the Muslims have ruled the region. They have ancestors they can trace back numerous generations that owned farms and businesses in the region now usurped by the Jews. From 638 until 1948, except for the 159 years that the Crusaders intervened, until now, it is 1,151 years under Muslim rule.
Another small fact that most people don't realize is that right after Israel claimed statehood, U.N. Resolution 181 called for Israel to cede land to Jordan, Syria, and Egypt for a Palestinian state. Those nations sequestered the land for their own purpose. However, Israel reacquired some of this land in several military conflicts and is slowly ceding it back to the Palestinians in return for their recognition of the right of Israel to coexist peacefully. It seems the Palestinians want the land that Israel took but do not protest about the land that Jordan, Syria, and Egypt took.
The literature on this topic lists several reasons Muslims refuse to accept the State of Israel. Islam maintains that land lost must be reclaimed by jihad if necessary. Jihad implies that the means justifies the ends, but this strategy bears repercussions. We are witnessing that now.
Side-Note: The media has reported that some Israeli children and IDF soldiers have been beheaded. Hamas has denied this accusation, claiming their fighters do not follow this ISIS fighting style. Both organizations, Hamas and ISIS, have a long and deep indoctrination of Islamic principles, of which beheading goes back to Muhammad. Read the attached blog that discusses the Islamic history of beheading.
Credit to Wikimedia Commons for allowing the use of the image "Fajr-5." This image, taken by MathKnight, shows the tail fragments of a Fajr-5 rocket fired by Hamas during the 2016 uprising. In the recent conflict, it is estimated that Hamas has fired some 5-10,000 rockets.