Jewish World Review Nov. 1, 2000 / 3 Mar-Cheshvan 5761
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- WHAT'S HAPPENING in Israel is more jihad than Intifada. As such, it is part of a worldwide phenomenon and can only be understood in that context.
Palestinians who are killed in the conflict -- including teens sent into the streets with rocks to provoke the Israeli army -- are celebrated as martyrs. By fighting the infidel, they have secured their place in paradise.
Israeli soldiers shoot in self-defense. Palestinians are whipped into a murderous frenzy by Moslem clerics, resulting in atrocities like the lynching of two unarmed Israeli soldiers in Ramallah.
On Oct. 7, Arabs set fire to the Tomb of Joseph, among Judaism's holiest shrines. An American-born rabbi who rushed into the flames to save the Torah scrolls was abducted and murdered.
The rioters destroyed the structure brick by brick. Now, they're building a mosque on the site. Throughout the Middle East, thousands of churches have been demolished and replaced by mosques over the centuries. When Jordan controlled the old city of Jerusalem, 58 synagogues were razed and Jewish cemeteries desecrated. A psychic victory is achieved when a minaret rises where Christians or Jews once prayed.
For a thousand years, from Mohammed to the decline of the Ottoman Empire, Islam was an expansionist force, spreading -- as much by the sword as by conversion -- from the Pyrenees to the Philippines. After three centuries -- and fueled by a population explosion in the Arab world, oil wealth, the end of communism and fundamentalist fervor -- it is resurgent again. Throughout the Third World, Moslem minorities employ violence in their quest for statehood. Where Islam dominates, non-Moslems exist precariously at best.
Sudan's Islamicist government continues to enslave women and children from Christian tribes. Seven states in northern Nigeria recently voted to implement Islamic law, exciting well-founded fears of persecution among the nation's Christians.
Hindus and Moslems fight for the Kashmir. In Kosovo, after NATO gave them the province, Albanians spiritually cleansed 80 percent of the Serb population and have destroyed over 100 Orthodox churches.
In Indonesia, the Laskar Jihad (which includes veterans of the fighting in Bosnia and Afghanistan) attacked Christian villages in September. In two provinces, 5,000 have died and 250,000 were driven from their homes since January 1999.
The counter-crusade is a coordinated international effort. On the Philippine island of Mindanao, the Moslem Abu Sayyaf rebels get support from Libya, Iraq, Iran and Malaysia. According to an Oct. 22 article in The Guardian, British Moslems are being trained in military-style camps and sent to Lebanon and Jordan to join the holy war on Israel.
One young recruit explained: "We have a problem with oppression. That is, with the Hindus in Kashmir, the Russians in Chechnya, the Christians in the former Yugoslavia and the Israelis in Palestine." The persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, Iranian Jews, Marionite Christians in Lebanon? No problem.
The Chechen rebels have acknowledged that "the fighting for Chechnya does not remove our responsibility for Jerusalem." A report in a Moscow newspaper claims 153 Chechen gunmen are on standby for Middle East service. The Chechens say they are prepared to contribute 1,500 Mujahedeen to the Palestine front.
Understanding none of this, American observers are mystified by Yasser Arafat's intransigence. In August, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was ready to give him 94 percent of the West Bank and Gaza. There was even talk of Palestinian administrative control of East Jerusalem.
Now, Arafat says the jihad will continue until his non-negotiable demands are met -- every inch of land Israel liberated in the 1967 war plus a Palestinian right of return to Israel proper (demographic suicide for the Jewish state).
Ultimately, the Jews will be allowed no sovereign territory, not so much as a street corner in Tel Aviv.
If Israel disappears, pressure will increase on the other frontline states. How long before
the 5 million Moslems of France, where today there are more mosques than churches in the south
(and synagogues are torched in solidarity with the Palestinians), demand a separate state? Will
the gates of Vienna hold the next
JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.