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Will Disengagement Promote Peace?

by Rabbi Simon Jacobson

  

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Many wonder what lies behind Arab rage against Israel. Compared to the millions of Muslims slaughtered by other Muslims in Sudan, Syria, Iraq and other countries, Palestinian deaths in Israel are relatively few. Yet the millions massacred and millions more repressed does not evoke Arab outrage as do the events in Israel. Why the double standard?

New York Times essayist Nicholas Kristoff argued a short while ago that this double standard in the Middle East is due to the fact that Arab countries are shame-based societies, and Israeli repression of Arabs is seen not just as brutal, but also as humiliating.

He cites Arabs telling him that, “Israel is a colonial outpost and that as a result while Israeli Arabs may have ballots and free speech, they have no dignity. The Israeli occupation represents a total humiliation of all the Arab regimes. It's a continuous reminder of the weakness of the Arabs as people, of their society and political system, as well as an indication of the impotence and corruption of their regimes."

Understanding the underlying causes for Arab sentiments is not academic; it is the only way to get to the bottom of the issues.
Arab humiliation seems to have become a mainstay since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The Arab world, it seems, can not get over their lost pride as a people who once ruled and represented the epitome of civilization, and now are relegated to Third World status. Israel and America represent for the Arab world the source of this humiliation – so the argument goes.

Many other speculations are offered to explain Arab rage and frenzy against Israel and the West.

Understanding the underlying causes for Arab sentiments is not academic; it is the only way to get to the bottom of the issues. Understanding their mentality is the true key to help provide us with a meaningful strategy. We can never devise a workable plan as long as we focus on the superficial causes, and do not understand the driving force of our adversary. Does the Arab world just want justice for the Palestinians? Equal rights (rights they do not have under any Arab ruler)? Some land to live peacefully? Or perhaps they want something more that they simply are not telling us?

I submit that the true reason and core root of Arab anger is religious and not political.

The Arab world’s opposition to Israel is not due to any Israeli actions, but rather to the very existence of the Land of Israel and Jewish control over the land. This control is a perpetual thorn in their side, and the root cause for their “shame” and humiliation.

Why? Because Muslims fundamentally believe that Israel’s existence – and Jewish control over Israel – in what they consider to be their ‘conquered land,’ is a desecration of their religious vision.


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COMMENTS

Giving up your land will not bring peace, only a false hope of peace. This is indeed a spiritual battle being fought under the guile of politics.

Posted by: Bertrand, Hemet, CA on Aug 17, 2005

AMEN!

conflict in Middle East

Posted by: Nediva on Jul 16, 2006

AMEN AMEN AMEN to every sentence that was written in this article. Education is the key word.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.