Why doesn’t the Muslim world recognize Israel?
If Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran do not accept peace, the rest of the Muslim world must boycott them. This will be justice.
Yudhoyono shaking hands with Jose Ramos-Horta Photo: Reuters
No Muslim country boycotted East Timor or banned its citizens from traveling
there after it became independent from mainly Muslim Indonesia.
Christian-majority South Sudan became independent from mainly Muslim United
Sudan in 2011. As with East Timor, we did not see any Muslim
However, when Israel became independent in 1948, Muslim
countries acted with unrelenting hostility. Why? One of the basic tenets of
Islam is that Muslim-majority countries’ first allegiance should be to Islam, in
the form of a single Islamic Caliphate, and not to secular conceptions of the
state, whether Arab, Persian or Turkish.
However, prior to the fall of
the Ottoman Empire, Sharif Hussein Bin Ali of Mecca, together with many other
Arab leaders, enticed by the prospect of power, abandoned the concept of an
Islamic Caliphate and sought to form new countries, which they would rule. They
called their ambition Arab Nationalism. To accomplish their objective, they
sought British aid in overthrowing the Ottoman Empire.
assistance, the Arab leaders succeeded in toppling the Ottoman Empire – but it
was Britain that assumed control, not the Arabs. It was a repeat of the tragic
defeat of the last independent Arab ruler, Mîrzâ Muhammad Sirâj-ud-Daulah, the
last independent Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, by Britian in the Battle of
Britain had in fact never intended to liberate the Arabs, but
rather to gain control of the Middle East oil fields. As far as Britain was
concerned, the plan was simply to divide and conquer. Blinded by ambition, the
Arab leaders of 1916 not only didn’t achieve power for themselves, they
unwittingly set the stage for the fragmentation of the Middle East and the
creation of the State of Israel.
Several new countries were created in
the Middle East, with borders chosen not to further Arab unity, but to defeat
it. As part of the disposition of the region, the idea was advanced at the
United Nations of dividing Palestine into two countries, one for Jews and one
for Arabs. The Nazi Holocaust, Jewish appeals for the creation of such a state
and greater European ambitions for the region were all contributing factors
behind this idea.
The British Mandate in Palestine was duly divided on
May 14, 1948, and the modern State of Israel was formally recognized, and began
its journey. At the time, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin clarified that his support
for partition was motivated by a desire to reduce British influence in the
It is unfortunately true that many Palestinian Arabs were evicted
from their homes. However, not in 1948 due to Israel’s independence, but from
1930 onward. Arab Muslims leaders have been hiding this crucial fact from the
entire Muslim world ever since.
From1948 onward, the Arab states have
tried repeatedly to annihilate Israel. Every time, their efforts met with
resounding failure, but this only served to fuel Muslim anger against Israel and
Jewish people. Except for Turkey, no Muslim country had diplomatic relations
with Israel, allowed its citizens to visit Israel or the import of Israeli
goods. Israel and its people were beyond the pale.
In 1967, to maintain
its existence Israel had to occupy all of the Palestine and the Syrian Golan
Heights. In 1979, Egypt recognized Israel following the Camp David Accords of
1978 between Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin.
Interestingly, the Soviet
Union and its allied were now backing the Arabs against Israel, a state of
affairs which persisted until 1991 when the Soviet Union
Realizing the implications, the PLO and its leader Yasser
Arafat gradually headed toward the Oslo Peace Accords.
Arafat and Yitzhak
Rabin signed the Oslo agreement on September 13, 1993, at the White
That which had once seemed impossible and unthinkable had now
become quite real. As a result, Israeli military forces were withdrawn from most
of Palestine. A new Palestinian government was formed. But Hamas, the Islamic
Jihad and other splinter groups were against the treaty and vowed to carry on
the war. Fatah’s proposed two-state solutions was meaningless to Hamas, which
together with the Islamic Jihad continued to perpetrate terrorist attacks
against Israel. These groups were backed and sheltered by Hezbollah, Syria and
Due to their acts of aggression, Israel had no choice but to
counter-attack. Yitzhak Rabin, who had signed the Oslo agreement with Arafat,
was assassinated by an extremist Jew in 1995 for not reacting strongly enough,
with many on the extreme Israeli Right feeling desparate that the terrorist
attacks were increasing even as Israel withdrew from territory.
then followed a series of confrontations between Hamas and Israel. In between
these incidents Israel showed respect for a UN resolution which required it to
withdraw its forces from south Lebanon in the year 2000.
It was deadly
mistake. After the 2000 withdrawal, the Lebanese Hezbollah become more powerful
They were getting arms, training and other military
materiel from Syria and Iran.
Before the spread of Internet accessibility
in the Muslim world, and even after, in 2000, news coverage on the nature of the
terrorist attacks against Israel did not properly reach many Muslims. That Hamas
and other extremists were using innocent Palestinians as human shields when
they launched rockets was not widely enough known in the Muslim world. So when
Israel responded, it was always the guilty party, committing inhuman,
Even in 2005, when then-prime minister Ariel
Sharon withdrew all Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, controversially-
elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the
map, and terrorist attacks from Gaza intensified. As a result, further
withdrawals were halted and there was a breakdown in Israel’s ruling Likud
Sharon and liberal-minded leaders broke away to form the Kadima
party, which with the support of the Labor party came to power and kept the
peace process going, in the face of unrelenting Hamas opposition.
won the Palestinian elections in 2006, and refused to recognize Israel’s
existence. Not satisfied with this, Hamas and Hizbullah attacked Israel, killing
and abducting Israeli soldiers, leading to a month-long war. For all these
developments, majority-Muslim countries blamed Israel. There was no criticism of
Hamas, Hezbollah and Ahmadinejad. On the contrary, they were
Hamas and Hezbollah’s aggression and terrorism have pushed Gaza
and its inhabitants into enormous misery, but these facts are presented in the
Muslim world in a fragmented and distorted way.
When we compare Israel’s
actions since 1948 with those of East Timor or South Sudan, the only conclusion
to be drawn is that the Muslim world’s attitude toward Israel is totally
illogical, unfair and unjust. Israel was established in the exact same manner as
were Australia and America. History will not rewind. Anti-Israel activities have
not brought the Muslim world anything but tension, conflict and economic ruin,
keeping them relegated to third-world status.
That Israel is itself
colonial or expansionist, that it seeks additional Arab lands, is simply a lie.
The best proof of this lies in the fact that Israel has ceded territory since
its formation, and that following the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan,
Israel has committed no acts of aggression against them.
Israel and the
Jewish people are unnecessarily stigmatized in the Muslim world. With a world
population of 7 billion and growing, resources are getting scarcer, not more
abundant. To keep up this unnecessary conflict with Israel based on lies and
ignorance can bring no good, and could potentially cause a regional war, with
We have seen the gruesomeness of large-scale
modern warfare. Muslim countries must acknowledge history and recognize Israel
prior to the 1967 armistice lines. Only the combined efforts of Muslim countries
can deflect the aggressive, anti-peace path of Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran toward
If they do not accept peace, the rest of the Muslim world
must boycott them. This will be justice. To do otherwise based on the
fragmented, distorted and false history of a country and a religion would be a
desecration of Islam and bring guilt on all Muslims. The whole Muslim world must
come forward and prove that Islam believes in justice and peace, and it must
persevere. As soon as this matter begins, it will bring good to the
The writer is a freelance journalist based in the UK. He is from