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.

East Timor (370) (photo credit: Reuters)
East Timor (370)
(photo credit: 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 boycotts.
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.
With British 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 Plassey.
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 area.
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 collapsed.
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 House.
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 Iran.
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.
There 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 and organized.
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, incomprehensible acts.
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 party.
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.
Hamas 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 idolized.
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 terrible consequences.
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 true peace.
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 world.
The writer is a freelance journalist based in the UK. He is from Bangladesh.