There are many reasons why the world gave the Palestinian struggle the short shrift. First and most important is the duplicity and lack of seriousness of the Arab regimes.
Second is the ineffectualness of the Palestinian leadership; as, for instance, if George Habash were the PLO leader, the organisation would never have signed the Oslo agreement. Third is the phenomenon of Christian Zionism that has led many Christians to make common cause with Zionism. If only they knew. Fourth, the agenda set by a hostile, Zionist-controlled international media is already weighted against the Palestinian, who is represented as the archetypal terrorist—the hijacker or the suicide-bomber. These four issues enable Israel to do as it likes without censure.
Here, even though Islamic scholars have issued their fatwa against suicide-bombing, it would appear they did so without considering the context. While it goes without saying that Islam has legislated against anything that harms the innocent, as all gratuitous suicide-bombings do, Palestinians who have been dispossessed have long maintained that they do not recognise or accept that there are any innocent persons among those who have driven them out of their homes, usurped their land and have continued occupying their country ever since. And it is difficult to find a sensible way of disagreeing with them.
The right context to correctly appreciate what is involved in the so-called suicide-bombing will seem to have been given here by Hamid Algar: “That term [suicide-bombing is] an invention of the West, [and] does not represent the perspec-tive of those who engage in such action and is not very helpful. It seems to me that such actions are closer to the case of a soldier who, in battle against overwhelming odds and in the certain knowledge that he will not emerge alive from the encounter, rushes upon the enemy.”
And he added, “I think the following has to be taken into consideration: that these so-called suicide bombings did not start until a considerable time after the beginning of the Intifada, when a large number of Palestinian children had been killed by Israeli forces, for nothing other than throwing a stone, or in some cases not even that. It was only after such casualties had begun to mount that this tactic was used.
“In addition, there is the simple fact that the Palestinian people are now facing, effectively alone and with great courage, one of the best equipped and most ruthless military forces in the world. And while no one can take pleasure in the sight, as you say, of women and children being killed, it seems to me that a greater degree of moral condemnation should be reserved for those who continue, daily, with impunity, to kill and to humiliate the Palestinian people. In other words, there is definitely a cause-and-effect relationship here, and to criticize or condemn an effect while overlooking the cause is not very helpful.”
In the circumstances, therefore no ‘alim sitting in the corner of a madrasah in some obscure Middle Eastern kingdom or republic has the right to pontificate on the fiqh of survival to people who have been made homeless and refugees in their own land and are daily made to face and live under a rain of bombs and missiles and a hail of bullets. Obviously, the efficacy and Islamic validity of any defence and survivalist tactic adopted by them could only be decided by the ‘ulama of Occupied Palestine and not by the jurisprudential theories of long-distance armchair mujtahids.
But, at any event, if others have moral right, Zionists have no right, to criticise even those who engage in unjustified, gratuitous suicide-bombing, for the simple reason that they pioneered it. The first ever suicide-bombing in the world was carried out by the ultra-Zionist Sima Fleishhaker Hoizman, the infamous ‘Girl in the Red’ who, on active service for Zionism, blew up Jerusalem Train Station on October 31, 1946, two years before the creation of Israel and almost four decades before the Muslims of Lebanon would employ it to drive Western forces out of their country in 1983.
With regard to hijacking—and this is only given as a point of information without any attempt or hint to introduce a religious split—it must be noted that all the hijackings done by Palestinians were carried out by the Christians of Dr George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, PFLP, and masterminded by his long-time colleagues and fellow Greek Orthodox Christians Dr Wadie Haddad and Nayef Hawatmeh, who recruited Carlos the Jackal for the Palestinian cause. It ought to be noted that hijacking was opposed by almost all the Palestinian leaders who are Muslim.
But, in any case, if hijacking is a condemnable act—and it is—Zionists have no moral ground to condemn Palestinian hijacking, considering the fact that the first-ever aircraft hijacking in the world was carried out not just merely by ordinary Zionists but by the Zionist state of Israel itself—on December 12, 1954. On this day, in an attempt to force Syria to release five Israeli soldiers it had captured on its territory, Israel hijacked a Syrian airliner and forced it to land at Lod airport.
On the other hand, Christian Zionism which is active in the United States is a religious Messianic movement within Protestant fundamentalism that believes the Zionist state of Israel is the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy that must therefore receive all the political, diplomatic, financial and religious support it needs. It calls for absolute support for Israel whose establishment and expansionism Christian Zionists believe herald Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ; because without expansion there can be no redemption.
“In an article published in the Washington Post [3/10/78], Rabbi Hirsch of Jerusalem is reported to have aid: ‘The 12th principle of our faith, I believe, is that the Messiah will gather the Jewish exiled who are dispersed throughout the nations of the world. Zionism is diametrically opposed to Judaism. Zionism wishes to define the Jewish people as a nationalistic entity. The Zionists say, in effect, ‘Look here, God. We do not like exile. Take us back, and if you don’t, we’ll just roll up our sleeves and take ourselves back. … This, of course, is heresy. The Jewish people are charged by Divine oath not to force themselves back to the Holy Land against the wishes of those residing there.’”
The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism, issued in August 2006, also rejected Christian Zionism, labelling it as ‘anti-Christ.’ “We categorically reject Christian Zionist doc-trines as false teaching that corrupt the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation,” wrote Latin Patriarch Michael Sabbah of Jerusalem and other local heads of churches in Jerusalem. But it would take another six years before Palestinian Christians spoke again.
While Israel basked in the Christian support garnered for it by televangelists and lobby groups in the United States of the 1980’s and 1990’s, Palestinian Christians were not quick on the draw; and in what looked like the last-ditch effort to present Christian suffering under Israeli occupation, a five-day conference with the theme: “Christ at the Checkpoint: Hope in the Midst of Conflict” was organized by Bethlehem Bible College in March 2012. According to one of the organisers, “This is a conference about sitting down together, Christians, Muslims, whoever comes, discussing theology, in this environment of occupation. We want people to come, see the wall, see the checkpoints, see the reality on the ground, and then open the Bible.”
“The bottom line is the reality of God and his goodness, and the reality of this occupation. Because as Palestinian Christians we face this every day, we go to church and we learn God is good, but to get to our church we have to go through a checkpoint. How do we figure the goodness of God with the harsh realities on the ground? That is what the conference is all about.”
A seminar at the conference, led by the famous Reverend Stephen Sizer, author of Zion’s Christian Soldiers, condemned Christian Zionism, which he defined as Christian support for Zionism. “They simply believe that promises God made to Abraham and the Jewish people in the Hebrew Bible are in some sense being fulfilled today, or are about to be fulfilled,” he said, [but t]he particularism and the exclusivism of Christian Zionism is actually a misreading of the Bible,” Sizer said. “When you turn your theology into a political agenda which denies the human rights of other people because they’re not Jews, for me, that’s where it crosses a line.”
In the Christian Zionism growth industry, numerous Christian organizations on the payroll of the powerful Jewish lobby generate religious, moral, diplomatic and political support for Israel with the American laity; and they are organized in a powerful alliance with the pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, and the neocons of the Republican Party that apply tremendous pressure or blackmail on both the president and members of Congress. And it is an alliance that is feared by elements of the Democratic Party, too. Meanwhile, televangelists such as Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell, and groups such as the National Unity Coalition for Israel, Christians for Israel, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, and Chosen People Ministries lead the cheerleading team.
This type of unofficial power is what makes Israel above criticism by a US president; and not even second-term boldness would make President Barack Obama criticise the Zionist state, something that even UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was able to manage to do. Obviously, the first black US president is not mindful of the power of the media, that great destroyer of reputations, which dug out and pursued the Watergate and the Monica Lewinsky scandals. That muckraking saw second-term Richard Nixon, who would not go to Bitburg for a Holocaust memorial, and second-term Bill Clinton, who had the audacity to snub a whole Benjamin Netanyahu, to impeachment.