Koran contains not a hint of peace


Moshe Sharon is an Arabic studies researcher. He is a professor of the Oriental studies department of the Jewish University in Jerusalem

– When I asked my student, Armi Abu, who is in our chair, and by the way, a nephew of Q Arafat: “What kind of peace do you want?”, he promptly answered: “What kind of peace do you mean? What we mean is a temporary cease-fire”. This is the logical misunderstanding of the Oslo agreements and what these agreements mean at all. The Arab terminology differs greatly from what Europeans mean, – the professor goes on.

Q – How do we know that Muslims will, by all means, break the treaty, which they have signed themselves?

A – It is said in “the precedent” established by Mohammed.

In 628 he signed a treaty with the Kureisha tribe known as the “khadivia treaty”. At that time Kureisha warriors were stronger than his. The treaty was for 10 years. But not even two years passed and Mohammed unleashed the war and seized Mecca. Kureisha people did believe in the oath and mutual obligations and felt themselves secure. However, the temporary cease-fire agreement had also additional purpose, that is to lullaby the enemy’s vigilance.

When Mohammed struck and began to advance, the citizens of Mecca crawled to him on their knees. They pleaded for negotiations to resolve contradictions that made Mohammed to renew the war. But Mohammed ordered his security not to let the delegation of respectable people of Mecca come in. Mohammed spent two years of truce for preparing for a new war because he knew that the war was inevitable. He knew about it when he was singing the peace treaty. He violated the treaty at the suitable for him moment. This is how the notion of gudna (cease-fire between enemies) was established in Islam. Muslims never sign armistice for a long and indefinite period of time. One of the main rules for them is to set the validity period of such an agreement. When Muslims feel that they are strong enough to resume the war, they should cancel the armistice. If they feel not strong enough to resume the war, they are allowed to automatically prolong the validity period of the treaty for 10 years, and not necessarily to negotiate with the opposite party about it.

Q – As I remember, Arafat spoke about the possibility of building a secular Palestinian state.

A – His words mean nothing. Immediately after singing the agreement in Oslo he made a speech in the Johannesburg mosque (South Africa), in which he outlined his political intentions. He said that he understands peace as Islam means it. Then he resorted to the lessons from Arab history. We have to know that when an Arab leader resorts to history he means the present principles and situation because there is no such notion as “ancient” in Islam. Islam is a culture of life, the present way of life. Islam is the past that becomes the present and shows the way to the future.

Arafat publicly said that in Oslo he meant a temporary cease-fire (gudna). When he was saying this he knew he would be understood in the right way. Unfortunately, few people paid a serious attention to these words. They were addressed to those who knew “the course of events”.

My friends and I tried to persuade others that Arafat’s words were a code and we had to understand the clandestine meaning of his speech. However, Israeli leaders didn’t want to listen to our advice. Jews were dreaming about peace at that time through the prophecy of Yeshayagu: “and swords will be beaten into ploughshares”.

By the way, they’re some interesting facts about the treaty with Egypt. After it had been signed, a festive party was organized and President Carter made a public speech. In his speech he decided to use quotations about peace from books of the three religions. It was not difficult to find quotations on peace in Tanakha and he took those that could sound Christian. However, the President’s advisers could not find an appeal to peace in Koran. The thing is that there are no peace appeals in Koran.

Q – So, does it mean that Arabs’ peace assurances are a thumping lie?

A – There is an Arab proverb: “Words are tax free”. We have to learn to negotiate from Palestinians. They follow the example of a Muslim caliph Ali who negotiated with the rebelled ruler of Damascus when each side was not able to gain victory…The caliph’s representative suggested that the enemy should speak first. He wanted to know the enemy’s plans before making his own decision. The enemy spoke first and step-by-step disclosed everything he had in mind. The caliph’s representative was listening attentively and assenting to him occasionally. After the meeting was over, the Damascus representative in his summarizing speech said that the caliph’s representative agreed that Damascus should receive independence. His opponent stopped him and said, “I have never agreed to this”.

This classic example should teach us not to make proposals. We have to make the opponent disclose his position. When the opponent knows what your interests are, their costs immediately go up. When Begin started negotiating I told him, “Do not come out with proposals. Let them speak out.” But even Begin was not ready to understand and accept this. There were negotiations with Palestinians in 1996. Peres was negotiating with Arafat. Peres was very pleased with the talks and said after the meeting, ” They agree with all Israeli proposals. To each proposal they were approvingly nodding their heads”. Exactly like caliph Ali’s representative did…

Q – Tell me, do Arabs mean real war when they speak about jihad?

A – Those who support Muslims try to represent this notion like it looks in the West. They say it is a “struggle” for Muslims’ interests. It is not true. This is a bloody war to the final victory until the enemy surrenders to Islam.

Traditional Muslim books say that Islam will take over the world but only after Muslims defeat and destroy Jews. These books also say that Jews will hide themselves behind trees and rocks. But the time comes and one “great day” the rocks and trees will start shouting: ” Hey, Muslim, there is a Jew behind me! Come and kill him!” Only one tree will keep silence. In Islamic it is called “el oseg” (the tree of Jews). I mean the tree of sne (a bush from which God appeared before Moshe). This tree is mentioned in Muslim books for Muslims not to forget to look for Jews even behind this tree. These books are studied in all Arab schools, and political leaders make quotations from them in their speeches.

Q – What do we have to do then?

A – Our task is to make Arabs disarm and sign a cease-fire treaty for a long term.

Q – How can we achieve this if any treaty for Arabs is rather conventional?

A – There should be a reason for Islam to abandon the idea of war. The reason can be our military supremacy over them.

For example, in 1229, Sultan El Melek El Kamal from Egypt handed Jerusalem, which had been under Muslims since the rule of Saladin, over to the Christian king Fredrik the Great, because the latter made the whole world fear him…

Israel’s policy is weak and, thus, leaves no choice for Palestinians. Under this condition they simply must fight with us. Until now they have no military might to oppose Israel, that’s why they try to weaken the Jewish state.

If we become much stronger than them, they will have to postpone jihad again and again. They should feel our might; they should feel they can’t defeat us. Only then they will disarm even if the terms are not favourable for them.

November 7, 2007 | 3 Comments »

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