Dr. Mordechai KedarDr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has several religious and cultural causes:
According to Islam, Judaism ceased to exist when Christianity came to be, and Christianity ceased to exist when Islam came into the world to replace both.
Judaism is the "Din Al-Batel," the false religion, while Islam is the "Din Al-Haq", the religion of truth. So according to the Islamic approach, there can be no Jewish state.
According to the Arab view, the Jews are not a people. A Jew from Poland is Polish, from an ethnic point of view, and of Mosaic faith, from a religious point of view, and therefore his place is in his homeland Poland.
Therefore, all Jews in Israel must return to the countries from which they or their ancestors came. Judaism has no ethnic basis and it was Zionism that invented the Jewish people.
According to the Arab narrative, the Jews who came to Israel from Europe aren't descendants of Jews who were exiled from the Land of Israel 2000 years ago, but descendants of Khazars, who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages. Therefore, there is no connection between today's Jews and the country in which there once may have been other Jews. The Jews are convinced that they are the descendants of the Judean exiles that the Romans exiled in the first century AD, that they wandered among the nations, and returned to their country with the approval of the Ottomans.
According to Islam, each country has a "one-way ticket" to enter Islam, but cannot leave. Thus, Palestine was conquered by the Muslims in the 7th century and is an Islamic land from the sea to the Jordan forever, and no one in the world has the right to take it and to establish a state that is not Islamic.
From an Islamic point of view, Jewish control of Jerusalem, in general, and of the Temple Mount, in particular, constitutes a danger to the very existence of Islam as a religion, as the Jews could rebuild the Temple (as they did twice) and Judaism would return to be a living religion.
What would then be the fate of Islam, which came into the world to replace Judaism (and Christianity)? So Jewish control of Jerusalem is a threat to Islamic theology.
According to the Arab view, acceptance of Israel's existence would constitute a shameful recognition of their failure to eliminate Israel since 1948. They prefer a state of war (even if not open war) over the state of shame.
Arabs insist on the mass return of refugees to Israel in order to eliminate it by demographics. Israel insists that it’s up to the Arab states to resolve the refugee problem, since they created it by illegally invading Israel in 1948. In addition, many of the refugees who fled or were expelled from Israel during the War of Independence are not Palestinian, since they came from neighboring countries to work here.
No one in the world can guarantee that a Palestinian state, if established in the West Bank, will not become a Hamas state, through elections, as happened in January 2006, or through a violent takeover as happened in Gaza in June 2007.
In fact, the Palestinians don't really want to establish a state because once they do, the world would cease to pump billions of dollars into their institutions and tell them to take care of themselves like every other country. All the Palestinians want is to blame Israel so that the world will see them as "occupied" and show their mercy with billions of dollars each year.
Israel fears instability on the eastern front and therefore requires a military presence in the Jordan Valley. Palestinians oppose this because in their view, Israel can go to hell.
There are probably more reasons for the inability to reach a comprehensive settlement between Israel and the Palestinians at this time, and it's a pity that Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama did not do their homework before they decided to put all the emphasis on this complicated matter.
If they had learned something about the culture of the Middle East, they would have understood that the only viable solution is the establishment of eight Palestinian Emirates: One already exists in Gaza.
Israel must dismantle the Palestinian Authority and establish in its place an additional seven independent emirates in the cities of Judea and Samaria for the local clans in these cities - Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Jericho and the Arab neighborhoods of the city of Hevron.
Israel will control all the rural space between those cities and offer citizenship to Palestinian residents of the villages.
This plan is described in detail on the web site www.palestinianemirates.com.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar is Director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation) at Bar-Ilan University, Israel