The Supreme Sharia Judge of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, admitted it last Wednesday: the Palestinian war against Israel is a jihad that will never be solved by negotiations.
According to Palestinian Media Watch, Al-Habbash, a close advisor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, declared: “Jerusalem is the arena of conflict between us and the colonialist project [Israel]… Jerusalem’s [Al-Aqsa] Mosque apparently is the heading for the eruption of the conflict and The Battle of History between Islam and the enemies of Islam; between the Muslims and the enemies of Muslims; between the Islamic culture in all its splendor and human glory and the culture of Satan attempting to establish oppression and aggression at the expense of the culture of truth and goodness… This mosque is decreed to be the arena of the battle between good and evil. This mosque and this wonderful city – the city of history, religion, and culture, Jerusalem – are decreed to be the heading of the conflict… Jerusalem is the heading of this battle, this conflict, and this round, which I and many others see as the key, as the first step, as the spark of the battle of the ‘final promise.’”
The fact that the jihad against Israel is indeed part of “the battle of history between Islam and the enemies of Islam” is abundantly illustrated in my book The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS. In that book also, it is also abundantly clear that the “enemies of Islam” are those non-Muslims who refuse to accept the hegemony of Sharia and the second-class status that acceptance would entail for them. Those non-Muslims, according to the Qur’an (9:29), have to be warred against and subjugated.
Imagine sitting down at a negotiating table and facing Mahmoud Al-Habbash on the other side. Do you think he would accept a cessation of the building of “settlements,” or the abandonment of this or that territory, as the price of peace? Do you think he would sign a peace accord with any Israeli negotiators that would involve calling upon Palestinians to lay down their arms, accept the existence of the Jewish state, and live in peace with Israelis?
In fact, he might sign such an accord, but only in accord with Muhammad’s dictum “War is deceit,” and only in line with the stipulations of Islamic law regarding treaty making with Infidels – rules that are based upon Muhammad’s Treaty of Hudaybiyya with the pagan Quraysh tribe. The truce is to be for no longer than a period of ten years, and can only be undertaken at all when the Muslims are weak and need to gather their strength. Once the Muslims have the advantage again, the treaty can be broken any time.
One thing Mahmoud Al-Habbash or any other Palestinian would not do, however, would be to enter into any treaty with Israel that involved Palestinians coexisting peacefully with Israelis as equals on an indefinite basis, in a state in which Sharia is not established.
Al-Habbash made this abundantly clear in his remarks, but the professional diplomats of Washington and the capitals of Europe will take no notice. In reality, all of those who think that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict will be solved through negotiations should heed the words of Mahmoud Al-Habbash. But they won’t. They will continue to think that if only the right combination of concessions is hit upon, the Palestinians will happily agree to live in peace with the Israelis, and that the only reason why all previous negotiated peace accords have failed is because the proper formula was not found.
Well, the proper formula for turning lead into gold has not yet been found either, but I won’t be holding my breath. The failure to heed Mahmoud Al-Habbash and others like him has led Americans down numerous policy blind alleys, and there will be many more. One group that has proven to be particularly unconvinced by reality is diplomats – to say nothing of “foreign policy experts.” And so we will continue merrily on, making the same mistakes again and again and again.