[Make sure to read Robert Spencer’s contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
Why are the Islamic jihad groups fighting against Israel? Why do they think that committing the dismaying actions we saw in Israel on Saturday is the right, and indeed the righteous, thing to do?
As the death toll from Saturday’s jihad massacres in Israel continues to mount, the world looks on in horror at the atrocities that were committed — the wanton massacre of people at a peace concert, the beheaded babies, and so much more. It is hard for Americans and Europeans to fathom how or why any human beings would do such things.
Now, however, two jihad groups, including the one that was behind the massacres, Hamas, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah, have issued statements that clarify exactly what they think they’re doing. As you might expect, they both make for chilling reading.
The indispensable Palestinian Media Watch reported Monday that “a Telegram channel associated with Fatah’s military wing the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, is calling on Palestinians to slaughter Jews who they term ‘apes and pigs.’” That’s actually a reference to the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, which, in three separate passages, refers to Allah punishing Sabbath-breaking Jews by transforming them into apes and pigs (2:53-65; 5:59-60; 7:166).
Fatah’s exhortation to jihad also includes this: “Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, and he will lay them low and give you victory over them, and he will heal the hearts of people who are believers.” That also is from the Qur’an (9:14) and expresses one of the biggest differences between Judaism and Christianity on the one hand and Islam on the other. While both the Jewish (Deuteronomy 32:35) and Christian (Romans 12:19) traditions say that vengeance for wrongdoing is up to God, and not for any individual to pursue, the Qur’an tells Muslims that they are to be the executors of the wrath of Allah: he will punish errant human beings by the hands of the followers of Muhammad.
This is how the jihadis who killed Israeli civilians wholesale on Saturday could do so while believing they were doing nothing less than carrying out the will of the one and only God. They believe those whom they killed to be enemies of Allah and the Muslims, and consequently to have deserved everything they got, and more.
Fatah’s communiqué is thus packed with Qur’anic references, as if to emphasize that as far as Muslims are concerned, the murder of Israeli civilians is a holy struggle. That’s why Muslims across the world have joyfully celebrated the attacks instead of expressing revulsion at their bloody excesses. So when Fatah calls upon Muslims to “strike the sons of apes of pigs, kill everyone who is a settler, slaughter everyone who is Israeli,” it not only has no qualms about issuing such a broad-based call for murder but knows this call will resonate with many other believers throughout the world.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif hailed the beginning of what he called “Operation Al-Aqsa Deluge.” He said that the massacres of that day were just the “first strike,” and that much more was coming. Deif declared: “I say to the masses of the people and our nation, and to the free people of the world: Today, the wrath of Al-Aqsa has exploded – the rage of our people, our nation, and the free people of the world. I say to our pure mujahideen: This is the day that you make this criminal enemy understand that its time is up. ‘Kill them wherever you may find them.’” That also was a quotation from the Qur’an (2:191, 4:89, cf. 9:5).
These documents of Hamas and Fatah are nothing new. Hamas and its allies always speak of their conflict with Israel in Islamic theological terms; yet this is the one aspect of the conflict that Western policymakers never take into consideration.