Palestine is the issue

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Jumada' al-Ula' 07, 1429 2008-05-12

Bismillah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem. Alhumdulillah. Peace and blessings on Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam), his Noble Companions and Family. Dear Committed brothers, dear committed sisters,

… to all those who seek justice in the social affairs of men. As has been mentioned in the introduction, this week marks 60 years of Israeli, (the diplomatic word would be), occupation of the Holy Land, a more apt description would be Israeli theft of the Holy Land. This issue has been simmering for the past 60 years and has created more misery in the lives of those who are on both sides of the issue and it shows no promise of an impending solution. Speaking at odds with the mainstream media is a difficult task because we have to deconstruct the lies that have been implanted with this lethal occupation and then we have to reconstruct the truth that has been deliberately and systematically excluded from this whole presentation. Obviously, this is not a task that we are upto in a matter of less than an hour, but we shall attempt some understanding of a problem that has the potential of drawing in the whole world on two opposite and conflicting sides. We say, (as is the title of this presentation), that Palestine continues to be the issue and Zionist Israel continues to be the problem. We’re going to go through a quick time-line of this modern day problem…

In 1897, (which is about 111 years ago), there were some individuals of the Jewish faith who met in Switzerland in what is called the World Zionist Congress and it seems to be that at that conclave of these conspirators that they settled on the idea of a future Zionist Israeli state. Here is where it becomes a little tricky because we have people and individuals of the Jewish faith who say that they are “entitled to a homeland” and we think, (whether we are of the Islamic or Christian or any other faith), that every human being and people in this world are entitled to a homeland, and that certainly includes people of the Jewish faith. We don’t think any Muslim will argue with any Jew concerning the matter of a home-land- we think that is a given and therefore any/every Jew is entitled to a homeland. That being said though doesn’t mean that any/every Jew in the world is entitled to what we have today which is called Israel i.e. a racist, expansionist, colonialist type of nation-state. We don’t think that any Jew should be part of that project, and equally so; if we were to perceive of a Christian racist nation state, we don’t think that any Christian should belong to it; and furthermore, if there is an Islamic racist, colonialist, expansionist nation state, we don’t think any Muslim should have anything to do with that type of project. So, before you shoot from the hip or draw your daggers, pause of a moment and think of this common position/ground that unarms such states from their expansionist policies, aggressive politics and the type of discrimination that goes into their social fabric; therefore, we find that it should be common ground that all people of all faiths, particularly the people of the Jewish faith because Zionist Israel purports to speak on behalf of people of the Jewish faith. We find no common denominator that should unite Jews and Muslims and Christians together against a hateful and an expansionist and militant nation-state as is the case with the one that we are talking about i.e. Israel.

(As we said, we’re going to go through this timeline)- in 1917, (20 years after that conclave in Basel, Switzerland), we have the Balfour Declaration and here we have nasty politicians speaking with fork-tongues. They turn to the Arab occupants of Palestine, and beyond that, to the general Arabians in the Peninsular and they tell them “in fact, we are going to win the First World War and we’re going to see to it that you have a consolidated state that extends from Arabia northward into the Levant including Iraq” and with the same breath, they tell the Jewish population “you are entitled to a homeland of your own in Palestine.” They were lying to someone and as the years unfolded, it turned out that British colonialism was lying to the Arabs and trying to honour its word to the Jews.

In 1947, (this was after and all of the details that go with World War 1, the inter-war years and now the ending of World War 2 we had a United Nations General Assembly Resolution that says, (these are words on paper), “the Jews are entitled to 53% of British mandated Palestine and the Arabs are entitled to 47% of that same territory.” A year later, the British leave Palestine and the Zionist Israelis move in and declare their illegitimate, illegal, unfounded, tribal, nation-state. There were skirmishes and conflict between the immediate victims, (i.e. the Palestinians), of this aggression and occupation and the new colonialists in the area who were to become the Zionist settlers who established this incompatible nation state in the Holy Land.

In 1949, there was a cease fire between both sides which resulted in the Zionists taking control of 78% of the whole of Palestine. Now, for the first time in the geo-political area of the world, the world itself has a problem. This is no longer to become a problem that is shedding the blood of two populations that is claiming one piece of territory, now, this division was drawing in forces from outside this area.

In 1967, there was a breakout of hostilities- a war broke out. That war, (contrary to what you hear in the mainstream media), was launched by the Israeli occupiers and thieves who stole the Holy Land. First they attacked Egypt, then Jordan and then Syria in a matter of six days. Then, they occupy more territory. It wasn’t enough- they were not satisfied with the occupation of 1948 and 1949; now they added another large chunk to their illegitimate body. They added the Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. This was a problem multiplier. In the Summer of 1967, the United Nations issued a resolution- Security Council Resolution 242 that called upon “the politicians of Tel Aviv to withdraw immediately from occupied or the occupied territories”, (depending on whether it was the French or English translation of that document). But who do you speak to? Colonialists? Racists? Nothing doing. No one was going to withdraw from these territories.

In 1982, Israel invades Lebanon. Remember, Lebanon is supposed to be, (in the diplomatic par lands of the time), “a democratic Christian country in the Middle East” with its mosaic of people, still it was considered something like a democracy and a pluralist society. But now, the Israelis are after Palestinian blood. They wanted to cripple or put an end to the Palestine Liberation OrgaNisa’tion and they sought it out inside of Lebanon. They didn’t care! Kill whom they kill! Devastate whom they devastate! Those are no considerations. They went into half of that country with their military. The destruction that resulted was not any concern to them. One of the dynamics of that Summer of 1982 was the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla. 3,000 Palestinians were killed in these two refugee camps that were on the outskirts of Beirut. Of course, the force that was used to do that was the Lebanese phalange who were working in cohorts with their Israeli bosses and sponsors one of whom was the current debilitated Ariel Sharon. An independent Israeli Commission found that he was at least responsible for the massacre of these 3,000 Palestinians in a very gruesome and gory manner in Sabra and Shatilla. Nothing new to that General in the Israeli armed forces who was familiar with massacres going back to the early years of the establishment of that Colonialist/Racist state.

Then we had 1993. You would think this was going to be a turning point in the history of these two peoples who are now interlocked in wars of death and destruction. 1993 brought us the Oslo Accords sponsored by the other Imperialist powers in the world and there were high hopes. At least some of you can recall those years in which there was shuttle diplomacy. One of the officials in the American administration who belongs to the Jewish faith, (at least that’s was we are left to believe), and he kept on going back-and-forth and back-and-forth but nothing much was accomplished. The Palestinians were back to square one- the square of despair.

In the year 2000, September, once again, Ariel Sharon, (who now sits on his death-bed, (not to be seen; we can’t recall the last time there were some cameras around him. We wish there were some cameras around him the way there are some cameras around us), in a provocative manner walks through Islamic territory in an area called The Noble Sanctuary, Al Haram Al Sharif, better known to those of the Jewish faith called The Temple Mount, but in a particular area there to offend all Muslims in the world; a-billion-and-a-half Muslims in the world to be offended by this person today who’s in a struggle with the angel of death which sparks what is called Al Aqsa Intifada, The Intifada of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Now, what do we have? What are we dealing with? We’re dealing with a Government and regime in Tel Aviv that has a military punch that doesn’t want to listen to reason. We don’t know how many people here, (obviously some of you come from a Jewish background and we don’t know what that means to you), have been to the occupied territories of what some of you call Israel- have you seen with your own eyes how Palestinians are treated? They are treated as if they are not human beings. What type of justification do your co-religionists have for treating other people as if they are beasts? There are 700 roadblocks in the West Bank, Palestine per se; military patrol sitting there at certain junctures- 700 of them in that tiny area of the West Bank and adjacent areas. For what reason, except to harass people and to convince people that life is no longer sustainable in their own country. What have you people who belong to Zionism done to other human beings except force them into a militancy that will not accept the harm, damage, death and destruction that you have come with and with all the military might that you think is shielding you? OK, (look), this is not a word that is said, (but we are here, in an atmosphere of individuals who think- you are students and a faculty), Israel is a nation state of a military mind-set that has weapons of mass destruction. (Did) you hear that? Must it be repeated to you once again because no one dare express it on the nightly news and on the talk-and-show programs? The expansionist, racist and colonialist regime in Tel Aviv is in possession of weapons of mass destruction; Israel is a nuclear power. It is the only nuclear power in the Middle East. It is a nuclear power that is located in Holy territories; It is a nuclear power that refuses to accept inspections or to sign the nuclear non-proliferation agreements. Where do they get this justification from? How do they get away with this? Why aren’t there people with enough mental courage and enough moral fibre who can look these Israeli Zionists in the face, eyeball-to-eyeball, and tell them “who do you think you are? Haven’t you seen how you’ve morphed from a David thousands of years ago into a Goliath today?” Tell that to your acquaintances, (we’re addressing ourselves to those who belong to the Jewish faith because you come into contact with these types more frequently than anyone else), look them in the eye and say “How do you rationalise and explain your status quo policies, whether they are the local brand such as having innocent children and women be humiliated in public? Where do you get that from? This is confusing! I don’t know of any Scripture or word of God that condones that type of behaviour! Where does this come from? Explain to us?!” Now, these Zionists who hide behind Jewish cloth have become the Goliath of our time and they think that just because they have all this money to buy politicians and shut them up with the finances every election cycle around. What do they think? They’re getting away with this? This is a crime? They are responsible and accountable for crimes against humanity. We don’t know where they’re going with this- any reasonable mind cannot figure out where these Israeli officials are going with this. What are their military policies, imposed occupation and expansionist schemes doing? They’re just militarising more people. Can’t they figure this out? It’s simple! (Take) a look at the world- 30 years ago, you had what you yourself called “rag tag Palestinian fighters”- guerrillas. During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s you would scramble up into the sky the F4’s and Sky Hawks that you had and chase these fighters in Southern Lebanon and the West Bank into Jordan. This is not ancient history; this is something that you know very well. What do you have today- 30 or 40 years later? Do you have “rag tag fighters” who are now on your borders or do you have a well equipped, well armed, dead serious core of fighters who are literally defying death and not budging one inch and not fearing one iota of military hardware that you have? You’ve tasted the results of your own policies in Lebanon two Summers ago and that only a fore taste of things to come. Right now, in the ranks there are millions- and not only Palestinians this time around- of Arabs and millions of Muslims who are waiting to undo your tyranny and (they’re) not waiting with shivers, but with a grand anticipation of encounter. Is this what you like? Is this what you want? What do you do? You find that you call yourself a democracy. This is the other complicating issue here- Israel is called a democracy in the mainstream media- what a democracy that is! You cause 5-7 million refugees to leave their homeland and you call yourself a democracy?! Why can’t you think of permitting these refugees to return to their homes, orchards, villages and towns? What type of democracy are we talking about when the Zionist Israelis have destroyed 500 villages and towns in Palestine? That’s a democracy?! They destroy people’s lives and physical sites- why? They can’t live with it and you rename it? You want to create a new imposed reality?! Those memories have not gone away; some people who left literally still have in their pockets, living rooms and refugee camps those crude iron keys to the door locks and knobs that they had when they left their original town and village. They can’t destroy those memories. They can force people into refugee camps and they’ve done that par excellence; they- the people who lived thousands of years in exile- have forced millions of people into exile. They must give us their explanation for these policies. If they give us bombs for those policies; Muslims, Palestinians, Arabs and oppressed peoples in the world are going to fight back. The solution doesn’t come from bombs and bullets; the solution comes from explanations and answers; (since) they don’t have explanations and answers to give, the tragedy continues. While the tragedy continues, the Israeli Zionists are very aware of the facts that as the years go by, they are going to feel more cornered in the nation state ghetto that they constructed. It’s a ghetto. Just like they didn’t learn from exile, they didn’t learn from ghetto life. They left the ghettos of Europe- there were no ghettos to speak about in Muslim countries- and came in the fashion that they did, (with all the bloodshed that went with it and still continues), to the Holy Land, (which they’ve desecrated and blasphemed with every decision that they made and still are making), and then they realised that they are in an area of hostilities all around them. These hostilities didn’t come from no-where; these hostilities were a reaction to all of the misery and hostility that they brought with them and visited upon these peoples. Then, as they realised where they have located themselves, they began to build a wall or barrier around the country that they are living in- isn’t this a grand definition of a ghetto and an accurate explanation of the psychology that we are speaking about? We don’t know what it’s going to take... (Let’s flip this for another tone of conversation- we hope those of you who are recording have whatever it takes to integrate or present all of this lecture without doctoring or censoring parts of it.) Look- we are human beings; if there are any human beings in the world who are un-armed as a community of people, it’s we, the victims of your policies. Why is it that when you have all of this power and military prowess that they’re so proud of, they can’t come up as normal human beings and speak to the victim? Something is wrong here when people who have all of this power cannot act as normal human beings with the victims. Something is wrong at the psychological core of such people. Probably, it’s going to take we, the victims of the Israeli Zionists, to help them out. We have no compunctions about speaking; here we are speaking. We understood that there was something about Israel last week on this campus; (we weren’t here; we just heard that they had entertainment, music, food and whatever other activity it is that satisfies the instinct in man; but is it about instinct or is it about common sense and the exchange of ideas?! If you have something to offer the public, come out with it; the public is willing to listen, particularly we, the Muslims. Those of you who are affiliated with the Zionist occupation of the Holy Land, remember, when you were persecuted everywhere in the world, where did you find refuge? Where did you find life to be semi-normal? It was among us who you have now made victims. (It’s going to take) the populations of this victim-hood to once again extend it’s hand to those of you who are willing to receive an extended hand; but those of you who are still poisoned with your Zionist ideology, we don’t know what to say to you; the only place we see you is at the war-front and the only thing we know about you is death and destruction. We’ve experienced your discrimination and we know very well your racism. How are we to interact with you? You leave us no choice- Zionism has to go regardless of faith or religion- if you can’t see that Zionism has to go from the Holy Land, Occupied Palestine, the face of the map and planet Earth, then you are welcome. If you have an open heart and mind, then you are welcome to a conversation that makes sense. Don’t be scared that sometimes you- Israeli Zionists- are going to encounter people and individuals who carry the bruises and injuries of the occupation that you are responsible for, but beyond that physical tar of the occupation there remains souls and minds who can speak truth to power.

Thank you very much. We will end once again with the greeting that I opened with. We understand that tonight there will be a follow up and there’s going to be a more calm presentation of the facts and an open air lecture like this is obviously better suited to the manner and the mode than which this presentation was given and we hope to see some of you or all of you this evening.

Q: During the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem, could the Jews pray at the Western wall?

Imam Al Asi: This type of question tries to put a person in the position of defending the Jordanian Government. You happen to be speaking to a person who happens to be as opposed to the Jordanian Government as he is to the Israeli Government.

Q: Can a Muslim person pray in Al Aqsa Mosque today?

Imam Al Asi: A Muslim can physically make his presence to Al Masjid Al Aqsa and be there except that we have to understand the conditions in which a Muslim goes to Al Masjid Al Aqsa. There are many days in the Holy month of Ramadhan in which Muslims who are over the age of 45 are forbidden from coming to Al Masjid Al Aqsa. The number of Muslims at Al Masjid Al Aqsa is another issue. If the number of Muslims exceed at times 20,000, or 10,000 or at other times 30,000 they are not permitted to congregate at Al Masjid Al Aqsa. There are instances in which individuals, only because they are suspected, (not going though a legal system or because there is evidence for doing so), they are told “you cannot proceed to pray there” by the Occupation forces around Al Masjid Al Aqsa. So- yes, some Muslims can pray in Al Masjid Al Aqsa selectively and other Muslims are denied from being there deliberately.

Q: Thank you for your words. My question is why, (in your mind), do people have to pay for crimes they did not commit in Europe? Why have these people been selected to pay for something they have not done?

Imam Al Asi: That is an extremely important question and the reason I gave my presentation and continue to speak this way everywhere and anywhere I go is because those who are Zionist Israelis refuse to give us an answer on that question. If there was persecution in Europe and if there was dislocation of Jews, why are they having the Palestinian people pay the price for the peculiar history that they had/have? That is a question that remains unanswered and the answer should come from those who are of the Jewish faith and are affiliated to the Zionist establishment in the Holy Land. If we don’t have for this, then as I said in the presentation- we can get somewhere if there are answers and explanations, but we’re not going to get anywhere if someone like me or the other- whether he’s a Christian, Muslim, Palestinian or Arab- asks a question and they answer us with bombs, further occupation and more dislocations. That’s not an answer. All you do is you beg for further resistance and recruit future warriors against you- this is what we’re trying to say to you. Sometimes we say it with a loaded heart because after all we are human beings and emotions are part of our humanity just like they are part of your humanity; so overlook the emotional content and zero-in on the rational content and produce an answer and explanation, not a bomb and a bullet.

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