February 23, 2024
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  • Source: FreePressers
  • 11/22/2023
FPI / November 22, 2023

Commentary by Mike Scruggs

In a surprise attack on Oct. 7, a Hamas terrorist force of about 2,500  brutally murdered 1,200 Jewish civilians, including entire families with their children, even babies. Another 240 were taken hostage, including children and the elderly. Many victims were tortured, and many of the women were raped.

Yet a Birzeit University survey of 668 West Bank and Gaza Palestinians indicated that 68 percent strongly supported these acts and another 16 percent supported them to some extent, yielding a total of 84 percent who strongly or somewhat approved. Birzeit is a major University of 14,000 students in the Palestinian West Bank.

Israel has a population of 9,8 million., which is 74 percent Jewish and 18 percent Muslim.  The latter number close to 1.8 million. The West Bank is Israeli Occupied Territory formerly part of Jordan. It has a population of 2.9 million, which is about 84 percent Muslim, 14 percent Jewish, and perhaps 2 percent Christian. The Gaza Strip, which is under Hamas government control, has a population near 2.3 million and is more than 99 percent Sunni Muslim. There are perhaps only about 800 Christians left in Gaza. The Hamas government of Gaza has been applying pressure to drive out the non-Muslim population.

There are an estimated 14.3 million Palestinians around the world, many of them refugees in nearby countries. Jordan has an uncomfortable 3.2 million. Syria has 568,000, Lebanon 458,000, and Qatar 295,000.  Recent migration has brought the total in the United States to about 225,000.  They have been an unwelcome and destabilizing political problem in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Israel captured Gaza in the 1967 War and has been trying to give it back to Egypt since the late 1970s, but Egypt refuses to take it. Egypt has recently emphatically refused pleas by Israel to take Gaza refugees. The Egyptian government under el-Sisi realizes the Palestinians would reinforce Muslim Brotherhood strength in Egypt and endanger any moderate Muslim government. Egypt has about 110 million people and a relatively large Christian Coptic minority of about 10 percent, which would also be jeopardized by significant Palestinian migration.

From Abraham to Hamas

Some rough estimated timelines between Abraham and the present might be helpful in understanding eras of Jewish, Arab, and Muslim predominance in Palestine.

In about 2085 BC, according to Christian Biblical scholars, God led Abraham and his family out of Ur in Chaldea into Canaan (Genesis 12: 1-5).  Ur and Chaldea were in modern southern Iraq.  Ancient Canaan roughly approximates Israel today, including Jerusalem and Jericho and the predominantly Muslim West Bank. Early Biblical dating is a matter of scholarly debate. See <a href="http://biblehub.com/">Biblehub.com</a>

About 1886 BC, Joseph became Viceroy of Egypt.

Scholars debate the date range, but most Christian scholars believe Moses led the Hebrew people out of Egypt and received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai in about 1446 BC.

Joshua succeeded, Moses about 1407 BC and began the conquest of Canaan the same year.

Following the conquest of Canaan, the era of the Judges began about 1374 BC with Othniel.  These included Samuel, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson. This lasted until Saul was made King about 1040 BC.

The Kingdom of Israel began to flourish when Samuel anointed David to become King about 1025 BC, although David did not actually become King until about 1010 BC. The kingdom of Israel continued until about 931 BC, when Solomon died, and the kingdom was divided between Judah and Israel (Samaria).

Things get very complicated politically with the fall of Samaria to Assyria in 722 BC and the fall of Judah to Babylon in 586 BC. There were later invasions by Persians,  Greeks, Antioch Syrian Greeks, and Romans but there continued to be a strong Jewish/Hebrew majority in Palestine despite partial deportations and periods of captivity.  Judah, including most of Samaria, was a client state of Rome by 63 BC.

Jesus Christ was born about 5 BC and crucified in 30 AD.

In 70 AD, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, which had an estimated population of about 80,000.  In the three Jewish rebellions against Rome from 66 AD to 135 AD (70 years) somewhere between 350,000 to 1.4 million Jews died. The higher estimate came from Jewish historian and former Roman General Josephus.  At least 95,000 were enslaved and an unknown number, estimated at 100,000 escaped.  Exact numbers are a matter of scholarly debate.  The 70 AD date for the destruction of Jerusalem is considered the beginning of a major Jewish diaspora, but later events and statistics reveal Palestine was by no means depleted of its Jewish population.

Jews remained a majority in Palestine until the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in AD 312.  From about that time and certainly by 400 AD Christians became a majority in Palestine, while the Jews remained a significant minority.

Muslim armies conquered Jerusalem and Palestine in November of 637 AD. Most Christians and Jews were either forced to flee or face a choice of death or humiliating slavery. Eventually all that remained were forced into Islam.

Palestine was part of the Muslim Turk Ottoman Empire from 1300 until the end of World War I in November 1918.  The British took control of Palestine in 1917. The British ruled Palestine under a League of Nations Mandate from 1922 until 1948.

In 1850-1851 a census report estimated that Palestine was 88 percent Muslim, 4 percent Jewish, and 8 percent Christian.

In 1914-1915, actual census reports indicated Palestine was 84 percent Muslim, 5 percent Jewish, and 11 percent Christian. A 1922 census reported that Palestine was 78 percent Muslim, 11 percent Jewish and 10 percent Christian.  In 1945, Palestine was only 60 percent Muslim, over 31 percent Jewish, and 8 percent Christian. The large Jewish increase was probably aided by Russian and Ukrainian Jews immigrating from around Odessa to Israel. More than 1.0 million Russian-speaking Jews have immigrated to Israel since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. The immigration rate increased 5-fold in 2022.

By Israel’s Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, more than a third of the population of Palestine was Jewish. The United Nations had a plan to petition Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian Arab nation-states.

In 1948, Neither Jews Nor Muslims Favored Two-State Solution

Although popular with Western leaders, neither the Jews nor the Palestinian Muslim Arabs want a two-state arrangement, and neither is confident it would work or be fair to them.  Given Islam’s founding documents and 1,400-year history of eliminating unbelievers, and now the Oct. 7 Jihad attack, it is natural that Israelis would be justified in reasonable fears of future  Muslim waves of Jewish genocide.  Two well documented examples below point to the reality of enormous potential scales of radical Islamist genocide.

A genocide of Nigerian Christians, with over 52,000 killed in the last decade by fundamentalist Muslim terrorists — Boko Haram, ISWA, and others — gets little attention in American and European media, but no sensible person dare ignore it.

Genocide scholar Dr. Rudolph Rummel estimates that from 1900 to 1923 various Turkish-Ottoman Empire regimes killed from 3.5 to 4.3 million Armenian, Greek, Assyrian, and other Christians.  The non-Muslim population of Turkey dropped from 19.1 percent in 1914 to 2.5 percent in 1927 and is now less than 0.3 percent.

Sharia and the Origins of Jihad Ideology

There is a trilogy of Islamic foundational documents that define Islam and constitute the basis for Islamic Law (Sharia). The Quran is well known, but it is only 14 percent of the text. The Hadiths or sayings of Muhammad are a powerful 60 percent of the text. The Sira, or acts and biography of Muhammad, constitutes important narrative that is 26 percent of the text. A whopping 67 percent of the Sira is about Jihad, holy war against all non-believers. Both the Hadith and the Sira are considered almost as sacred as the Quran and assist significantly in understanding the Quran.

Near the very beginning of Muhammad’s career as a warlord in Arabia, he drove two Jewish  tribes out of Arabia and engaged a third, the Banu Quaraysh, in a battle for Medina lasting from March 21 to April 14, 627 AD. The account of this battle is part of  the Sira. It was called the Battle of the Ditch and was recorded by Islam’s most respected historian, Ibn Ishaq. The Banu Quaraysh were forced to surrender unconditionally, giving up their arms. Since they had been a former ally, Muhammad decided to make an example of them for their treachery. According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad had the 600 to 700 men of the tribe brought to him in small groups and beheaded in the ditch. Ibn Ishaq said that some historians placed the number as high as 800 to 900. Muhammad divided their wives and children among his men as slaves. Some women were taken as wives. Ohers were taken as concubines or sex-slaves. Muhammad’s youngest and favorite wife, Aisha, not yet 13-years old, sat next to him observing the executions.

This set a precedent of Jihadic conduct, which we have seen in nearly 1400 years of history. Many of the reports on the Armenian and Greek genocides are remarkably similar to the Oct. 7 slaughter of Jewish families. There seemed to be a delight in killing, maiming, and raping.

Disturbing Findings of Birzeit University Poll

The Nov. 16 Birzeit University's Arab World for Research & Development (AWRAD) survey had some other shocking revelations. Asked their view of various military wings of the terrorist organizations; Palestinian Islamic Jihad had 84 percent approval, al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades earned the support of 80 percent, and al-Qassam Brigades achieved the highest support with 89 percent. Hamas got the overall support of 76 percent.

After the Oct. 7 attacks, 98 percent felt prouder to be Palestinian. Sixty-five percent identified the war as being against all Palestinians, and 98 percent reported that they will "never forgive and never forget."

The governing Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has only 10 percent support, but  its ruling party, Fatah, got 23 percent support. The UN has only 9 percent support. The United States and Israel earned zero support, and only 3 percent have a favorable opinion of the UK. There is not more than 20 percent support for a two-state solution, and 90 percent are pessimistic about the possibility of coexistence. Exactly half of the respondents were women.

The ominous bottom line on this survey is that Hamas and Jihadist tactics have strong support among Muslim Palestinians. Those attitudes come not just from circumstances but strong acceptance of Islam’s Jihadic ideology and hatred for Jews, Christians, Americans, and British.

An Israeli cease-fire at this time would be extremely dangerous given doctrinal Islamic support for using treaties and cease-fires as a means of deception and preparation for continued Holy War.

I pray for peace and hope civilian casualties can be responsibly minimized, but I have seen first-hand during the Vietnam War, how 16 bombing halts only served the deceptive purposes of the enemy and resulted in higher casualties and a longer war — Lessons from the Vietnam War: Truths the Media Never Told You, 2009.

Mike Scruggs is a columnist and former USAF intelligence officer and combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He is author of 'The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths' and 'Lessons from the Vietnam War: Truths the Media Never Told You'

Free Press International
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