Arab-Israeli Conflict or Jewish-Muslim Conflict? Whatever it is, can it be solved?

A Barbadian engineer and author proposes some answers

Our blogging friend Grenville Phillips II is a prolific writer and what I’ll call an “activist structural engineer” in the best sense of the term. Whether the subject is the proper installation of rebar when building a home, or politics or religion – he looks at all the factors, identifies the problems, researches and then methodically builds his solutions. Read anything at his Weighed in the Balance blog and you’ll see proof of that.

But Grenville is also a man with a sense of history and humanity – he’s not just a numbers guy. I think it is the combination of structural engineer, historian and teacher with genuine concern for humanity that makes everything he writes so worthwhile. That, and his talent for being able to present his ideas clearly and simply enough to be understood.

Writing under his nom de plume Walter Phillips, he has published two books…

Solving The Arab-Israeli Conflict, (2009) subtitled “A practical way forward that allows both sides to negotiate a solution in good-faith”

and

Brothers Kept Apart (2008) “Compelling and explicit evidence that exposes the myths that have unnecessarily divided Christians and Muslims for the past 1,300 years.”

Time to buy Phillips’ latest book!

For some reason I missed Grenville’s blog post Solving the Arab-Israeli Conflict but after recently coming across it and reading the wonderful discussions he provoked from around the world, I think I have to purchase and read his latest book.

Damn, I hate it when Grenville makes an argument in such a compelling manner that I have to rethink my own perspective! (Just kidding – that’s what I love about life, learning and growing.)

Marcus

PS: If Grenville doesn’t mind, I think we’ll put his blog and books on our banner list.

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18 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Religion

18 responses to “Arab-Israeli Conflict or Jewish-Muslim Conflict? Whatever it is, can it be solved?

  1. A worthwhile link. I don’t think Grenville’s view is the whole of the solution, but he certainly lays out a reasonable one. The one area he missed in his post is the status of Jerusalem. Perhaps he covers that in his books.

    Thank you for sharing this! Ma’asalama.

  2. Mobert

    ‘Solving The Arab-Israeli Conflict, (2009) subtitled “A practical way forward that allows both sides to negotiate a solution in good-faith”

    LOL.

    You wish.

  3. ninemikemike

    Yep – got to agree with Mobert. In our dreams. Islam does not want peace.

  4. Hi Saladin:

    Jerusalem is a contentious issue. The Jews, Christians, and Muslims are emotionally attached to it for justifiable reasons. However, to my knowledge, neither group is making an exclusive claim for Jerusalem.

    The problem arises when one group wishes to damage the ‘sacred’ sites of one of the others. Due to the emotional attachments of these sites, the damage is referred to a desecration, and offended adherents feel obligated to respond meaningfully.

    For example:
    1) The Persians defeated the Romans and conquered Jerusalem in 614 AD. They took the cross upon which Jesus was crucified as a trophy, burnt the Church of the Resurrection (also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulture) where Jesus’ tomb was located, and killed at least 66,509 Christians. In retaliation, the Roman Emperor Heraclius destroyed the Zoroastrian fire temple (the most sacred Zoroastrian religious site), defeated the Persians, and recovered the cross.

    2) The Islamic army invaded southern Italy in 831 AD, plundered St Peter’s and St Paul’s Basilicas in 846 AD, and occupied southern Italy c.900 AD. The Islamic Caliph then ordered the destruction of both the Church of the Holy Sepulture in Jerusalem and Jesus’ empty tomb in 1009 AD. Pope Urban II would later summon the first Crusade to expel the Islamic Empire out of Europe and retake Jerusalem.

    Currently, all sides appear to respect the other’s religious sites. However, there is a simmering distrust that is based on Moses’ and Mohammed’s final commands. If this distrust is effectively resolved, it would allow each side to discuss an equitable solution in good faith.

    Regards,
    Grenville

  5. Hi Ninemikemike:

    You noted that Islam does not want peace. Perhaps you meant that some Muslims do not want peace. The question that needs a response is: Why don’t these Muslims want peace? The simple answer is that those Muslims believe that the Islamic Jihad as described in the Qur’an continues to this day. Allow me to explain.

    Mohammed sent letters to: Roman Emperor Heraclius, Persian king Khosrow II, Ethopian king Negus, the Egyptian king Muqauqis, and the kings of Uman, Yamama, Yaman, Bahrayn and Ghassani, warning them to submit to God or to face the consequences. After Mohammed’s death in 632, the Islamic armies would go on defeat most of these kingdoms, including the Persian and Roman armies.

    The pattern of the Islamic Holy War appears to mirror that of the Israelite Holy War. Mohammed prepared his followers with several years of preaching, similar to the Holy War instructions delivered by Moses. Both the Bible and the Qur’an contain detailed instructions for executing this War, and the Islamic army’s military victories were as convincing and impressive as Israel’s were approximately 1,500 years prior under Joshua. The main difference is that the Bible records the end of the Israelite Holy War, while Mohammed died before the end of the Islamic Holy War. Therefore, its end is not recorded in the Qur’an.

    After approximately 100 years, the Islamic armies appeared to stop executing judgment on other nations. Around this time, the Islamic leadership engaged in several power struggles leading to a civil war. For the next 200 years, there was Islamic political instability, while the Islamic armies generally occupied and defended conquered territory until the Crusaders advanced eastward, and defeated any Islamic armies in their way. Therefore, the Islamic Holy War appears to have lasted for approximately 100 years.

    Since the end of the Jihad is not recorded in the Qur’an, Islamic teachers assume and teach adherents that it continues to this day. Therefore, not a few Muslims are vulnerable to being misled to commit acts of violence in the name of Islam.

    Some ‘moderate’ Muslim teachers appear to be embarrassed by the Qur’an’s violent instructions and interpret Jihad to be a spiritual struggle rather than the physical one as explicitly stated in the Qur’an. However, ignoring such verses does not help solve the problem. Rather, explaining them in their proper context can help solve the problem.

    Regards,
    Grenville

  6. Slap Happy

    Solve it how?

    If one side doesn’t seriously want to talk to the other how can there be peace?

    Let’s just say that the leaders of both sides did happen upon an agreement/understanding/compromise who is to say that it will survive.
    The uncertainty is the ordinary people and how they would react to such a deal. You just can’t control the people most of the time. Both sides have people who will never bend.

  7. Green Monkey

    How to Kill Goyim and Influence People: Israeli Rabbis Defend Book’s Shocking Religious Defense of Killing Non-Jews (with Video)

    A rabbinical guidebook for killing non-Jews has sparked an uproar in Israel and exposed the power a bunch of genocidal theocrats wield over the government.

    By Max Blumenthal

    As soon as it was published late last year,Torat Ha’Melech sparked a national uproar. The controversy began when an Israeli tabloid panned the book’s contents as “230 pages on the laws concerning the killing of non-Jews, a kind of guidebook for anyone who ponders the question of if and when it is permissible to take the life of a non-Jew.” According to the book’s author, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, “Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and should be killed in order to “curb their evil inclinations.” “If we kill a gentile who has has violated one of the seven commandments… there is nothing wrong with the murder,” Shapira insisted. Citing Jewish law as his source (or at least a very selective interpretation of it) he declared: “There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”

    In January, Shapira was briefly detained by the Israeli police, while two leading rabbis who endorsed the book, Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef, were summoned to interrogations by the Shabak. However, the rabbis refused to appear at the interrogations, essentially thumbing their noses at the state and its laws. And the government did nothing. The episode raised grave questions about the willingness of the Israeli government to confront the ferociously racist swathe of the country’s rabbinate. “Something like this has never happened before, even though it seems as if everything possible has already happened,” Israeli commentator Yossi Sarid remarked with astonishment. “Two rabbis [were] summoned to a police investigation, and announc[ed] that they will not go. Even settlers are kind enough to turn up.”

    In response to the rabbis’ public rebuke of the state’s legal system, the Israeli Attorney General and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kept silent. Indeed, since the publication of Torat Ha’Melech, Netanyahu has strenuously avoided criticizing its contents or the author’s leading supporters. Like so many prime ministers before him, he has been cowed into submission by Israel’s religious nationalist community. But Netanyahu appears to be particularly impotent. His weakness stems from the fact that the religious nationalist right figures prominently in his governing coalition and comprises a substantial portion of his political base. For Netanyahu, a confrontation with the rabid rabbis could amount to political suicide, or could force him into an alliance with centrist forces who do not share his commitment to the settlement enterprise in the West Bank.

    snip

    Lior’s enthusiasm for Shapira’s tract stems from his own eliminationist attitude toward non-Jews. For example, while Lior served as the IDF’s top rabbi, he instructed soldiers: “There is no such thing as civilians in wartime… A thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail!” Indeed, there are only a few non-Jews whose lives Lior would demand to be spared. They are captured Palestinian militants who, as he once suggested, could be used as subjects for live human medical experiments.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26275.htm

  8. ninemikemike

    Thanks for the historical background Grenville. The trouble is, I have to take as I find, and I find I need not fear a Jew, Buddhist, Catholic, Scientologist Jehovah’s Witness, or any other adherent to a particular belief system, with the exception of Islam. There may well be moderate muslims, who want only peace, but they keep quiet about it when the airliners come down, or more likely as in Europe come out on the streets and cheer.

    I find no evidence of any desire to integrate with the infidel (us), or live harmoniously with us.

  9. Green Monkey

    Speaking from my own perspective, it is notable that I had never heard in the media about there being a real problem with Muslim fundamentalists wanting to take over the world and kill everyone that didn’t want to convert to the Muslim faith until everyone was celebrating the collapse of the USSR and the end of the communist threat to take over the world and kill everyone who didn’t want to become a communist.

    With the downfall of communism and the collapse of the USSR the world was looking forward to the “Peace Dividend” where, instead of funneling vast gobs of money at the “defense” contractor conglomerates to buy armaments and stuff to blow other stuff up, money could be spent on more productive and peaceful uses, you know building universities, sewer systems, hospitals, rebuilding infrastructure etc.. But instead, knock me down with a feather if Ronnie Reagan’s favourite Merry Band of Islamic “Freedom Fighters” and those of their ilk didn’t turn out to be an entirely unanticipated, new threat to our freedom and democractic way of life.

    Poor Peace Dividend we hardly knew you before your fleeting life was over and you had vanished from the scene as quickly as you had appeared, leaving behind just the many and deep sighs of relief emanating from the corporate headquarters and boardrooms of Lockheed Martin, GE, Halliburton, KBR and the rest of them. Those CEOs, accustomed as they were to sucking on the government teat, secure in the knowledge there was no danger of their accustomed corporate, welfare payments and generous expense accounts, year end bonuses and golden parachutes etc., courtesy of the US taxpayers, coming to an untimely end like poor Peace Dividend.

    And anyway, who could have known that funding radical Muslim fundamentalists and encouraging them to engage in their fundamentalism and hatred of non-Muslims would lead to more radical Muslim fundamentalism.

    Have you heard about the Afghan Jihad schoolbook scandal?
    Posted 9 April 2002

    Or perhaps I should say, “Have you heard about the Afghan Jihad schoolbook scandal that’s waiting to happen?”

    Because it has been almost unreported in the Western media that the US government shipped, and continues to ship, millions of Islamist (or Islamic fundamentalist) textbooks into Afghanistan.

    Only one English-speaking newspaper we could find has investigated this issue: the Washington Post. The story appeared March 23rd. [1]

    Washington Post investigators report that during the past twenty years the US has spent millions of dollars producing fanatical schoolbooks, which were then distributed in Afghanistan.

    “The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then [i.e., since the violent destruction of the Afghan secular government in the early 1990s] as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books…”
    — Washington Post, 23 March 2002
    See footnote [1]

    According to the Post the U.S. is now “…wrestling with the unintended consequences of its successful strategy of stirring Islamic fervor to fight communism.”

    So the books made up the core curriculum in Afghan schools. And what were the unintended consequences? The Post reports that according to unnamed officials the schoolbooks “steeped a generation in [Islamist] violence.”

    How could this result have been unintended? Did they expect that giving fundamentalist schoolbooks to schoolchildren would make them moderate Muslims?

    http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/jihad.htm

  10. Hi Slap Happy:

    I agree with your initial analysis. The question that should follow is: Why have previous Middle East peace agreements not been sustainable?

    My answer is that a peace agreement negotiated in bad faith cannot be sustainable – as the past 40 years have shown. Any peace agreement reached prior to resolving the root religious reasons for the conflict is unlikely to be sustainable, and it forces the political leaders to negotiate in bad faith. Why? Because, the ‘ordinary people’ are strongly influenced by the commands of their respective prophet as taught to them by their teachers.

    Regards,
    Grenville

  11. Hi Ninemikemike:

    While the fear of Muslims is understandable, for the reasons which you have stated, I do not think fear should be the appropriate response. I believe the appropriate response is to challenge them on the basis of their own scriptures in the Qur’an.

    It appears that Muslims are the easiest group to mislead, principally because the Qur’an is the easiest book ever written, in any language, to any civilization, at any time in recorded history, to misunderstand and misinterpret. Allow me to explain.

    Mohammed started preaching in Arabia when he was 40 years old, and he preached a message of non-violence for the next 9 years. The message changed to include holy war instructions over the next 13 years until his death.

    Mohammed did not write the Qur’an during his lifetime, but his scribe had written the dictated messages on hundreds of stones, bones, and leafs. Approximately 24 years after Mohammed’s death, the final written compilation of the Qur’an was completed. However, rather than order the compiled chapters chronologically, they were ordered generally from the longer to the shorter chapters thus introducing obvious unnecessary complications.

    The Qur’an can be easily misunderstood and misinterpreted, for four principal reasons:
    1. its non-chronological ordering;
    2. the general absence of historical date references in the chapters;
    3. the end of the ‘holy war’ is not recorded in the Qur’an; and
    4. the general absence of the questions to which the Qur’an responds.

    These issues have led to Islamic teachers making unverified assumptions which damage the integrity of several verses in the Qur’an. However, many of them have been entrenched in Islamic religious tradition for the past 1,300 years. Given these challenges, a reasonable interpretation of the Qur’an requires a working knowledge of the following:
    1. the Qur’an read in chronological order;
    2. the Books of the Bible, to which the Qur’an refers the reader;
    3. the historical biography of Mohammed;
    4. the development of Christian and Jewish religious traditions, from the time of Jesus to the time of Mohammed; and
    5. a history of Rome, Persia, and Arabia, whose activities are recorded in the Qur’an.

    Regrettably, most Muslims have a working knowledge of few of these pre-requisites.

    Regards,
    Grenville

  12. Hi Green Monkey:

    Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira appears to base his thesis on the Israeli holy war, which the Bible records as having ended over 3,000 years ago. I believe that an honest discussion could resolve this; however, there must be a willingness on both sides to seek the truth rather than seeking to defend their opinions.

    Regarding the US-AID textbook issue. I have reviewed the Washington Post article and the Centre for Public Integrity’s article (linked below), and if factual, agree that it is scandalous. While the US has done much good around the world, they have also sowed many seeds of instability that have had harmful consequences for the nation in which they were sown, and for US civilians and armed personnel.

    http://projects.publicintegrity.org/wow/bio.aspx?act=pro&ddlC=61

    Regards,
    Grenville

  13. BFP

    Hi Grenville…

    “3. the end of the ‘holy war’ is not recorded in the Qur’an;”

    How do you know that the Holy War was ended by Muhammad?

  14. Hi BFP:

    Allow me to clarify.

    The Islamic holy war was not ended by Mohammed, but appears to have ended approximately 100 years after Mohammed’s death. Therefore, unlike the Biblical holy war, the end of the Islamic holy war is not recorded in the Qur’an.

    Since the end of the war is not recorded in the Qur’an, most (if not all) Muslims believe that it continues to this day. I say “if not all” because I am yet to converse with a Muslim who believes that the Qur’anic Jihad has ended.

    Thank you for facilitating this discussion.

    Regards,
    Grenville

  15. BFP

    Hi Grenville,

    Clive here. Thanks for that explanation. Lots I don’t know and that makes things clearer. Also depressing because I don’t know how to “end” the Muslim Holy War against everyone else.

  16. Hi BFP Clyde:

    While the de jure Jihad has ended, the de facto Jihad continues. It only continues because Islamic teachers are teaching Islamic adherents that it continues

    One solution is to engage Islamic teachers, at the level of Sheikh, in an honest discussion in the hope that they will see the light, and bring Muslims out of their self-inflicted darkness. This should bring relief to many worldwide, whom they persecute out of ignorance. I think that Jesus predicted such behavior.

    “yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.” (John 16:2b)

    Regards,
    Grenville

  17. 183

    What is a theocracy?

    A theocracy is a religion and a governmental system all wrapped into one.
    – the entire opposite of America’s separation of church and state (-a good thing, if you ask me).

    So don’t be foolin yourself that Islam is a religion, “of peace” or otherwise.
    It is a creeping cancer that will take over the world, if no Chemo is administered.
    Right now it’s metastasizing nicely, no longer in remission.
    – – – –
    Moderate Muslims are moderate
    until instructions are handed down from higher up.
    When those instructions are handed down, there is no checks and balances nonsense by which they can refuse to carry out those instructions.
    You either carry out the instructions, or your head comes off, like any infidel.

    So what do you think Mister Moderate Muslim will do?
    He’ll follow the instructions from On High!

    That applies to our crop of local cool,moderate Muslims right here on this island.
    -Good guys for now, until!

    Don’t fool yourself.
    Learn about the creep of Nazi-ism from 1919 onwards.
    Most people think it started in 1939. Wrong!