The collapse of Israeli-Palestinian agreements from the 1993 Oslo Accords until today stems from the fact that both Israeli and US leaders ignore the real root of the conflict. The heart of the conflict is the denial of the existence – and not the size – of any non-Muslim entity on land that, in the eyes of Muslims, is Waqf – an inalienable religious land endowment.
On Jan. 9, 2012, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, a close associate of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, stated that all of Israel has been Waqf since 637 C.E. and will be forever. The statement was made at the annual rally of Fatah, which Abbas heads. It was broadcast on the official Mahmoud Abbas television station, and called for the killing of Jews to hasten the Islamic Resurrection. The message of the Mufti has become rooted in the Palestinian consciousness, with the help of Mahmoud Abbas’ educational system. Thus, according a July 2011 poll, conducted by the leading US pollster, Stan Greenberg, a liberal-democrat, closely associated with former President Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, 73% of Palestinians viewed killing Jews as a springboard to Judgment Day. On March 27, 2010, Abbas declared: “Jerusalem and all its surrounding areas are Waqf land, as provided by Allah. We must do everything we can to save them from the threat of Judaization.”
The principle of the Waqf land is permanent, and transcends leaders and policies which are provisional. It applies to any land that was ever under Islamic control. It is an inseparable part of the legacy of Muhammad and Islamic law, especially at this time of the surge by the trans-national Muslim Brotherhood, which views Allah, the Koran, the Prophet Muhammad, jihad and martyrdom as the goal, the law, the leader, the way and the exalted aspiration respectively. Their loyalty to the Waqf land obligates Muslims to “holy wars” and the restoration of sovereignty in the Philippines, Thailand, parts of China, Kashmir, Chechnya, Israel, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Spain, Portugal and elsewhere.
The centrality of the Waqf land in the Muslim experience can be understood from the precedent of Andalusia, the Arabic name for most of the Iberian Peninsula, which was under Islamic rule from 711-1492 C.E. The Muslim Golden Age did not take place between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, but rather in Andalusia, especially in the Alhambra palace/fortress in Granada. At the beginning of the 8th century, the Muslims conquered the Iberian Peninsula, southern France, Sicily and the Italian coastline and declared it “the Abode of Islam.” In 1492, Spain was liberated from the occupation by Muslims, who today still view “Al-Andalus” as Waqf. The March 2004 Muslim terrorist plots in Madrid, which murdered 191 people and wounded around 1,800, intended to rectify the “Injustice of Andalusia.” Currently, Saudi Arabia is constructing the second largest mosque in the world in Cordoba, the former capital of Andalusia, while mosques proliferate all over Spain.
Prof. Efraim Karsh, Head of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College in London, writes in his book “Islamic Imperialism” (Yale University Press, 2007): “In 1980, there was a huge map in Afghanistan on which large parts of what was then Soviet Central Asia and China’s Xinjiang Province were labeled ‘Temporarily Occupied Muslim Territory….’ Dr. Yusuf Qaradawi, a spiritual guide of the Muslim Brothers [reiterated the message of Muhammad that] the city of Hirqil [Constantinopol] will be conquered first … The other city Romiyya [Rome] … we hope and believe that it too will be conquered … That means that Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror.”
Recognition of foreign sovereignty over Muslim Waqf land amounts to humiliation, betrayal and servitude for Arabs and Muslims. According to the 628C.E. Prophet Muhammad’s Treaty of Hudaybiyya – which underscores the shifty nature of contemporary Arab policies in general and the “Phased Plan” in particular – Muslims are permitted to conclude tactical agreements that temporarily relinquish Waqf land, but never abandon the overarching, permanent strategy of reclaiming it all at a later stage.
Persisting in the “land-for-peace” policy ignores the roots of Arab hostility; repeats – rather than avoids – past mistakes; plays into the hands of our enemies; raises Arab expectations and exacerbates violence and terrorism in the region.