The Israel Palestine conflict has nothing to do with Religion. Much has been said about Palestinian terrorism being a result of Islamist radicalism involving the creation of a unified Muslim state in the Middle East. Equally prevalent in this discussion is the Israeli use of terrorism in the name of Zionist movement. Religion has been the guise for the justification of this “rational” terrorism, when in fact there is nothing rational about it. In this context, rational terrorism is defined as violence against civilians as a clear means to an end. The religion is distorted, sold to the world as sympathetic propaganda to mask the politically motivated terrorism it really is. The use of terrorism by Israel and Palestine is falsely ascribed a rational religious context. When examined closely, the use of terrorism can only be defended rationally through a political context, finding that a religious justification proves irrational and antithetic. This disillusionment of rational religious terrorism in this conflict must begin with an expanded discussion of rational versus irrational terrorism. As previously stated, rational terrorism involves using violence against civilians as a clear means to an end. Irrational terrorism is the use of violence against civilians for no clear end. Irrational terrorism can include violence for the sake of enjoyment, to gain publicity, etc. Religious fundamentalism is not a rational justification of terrorism in this conflict. A clear and concise understanding of the religion the two sides use as a plausible sympathetic defense for terrorism actually leads to an irrational classification of its use and delegitimizes justification of civilian violence. The only rational justification for terrorism is the strictly politically motivated territorial dispute over the land both the Arabs and the Israelis inhabit. This point will be examined more closely in the analysis that follows. Also relevant to this discussion is a brief historical analysis of the two countries’ beginning. Much of the religious justification of terrorism comes from the fundamentalist belief of both parties that they have a divine right to the land now called Israel. In the book of Kings God tells the people that the Kingdom of Israel would belong to David and his descendants forever, as they were God’s chosen people-use actual source. At first glance this seems to support a rational religious justification for the use of terrorism to expel the arabs from their divinely promised land. However, this is not the context in which the territorial conflict came about. In the 1930’s, European Jews were facing increased discrimination and persecution for their religious beliefs, and pressured Great Britain to form a Jewish State out of colonial Palestine. The nation state of Israel is formed in 1939, followed by a mass emigration of Jews from Europe to the old Palestine. The Jews thought their immigration would cause the Arabs to immigrate into the surrounding Muslim countries to make room for their new population. Unfortunately for the Jews, the Arabs also felt they had a divinely inspired claim to the land. Source entry. This is where both sides forge claims of rational religious terrorism: Israel via the Zionist movement, and the Arabs via their resistance to expulsion. The Zionist movement refers to the “retaking” of their homeland through whatever means necessary. Zionists hide behind the illusion of a religiously mandated return to the promised land to justify their uses of terrorism. When the Arabs refused to immigrate out of the land they had been living in for years, the Zionists felt they had the right to use any means necessary in order to achieve the end goal of a Jewish state because it was divinely mandated end, implying that the means used to accomplish this goal also were divinely justified and acceptable. Evidence for this is found within the biblical accounts of the Holy Land, where God leads the Israelites into battle and emerges victorious with them because it is his will that they settle in that land. Source entry. Terrorism, or the use of instilling fear amongst a group of civilians, seemed to be the most rational choice. Fear would cause the Palestinians to leave, giving the Jews their own homeland for once. This justification is fabricated from the “true religion” (what it actually is) in order to fit a rational definition that would endear itself to sympathizers. The fact is thought that the Israelites have no rational religious justification for terrorism. The ten commandments mandates that “Thou Shalt not Kill” source. The Jews lose their homeland to the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Romans and a whole mess of other civilizations. The claim that God gave them this land is completely a radicalized reading of the text implying that they have a divine mission to complete this return home, which is not supported in any reading of the texts when examined closely. Understanding this, the Jewish justification of divinely inspired violence holds no merit. It was an excuse to distract the public from the purely political motivations behind the terrorism. The terrorism was not used to preach the name of God and instill the fear of God, which was the purpose of slaughtering and destruction in the Book of Joshua. Source entry The purpose of this terrorism is to hurt people for the sake of territory. God has no stake in the land gains of either side, but the politicians do, which is why they hide behind His “holy word.”
Therefore, because the religious ideology is flawed and the use of violence based on that flawed ideology is not justified, the terrorism loses any religious rationale and becomes solely a rational political technique. Based on the earlier definiton of rational terrorism, there is no longer a religious end justifying terrorism as its means. There is no divinely mandated Jewish state guaranteed to the Jews. That is the basis of their religious argument, which can be concluded to be an irrational form of terrorism. Continued use of this religious premise will have serious consequences for the Jewish community in the future if they do not move away from their irrational ideology and at least acknowledge one that is rational, such as the political dispute involving the territory. Whether or not violence is ever justified, a rational approach to it is easier to understand that basing violence on completely irrational facts or feelings because it loses legitimacy and takes the form of cruelty and abuse, which is not good for public support and sympathy.
The Muslims of Palestine also hide behind the religious guise in order to support their continued use of violence. Granted, the Arabs were the initial victim in this conflict, having their established homeland given away by a country in a different continent to a foreign group of people. This concept of Jews being foreign is yet again more evidence to the fact that their takeover of colonial Palestine was purely political. The Arabs almost had no choice but to fight religion with religion. However, fighting religion by also claiming divine providence gives substance to whatever the conflict is. Even though they were forced into this conflict, they did not have to validate their actions by means of religion. Just because the Jewish immigrants decided to justify themselves through a completely radical and incorrect reading of the biblical texts in order to achieve an illusioned rationality, the Arabs were not under the same pressure. The Palestinians could have operated solely from a political perspective, retaliating under the political context instead of a religious one. Instead however, they chose to counter the publicity of Judaism with the relatively unknown Islam through globalized acts of violence. The taking of hostages at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, source, and the hijackings of the planes in Jordan, source, brought national attention to the conflict at hand, Muslims versus the Jews. However, this is the wrong conflict that needed to be brought to attention. It is not the religious conflict between the Jews and muslims but a political conflict between the arabs and the jewish people.
The Muslims decided to globalize the conflict through the religious context, one that didn’t exist. The only reason for the conflict was an invasion by a foreign group of people resulting in a territorial dispute. It is the same thing as saying that World War II was a religious conflict because it took place between Catholics and Protestants, which is clearly not the cause of the war. The only difference is that both these religions have broadcasted it so forcefully religious that the media and mass population do not question it.
This failure to question has let the lie go on without any reason for it to stop. Without religion as a justification, new members are not as easily persuaded to join. Continue along the line of recruitment, ideology, morale, fervor, cause.