(A Polish translation of an earlier version of this essay may be found here)
Today, 27 September, marks the 51st anniversary of the decisive turn in the 1970 Black September Palestinian insurrection in Jordan. It was an inauspicious start to a stillborn nation finding its feet. To say that the Palestinians have a difficult relationship with their Arab brethren would be to understate the case. They have an impossible relationship, and it all comes down to Israel's location, both in space and in time, and Islam's stranglehold over the Muslim's psyche.
The resilience of Islam against all efforts to reform it is built not only on its claims to perfection, its readiness to resort to extreme violence, its degradation of thought and corruption of humanity in Muslims, its institutionalisation of the “scholars” as a totalitarian thought police, and its inculcation of supremacism in Muslims. It is also built on fixing the perfect Muslim condition, the Islamic state of grace, at its founding generation, in other words, in the past. The Muslims’ best days are always behind them.
Words to the effect of, “The early Muslims, whom the Prophet …testified were the very best of mankind, and who lived to see many a reprehensible innovation (bid'a) and deviant belief,” (Reliance of the Traveller, Book S:2.4) sheikhs and scholars regularly urge upon lay Muslims. We must become like the sahaba, but we can never be like the sahaba. Every generation of Muslims since the founders is worse than the preceding generation. In other words, the longer the Last Hour is delayed, the fewer chances Muslims have of making it into Paradise.
The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.
—Sahih Muslim, 6985.
The more religious Israel’s Muslims are, the stronger is their incentive to hasten the Last Hour. All madrassas teach hatred of Jews, but nowhere in the world, except perhaps amongst the Shi’a, is this indoctrination into a death-cult idealising “martyrdom” as thorough-going as amongst Arab Muslims in and around Israel, the "Palestinians". Palestinians in Gaza proudly send their children to indoctrination summer camps. Palestinian fathers pledge their sons’ lives for “Al-Quds”. Palestinian mothers rejoice when their own children blow themselves up killing Jews. Such mothers are lauded heroes of Palestine, praised and handsomely rewarded by the Palestinian President himself. It is a source of national pride to Palestinians that they have more suicide bombers than anyone else. Palestinian civilians taunt and provoke the IDF, and deliberately put themselves in harm's way, boasting that they love death more than the Jews love life. It would be a very incompetent politician who could not turn such a population against the accursed Jews at the expense of their own wellbeing and progress. It’s been done many times, all the way back to Hajj Amin al-Husseini.
In the centuries since the ulema codified the Shari’a, this “accursed” world has tempted Muslims with all manner of “reprehensible innovations and deviant beliefs”: from the abolition of slavery to living off the fruits of your own labour, from literacy to thinking for yourself, from not having sex with children to not beating your wife, from obeying kafir laws to treating non-Muslims as equal to Muslims, and so on and on and on, driving Muslims ever-further from the Islamic ideal as the civilising ways of the kufaar penetrate every facet of Muslim life. The culmination of all this reprehensible innovation and deviant belief is a modern human being called an autonomous individual, and a Muslim’s humanity, it turns out, is just as hungry for release from bondage as anyone else’s.
While caliphs, sultans, shahs, amirs, ayatollahs, sheikhs and “scholars”, the ruling elite, could insulate Muslims from this accursed world and its ways, they could keep them oppressed as subordinate dependents, thereby keeping themselves in power over lay Muslims, “simple Muslims”, as some sheikhs call them. Modernity presents a very serious problem to the Muslim hierarchy: ordinary Muslims who no longer hear and obey (Qur'an 24:51), thereby posing an existential threat not only to Islam, but to those who depend on Islam for their power over Muslims.
With the end of the Ottoman Empire, this threat to Islam emerged in no more serious a form than one of the five great enemies of Islam, the Jews, the others being doubt, women, the kufaar in general, and Shaitan. The establishment of Israel presents Islam with its greatest crisis ever, because it concentrates within a very small space right in the heart of the Muslim world the greatest pressure on the Muslim to recognise the negation of his humanity. To the Muslims who oppress Muslims, the reality of not only Israel, but of Jews in their midst, must be undone at all costs. Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, put it this way:
We aim to smash modernism in government and society. In Palestine our first duty as Moslems is to crush Zionism, which is Jewish modernism. It is our patriotic duty. The Qur’an commands it.