The Annexation of Territory in War: Answer to Dr Meir Finkel, Part 2

Back in 2004-5, when Palestinians saw the Knesset debating capitulating in Gaza, imams in all the mosques instructed Palestinians to be on their best behaviour, because they were about to win back Muslim land without a fight and they definitely did not want to blow it.

The Annexation of Territory in War: Answer to Dr Meir Finkel, Part 2
1967 and all that

Part 1, Part 3

As I said in Part 1, I am not a military expert, but perhaps there is something to be said for knowing your enemy and your enemy’s attitude to agreements, especially agreements with you. Perhaps it is not a regular textbook enemy, but one that simply does not, will not and cannot give up their war until they have established domination over you, such as, for instance, Muslims. Perhaps it is time to consider that these are not simply wars, but religious wars. Perhaps these are the only people left in the world who still do that sort of thing. Perhaps the wars are motivated by a religion that urges its adherents to die in the act of killing Jews, and holds such killing deaths as the most pious of deeds, and rewards the person who so dies with instant access to Paradise, such as, for example, Islam. Perhaps this enemy loves death more than we love life. Perhaps this enemy’s religion teaches that war is deceit. Perhaps in the enemy’s religion, deceit is an extremely sophisticated sacred science.

It might be passed time to find out why there is a second, a third, a fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh time… despite every time "ensuring as much as possible that that will be the last time they pose a threat to the border settlements". Perhaps the failure of agreements in Lebanon is akin to truces agreed with Hamas in Gaza, that are broken within the hour, time after time after time.

Granted, perhaps religion is nonsense, doesn’t make sense, is primitive, etc., etc., but they are your enemy, they are motivated by religion and the prospect of death propels them. As idiotic and backward as you might find all that, you have no choice but to reckon with it, because it is real, as are their weapons. For them, death is no defeat, and you will not defeat them unless they recognise defeat, and they recognise only one thing as defeat: humiliation.

This brings us to Dr Finkel’s laying out the reasons for occupying enemy territory. I agree wholeheartedly that enemy territory must be occupied. But where Dr Finkel sees such occupation as essentially temporary, i.e., leading to negotiations and a peace agreement, the fly in the ointment is, once again, a failure to understand what is particular to this enemy, and hence agreements with this enemy. Dr Finkel lists the following three reasons for territorial occupation:

1. Occupation and holding of enemy territory. Dr Finkel asserts that “Territory remains as important to Israel’s enemies as it ever was.” This is true, but he does not wonder why this is so. Unless the “Rashidun force” is something other than the Arab armies that invaded, conquered and occupied Eretz Israel in the seventh century, we are dealing with an importance that has persisted for 1400 years. Surely, that kind of importance warrants some special attention. As what are now called "the Palestinians" have only existed since the mid-1960s, "return" must mean something other than one would assume from Dr Finkel's observation of Hamas:

“Hamas in Gaza wants to “return” to Jaffa, Ashdod, Ashkelon (Majdal), and indeed the rest of the State of Israel, either through direct occupation, by exhausting Israel until it collapses, or by exerting enough political pressure to force the “right of return”.

If the Rashiduns wanted it, then it is not Hamas that wants to return; it is not even Arabs who want to return; it is Muslims who want to “return”. Western proto-dhimmis might talk of it as “Palestinian land”, but Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims all talk of it as “Muslim land.” This is why you never hear Muslims complaining about Ottoman or Jordanian occupation of Palestine, only about Israeli occupation. An American sheikh of Pakistani extraction, Dr Yasir Qadhi, in one of his laments over the demise of the Ottomans, quotes from the Cambridge History of Islam:

For political reasons the Ottoman Sultans — also being the last dynasty of Caliphs — attached the greatest importance to safeguarding and strengthening the reputation which they enjoyed as ghazis [jihad warrior-plunderers, AP] in the Muslim world. When they won victories in the ghaza [jihad plunder raids] in the Balkans, they used to send accounts of them, as well as slaves and booty, to eastern Muslim potentates. Christian knights captured by Bayezid I at his victory over the Crusaders at Nicopolis in 1396, and sent to Cairo, Baghdad and Tabriz, were paraded through the streets, and occasioned great demonstrations in favour of the Ottomans.

On another occasion, Dr Qadhi comes close to tears when he talks about, “the magnificent and glorious capitals of the Muslim lands [Baghdad, Damascus, Constantinople and Jerusalem] ...literally entered" by Allied troops as the First World War came to a close, as if it were some kind of violation for the victor to enter the capital of the vanquished aggressor.

In March 1917, the British captured Baghdad. By December 1917, they're in Jerusalem. And by October 1918, they conquer Damascus. They conquer the capital of the once Umayyad Empire. It was only a matter of time now before the rest of the Muslim lands fall, and on November 13, 1918, they invade Istanbul [then Constantinople, AP]. French and British forces invade Istanbul and Istanbul falls to the allies. It is truly symbolic, in my humble opinion, that out of all of the magnificent and glorious capitals of the Muslim lands, both Baghdad and Damascus, and Istanbul, all of them, not symbolically, were literally conquered by the allies, literally. Western troops literally entered into Damascus, and Baghdad and Istanbul. And then of course, Jerusalem, the holiest of holy in that region. And there is no doubt in my mind that in terms of political humiliation, this was one of the lowest points in the entire history of the ummah. (My emphasis).

Palestinians take Muslims to task, wherever they may be, over not doing enough to recover the particular piece of “Muslim land” currently "occupied" by the Jews. In 1994, Yasser Arafat addressed a mosque in Johannesburg, intoning:

And long after this agreement (1993 Oslo Agreement) which is the first step and not more than that, believe me. There is a lot to be done. The jihad will continue and Jerusalem is not for the Palestinian People. It is for all the Muslim ummah, all the Muslim ummah. You are responsible for Palestine and for Jerusalem before me.

Similarly, Abdurrahman Zaidan, a Hamas official, explained in a tense interview with Ami Horowitz, “it is the duty of every Muslim Palestinian to redeem the land through jihad. It is the duty of every Muslim, not only Palestinian, to redeem this land.”

And on 7 October 2023, the Muslims of the world, the ummah so humiliated in 1918, did not disappoint. When Dr Finkel concludes: “Israel’s occupation and holding of enemy territory constitutes a serious loss for those enemies,” he does so on the narrowest of empirical bases, with only the shallowest of appreciation of the significance of his own words, coming away with no deeper insight into his enemy than one might conclude in an abstract reflection.

This superficial understanding of his enemy leads Dr Finkel to the most serious error in his perspective: “Holding territory is also a bargaining chip in diplomatic negotiations.” In Islam, there is no such thing as “diplomatic negotiations.” Negotiations are always deception aimed at getting an enemy to stop fighting, save honour and set the stage for resuming the war, whether immediately after signing, or centuries into the future. When the Muslim armies are strong enough to retake the territory—a point reached much sooner if their enemy withdraws from occupied territory in the mistaken belief that they have a peace treaty—the Muslims retake the territory. They also do this when they know their enemy adheres to a curious thing they call “the spirit of the agreement.” That is how the Egyptians retook land from Israel immediately after they lost the War of Attrition.

Had the Brigadier General understood that he is fighting a religious war against Muslims, he would know the following: when Muslims launch an aggressive war against you, or float an incendiary balloon across your frontier, or dig a tunnel under your border, etc., then it is imperative to seize territory from them, occupy the territory and annex the territory, each and every time without exception, no matter how small or brief the incursion. Losing “Muslim land” is a deep humiliation to them (the only deeper humiliation is losing "Muslim land" during Ramadan), and defeat is only defeat when it is sealed with humiliation. This is all the more so when they've gone to war against the Jews, against whom it is impossible to lose. They died, and lost “Muslim land” to the Jews. They stand in shame not only before all the Muslims in the world, but before Allah, who bequeathed them the globe for them alone to rule, and commanded them to conquer every inch of it for Islam.

Even where Israel holds territory without annexation, or annexation does not strictly apply in the particular context, as in Judea and Samaria, where Muslims have not unequivocally lost, the taking of land from Muslims must be made irrevocable immediately. There is only a tangential connection to demographics and democracy, considerations that ought to play but a reference role. While annexation of Judea and Samaria remains incomplete, Palestinians will continue to make propaganda capital out of the presence of “The Occupation” (Israel) on "their", meaning "Muslim", land, deceptively presented as "Palestinian land" on which they want to build – wait for it – a "Palestinian state".

Since Israel has left the propaganda battlefield to the Palestinians, and those in power still bear the ideology of the ever-dividing cloth, counter-attacking to her own strength means proceeding by other means, such as widespread and uninterrupted housing construction, and consolidation of discrete Jewish communities into more substantial ones, and arming every Jew in Judea and Samaria (yes, it means this fight continues right inside the Israeli government). Made explicit and declared beforehand, each house so constructed humiliates Palestinians, as they are manifestly failing to recover that territory for Muslims, which in the ummah, they are uniquely privileged to do. This is “changing the equation”. Every time house construction stalls, or a prominent Jew insults the people of Judea and Samaria, or the IDF demolishes a hilltop outpost, the equation shifts in the Muslims' favour.

This is the real war between wars, for it is here, in Judea and Samaria, where, hour by hour, the conquest or loss of territory, whether a road, a house, a field or even a bus stop, decides who humiliates whom. Unchallenged Palestinian encroachments into Area-C are restoring honour from the humiliation of Oslo, tiny recompenses for being forced to sit down (and shake hands!) with the hated sons of apes and pigs. It is a war that Israel can easily win, that is to say, win so Muslims recognise it as a win for Israel, that is, an unrelenting string of humiliations for Muslims, if Israel did not feel so obliged to indulge her enemies. When the IDF finds weapons in a mosque, yet fails to demolish the mosque, Israel humiliates herself and restores honour to the Palestinians, fortifying them for the next suicide attack.

Some politicians propose that for every terrorist attack, x number of new Jewish homes be built in Judea and Samaria. This would be a very good policy, but it can go much further. When a terrorist murders Jews and Israel demolishes only the house of that terrorist, she humiliates herself in the eyes of the Palestinians, for that terrorist’s family is what counts, not him, and the other ten or twenty family homes remain standing. All the family homes have to be blown up. Blowing up a single terrorist’s home will only have impact if that site is seized by the state and auctioned off to Jews. Such a move will be even more humiliating then blowing up twenty family homes and not passing any of the sites to Jews. It will dampen down the frequency of terrorist attacks.

Those public officials who work tirelessly to strengthen Judea and Samaria, especially those who work to prevent attacks on Jews, and those who attract new immigrants to the area, are the Jews Palestinians fear the most, for they win the real war between wars. Palestinians are terrified by the Sovereignty Movement gaining so much prominence. Jews repopulating Gaza will be a humiliation as profound as the loss of "the magnificent and glorious capitals of the Muslim lands" in 1918. Palestinians understand the significance of tiny, incremental victories, and the Muslim timeline stretches all the way to the Last Day. Israeli leaders hide their timidity behind "Israel is not allowed to win." Is Israel a colony?

Dr Finkel writes, “Hamas’s claim that it will return the captives as long as the IDF withdraws from Gaza’s population centers proves that occupied territory is once again a diplomatic bargaining chip.” Occupied territory is a bargaining chip only to those who do not know Muslims. To Hamas, territory is not a bargaining chip; it is the object to be recovered, for which return of the captives is the bargaining chip. Dr Finkel writes that in the peace negotiations with Cairo, “Egypt... insisted on the complete return of Sinai,” but does not go into why Egypt was so insistent. Going to war against Israel and losing no territory despite losing the war meant no humiliation and therefore, no defeat.

Israel, on the other hand, had won the war, but gave all the territory back to Egypt, because Egypt, the one that had lost the war, demanded it. The humiliation is therefore with Israel, that settled for mere words on a piece of paper. For Egypt, the whole thing turned into a resounding victory, simply because Jews do not understand Muslims (and to this day dismiss any talk of it). Egypt having prior religious approval for the eventual Peace Treaty with Israel, together with restoring Egyptian honour after the wars, did nothing to stop Muslims from assassinating Anwar Sadat. But that is a whole other story.

Back in 2004-5, when Palestinians saw the Knesset debating capitulating in Gaza, imams in all the mosques instructed Palestinians to be on their best behaviour, because they were about to win back Muslim land without a fight and they definitely did not want to blow it. What was that about Palestinians and opportunities? In the event, they saw the IDF driving the Jews off Muslim land for them. What conclusion could they come to, but that this was a sign from Allah to get ready.

And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war, to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them, whom you may not know but whom Allah does know. And whatever you shall spend in the cause of Allah shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly. (Qur'an 8:60).

The stage was set for all that followed, including the certainty of victory in the Simchat Torah massacre.

By now, after three-quarters of a century of wars, there should be no Gaza, no “West Bank”, no Lebanon south of the Litani River, no Egypt east of the Suez Canal, no Waqf over holy places, whether in Jerusalem or Hebron, and no Syria south-west of the Syrian capital. By now, Israeli border guards should be able to see directly into the kitchens of Damascus. The very first territory that should have been seized, occupied and annexed immediately after the Six-Day War, were the Tiran and Sanafir Islands. If Israel is not currently negotiating to purchase these islands from their new owner, Saudi Arabia, then she should be.

To be clear, none of these annexations would have stopped the wars. It is forbidden for Muslims to stop the war against the infidel (they may only pause it – the Peace Treaties with Egypt and Jordan are only temporary, sorry, no matter what it says on paper and how grandiose the signing ceremony. Expect those wars to resume; it’s a Muslim thing. The Abraham Accords are a special case for another essay). In the short term, such annexations would have made the Israeli population centres less vulnerable to attack. In the longer term, the sheer weight of the humiliations would still be eroding the enemy’s will to do anything.

Every time a Muslim army goes to war against Israel, Muslims the world over are at war with Israel. In mosques around the world, including in Israel, Muslims pray for Israel’s defeat. All Muslims are energised and talk in terms of revenge for the humiliation of Israel's existence. For Muslims to lose territory to Israel every time they go to war, the constant humiliation will be too much to bear and erode their faith in their religion, a religion whose God specifically targets Jews, by name, for extermination, and promises world victory to the Muslims, the best of people.

Breaking the vice grip of Islam on the minds of Muslims is the end state to be strived for. This is how Israel defeats her enemies, for good. The dilemma that looms large before every Muslim strategist must be: if we go to war against Israel, more Muslims will leave Islam. With Judaism and Christianity, Israel is, indeed, the Holy Land; leave Islam in the mix and it remains a most unholy land. This can change, but there is no sign of it in the Brigadier General’s essay.

Part 3/...

Picture credits:

Government Press Office (Israel), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nicolas Eynaud Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Hoheit Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0


On 25 February at 22:43, Jalal Tagreeb wrote:

Dear Anjuli,

I totally agree with you in what you said in your last article: "The Annexation of Territory in War: Answer to Dr Meir Finkel, Part 2". This is a truly excellent article, well done Anjuli!

It is the humiliation that makes those who adopt jihad accept defeat. If Israel had kept the land of Sinai after the Yom Kippur war, the Egyptians would have never called this a victory. Talking about my experience in jihad by word, It was not sufficient to debunk my arguments to let me accept defeat, although the arguments' refutation was rational, acceptable and clear for an outside viewer of the debate. The arrogance, overconfidence and the prestige of Imam prevented the acceptance of defeat. It was only humiliation that did the job (or the rest of the job, because I was actually defeated, but an admission of that would indicate that the lesson was learnt completely). After each debunk of an Islamic argument, they made it explicitly clear that I could not stand to defend Islam, addressed intentionally by them as "Lion of Dawah" in a sarcastic way was needed. Pumped up by being given the prestige of Imam, but gradually taking it away from me as I lose arguments had a good impact. All that had led to the admission of defeat at the end.

When a da'iah surrenders and admits defeat in debates, he immediately loses credibility and trust and thus loses his role as a Muslim scholar and as a Muslim. He simply announces to the world that he is not influential any more. The strong bit however, is that this step is irrevocable, that is, he cannot change his mind in future and become a da'iah again. He has reached a state where arrogance cannot grow again. Constant reminder of the final result of defeat every now and then is essential for him and others who might adopt a similar approach in future: "We defeated you in a war that you waged on us". Let Salah al-Din know that you fell on your knees in front of the Cross!

Kind regards,


On 26 February 2024 at 9:46, Ben Dor A. wrote:

Hello Anjuli Pandavar

Part 2 is quite a masterpiece.

I have read so many books and articles about Islam but this is the first time that someone spells it out so clearly.

Thank you for your light.

I have shared it with family and friends.

I hope they read it and absorb the deep meaning of your essay.
Best Regards 

Ben Dor A.

On 26 February 2024 at 14:33, Ben Dor A. wrote:

I think I will translate that masterpiece.
Best Regards 

Ben Dor A.