Invoking the Crusades in the war against the Gaza Strip

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with rabbis during a Bible study group in Jerusalem on May 23, 2012 [SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/AFP/GettyImages]

The US and European countries sought to create critical and important changes in the concept of religious extremism and terrorism. To achieve these changes, the US used its extensive influence in think tanks and research centres to link Islam and Muslims with religious extremism and to try to find a conceptual limit to this term and link it to Muslims alone. Therefore, Israel and the US have focused together on depriving the Resistance of the characteristic of political liberation and the struggle against the Occupation, describing it as “terrorism”. They have sometimes gone further by describing Hamas’s attacks against the Gaza Strip settlements as “barbaric attacks”.

One of the most important statements that Netanyahu made during the 23 days of the war on Gaza was his statement before the Israeli Knesset when he promised to fulfil the “Prophecy of Isaiah”. This prophecy is part of the Book of Isaiah, which consists of 66 chapters in the Bible. This prophecy speaks about the establishment of the Greater State of Israel between the Nile and Euphrates Rivers and causing massive destruction in Iraq, Damascus, Yemen and Egypt.

Invoking this prophecy in Israeli and American political discourse and consciousness is nothing but an attempt to revive the era of the Crusades that took place between the 11 and 13 centuries. This war began when Pope Urban II launched the Crusades at the Council of Clermont in 1095, and Urban called on Christians to take up arms against the Muslims and liberate the Holy Land. His speech was met with great enthusiasm, and thousands of people from all over Europe volunteered to join the Crusade.

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The Crusades were waged for a number of reasons, as some Christians believed it was their duty to fight for the faith and liberate the Holy Land from Muslim control. Others were motivated by economic factors, such as the desire to control trade routes or acquire new lands, while others sought adventure and glory in lands that were under Muslim rule.

The First Crusade was successful, with the Crusaders capturing Jerusalem in 1099 and establishing a number of Crusader states in the Holy Land. However, the Crusaders were unable to maintain control over the region. The Muslims launched a series of counter-attacks and, by 1187, the Crusaders were expelled from the Palestinian Territories by the forces of Saladin Al-Ayyubi.

The US States and Israel do not consider these wars to have ended yet and believe there is still a final round that they will wage against Muslims in the Holy Lands of Palestine. Therefore, the speeches of US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were mobilised in a way that shows that the conflict in Palestine, in general, and the Gaza Strip, in particular, is not a struggle for liberation from oppression and Occupation, but rather a religious conflict existing between Jews and Muslims.

Therefore, all military support operations, the deployment of American aircraft carriers and the provision of ammunition to Israel, although carried out under the guise of preventing other parties from entering the conflict, their real goal is to participate in the campaign against the Gaza Strip. This is exactly what the US President’s statements indicated when he said that he asked the Israeli Prime Minister for Israel’s response to be decisive against the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip.

In fact, unlike the US and Israel, neither Hamas nor the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip view this war as a religious war, but rather a war of liberation and restoration of the land occupied by Israel. They base their categorisation of this conflict on UN resolutions (242, 1860, 2334 and many others) that described Israel as an Occupying power. Contrary to the joint Israeli, American and European operations rooms, and the French calls to form a coalition against Hamas, Hamas, through the spokesman for the Al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Ubaida, did not demand that any Arab armies, “God forbid”, intervene in the battle, but rather demanded that they bring aid to the besieged people in Gaza.

In conclusion, it is no longer a secret to anyone that the barbaric and genocidal operation that the people of Gaza are subjected to is only part of a war to liquidate the Palestinian cause forever. Israel, the US and their allies in Europe do not hesitate to use religious terminology to give this war a religious character and erase the concept of the Palestinian Liberation Movement.

Based on the above, the most appropriate option today for us, as Muslims and Arabs, is to support the Palestinian people by all means and methods, demand the entry of aid into Gaza, and demonstrate continuously in front of American embassies around the world, as it is a partner to Israel in this war. This is exactly what the Indonesian people in Jakarta and the Mauritanian people in Nouakchott realised when they gathered impressively in front of the two American embassies, demanding an end to the aggression against the Gaza Strip. We ask the Arabs and Muslims to demonstrate at these embassies around the world.

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Disclaimer: Invoking the Crusades in the war against the Gaza Strip - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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