TROUBLE IN THE HOLY LAND
Italian Muslim cleric
Blames Arafat, Arab leaders for continued Mideast violence
By Jon Dougherty
© 2001 WorldNetDaily.com
As the violence between Israel and Arab guerrilla factions continues
to escalate in the Mideast, a noted Italian Muslim leader and
regional expert has begun a campaign to educate Jews, Arabs and the
rest of the world about key facts regarding the historic animosity
in the region.
Specifically, he told WorldNetDaily in an interview last week,
Israel not only has a right to exist as a nation in the region, but
such a right is evdescribed in the Koran, the Muslim holy book
describing the origins of Islam much like the Bible describes the
origins and manifestations of Christianity.
Sheikh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi, secretary general of the Italian
Muslim Association and Muslim co-chair of the Islam-Israel
Fellowship of the Root and Branch Association -- which promotes the
study and practice of universal Jewish teachings -- said much of
what is known and written about Jews and so-called Palestinians is
And, he said, a Jewish homeland is even described in the Koran,
though little is said about it in the press or in Jewish-Arab
"And thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: 'Dwell securely
in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass,
we will gather you together in a mingled crowd,'" the Koran says in
17:104, The Night Journey.
Palazzi, a Muslim cleric, told WND that one of the most common
misconceptions in the current Arab-Israeli conflict is that in
reality, "there is no such thing as a 'Palestinian.'
"There never was. It is a PR fiction, a Madison Avenue fantasy," he
Also, "There is no 'intifada,' El Aksa or otherwise. There is a
Philistine Authority Pogrom, both against Jews and Arabs, by Arafat
and his thugs. The main victims are the resident Arabs themselves.
There is actually one reference in the Qur'an [Koran] to the
Palestinian People … and that is the Philistines," he said.
Furthermore, the Koran confirms God's covenantal relationship with
the Torah, land and people of Israel, he explained.
Palazzi has called for Israel's continued sovereignty over
Jerusalem, and in recent speeches in Jerusalem, he has noted that
the city's holiness in Islam was derived from two sources: It is the
city of the pre-Islamic biblical prophets also revered by Islam
(King David and King Solomon), and it is the site of the Dome of the
Rock, from which Mohammed ascended to Heaven (the Night Journey).
But as long as "traditional" methods of resolving the current
Israeli-Arab conflict are followed, Palazzi told WND he sees no end
in sight to the current cycles of violence.
"As long as the Israeli government does not learn the sad lesson of
the Oslo trap, does not realize its error in surrendering to a
'Palestinian Authority' in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as long as it
goes on negotiating with the PLO and does not take local pro-Israeli
Arab leaders in due consideration, I see no solution at hand, except
an increase in mischief," Palazzi said.
.Indeed, the cleric's statement has proven prophetic. On Monday,
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in response to an increase in
attacks by Hezbollah and PA-sponsored guerrillas, ordered Israeli
F-16s to conduct strikes against a Syrian army radar station 22
miles east of Beirut, Lebanon.
Three Syrian soldiers were killed in the attack, and several other
civilians were wounded. Sharon said following the attack that as
long as Arab factions continued to step up violence against the
Jewish state, Israel's armed forces would be ordered to respond.
On the issue of a lasting peace in the Mideast, Palazzi said one
could never be achieved as long as Palestinian Authority leader
Yasser Arafat was involved.
"An agreement can be reached between peace-loving Jews and Muslims,
between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, on condition that the state
of Israel does not take PLO leadership as a counterpart for
negotiations anymore, abstains from steps which contribute to make
[the] PLO survive, and patiently wait for the time when local Arabs
will not bear PLO's tyranny and corruption anymore," he told WND.
In the meantime, Israel should unilaterally declare that any further
peace negotiations with Arafat or any of his factions are
effectively over and, in fact, should call for "PLO's
Then, Israeli leaders should "open a discussion which those local
Arab leaders who were not involved in" Arafat's regime in any way,
The Italian Muslim cleric said he didn't necessarily see a wider
regional conflict between Israel and other Arab nations on the
horizon, mostly because Arab leaders are certain they cannot defeat
the Jewish state militarily -- at least at this point.
"I think that the dictators of the contemporary Arab world are using
Israel as a verbal scapegoat for their propaganda, but also that
none of them have either the courage or the will to be involved in a
war which they know will be a sure defeat," he said.
Despite that, Iraq and Syria in recent months have begun to form a
more cohesive alliance, marshalling forces and making more bellicose
statements as the current PA-Israeli conflict enters its seventh
However, Palazzi believes that if any wider conflict does evolve,
it's more likely to come between Arab factions.
"The best timetable I have [for an escalation in violence] is hoping
for Arafat's death, and for the time when PLO dissolves in endless
riots between feudal warlords and micro-criminal gangs," Palazzi
He also believes that a final, lasting peace in the Mideast with
Israel is not in the best interests of current Arab regimes.
"I see that an eventual peace in Middle East will surely be a ruin
for the feudal monarchies of the Gulf, and see that Saudis, Kuwaitis
and most of [the] Arab emirates will spare no effort to fund
anti-peace forces whenever they can," he told WND.
Palazzi, 40, was born in Italy to a Moslem mother whose grandfather
immigrated from Aleppo and an Italian father who converted to Islam.
In Jerusalem last month, he did say there have been some positive
developments in Islam.
The cleric, the Jerusalem Post said March 14, is encouraged by
traditional Islamic views (as opposed to what is today called
"fundamentalist Islam" or "Islamist") coming out of the Muslim
republics of the former Soviet Union.
Jon E. Dougherty is a staff reporter and columnist for
WorldNetDaily, and author of the special report, "Election 2000: How
the Military Vote Was Suppressed."
This is a cache of http://www.cabala.org/articoli/abdul.htm.
Date of original article: APRIL 17, 2001
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