“From the river to the sea and from its northernmost area to its southernmost area, with all its cities and villages and its capital al-Quds – Palestine is an Arab-Islamic land” announced a spokesperson at the end of an international conference of Ulema.
Convened in Lebanon’s famous city Beirut, the meeting was attended by many prominent Muslim scholars, thinkers and activists from around the globe. The communiqué released at the end of the two-day conference, held between 9-10 January 2002, spells out in clear and forthright terms its strong views in support of the Intifada.
Under the theme “SAVING AL-QUDS AND SUPPORTING THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE A COMPULSORY RELIGIOUS ASSIGNMENT AND JIHAD DUTY” the conference supported the right of the Palestinian people to resist occupation and aggression. It affirmed that al-Quds cannot be divided or partitioned and that all Muslims shoulder the responsibility of liberating it in addition to defending and protecting it from ‘judaization’ and from any “schemes to alter its landmarks.”
This warning comes in the wake of persistent nefarious activities by the mass murderer turned President of the settler-colonial state known as Israel – Ariel Sharon. It is all the more timely, because news just received confirm that Sharon’s illegitimate government has defiantly decided to open al-Aqsa to all Jews. The occupation of Palestine includes al-Aqsa – famously referred to as Islam’s third holiest Haram al-Sharif – which the zionist regime, with the active collusion of states such as America and Britain, and the support of powerful Jewish interest groups outside Israel, wishes to obliterate and transform into the Temple Mount.
The conference also supported martyrdom operations – unfairly dubbed as ‘suicide bombers’ by the mainstream press – as “legitimate operations based on the book of Allah and the Sunna of His prophet, peace be upon him.” Its unequivocal endorsement of these operations, which have intensified in recent days despite Yasser Arafat’s efforts to enforce a one-sided ceasefire on behalf of Israel, is on the basis that such martyrdom operations are strategic weapons of resistance that enables the Palestinians to impose a new equation in the light of the existing imbalances. Israel rivals many states in its possession of military arsenal as well as nuclear weapons of mass destruction. As far as Israel’s war against the unarmed Palestinians go, it is usually overlooked that a defenceless civilian population, living in the most abject conditions under military occupation, have to defend themselves against the most ruthless killing machinery deployed against them for over 54 years.
The Conference called on the international community to demand an end to Israeli aggression, rather than insist that the Palestinians give up their weapons of self-sacrifice. It also affirmed the right of the oppressed to seek all available means to obtain arms and ammunition to defend their lives and properties.
Attacking America’s “war on terrorism”, the Ulema categorically rejected US compiled lists of ‘terrorists groups’ which they assert falsely criminalizes “honorable resistance forces” in Lebanon and Palestine along with countries, societies, institutions and individuals bravely supporting resistance.
They declared that such resistance is viewed by them as “the noblest phenomenon in contemporary history.” They singled out Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad as an expression of the “Ummah will.”
(Mr. Iqbal Jasarat is Chairman of the Media Review Network, which is an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa.)