By David Meir-Levi
On May 10th, 1994, just a few months after signing the Oslo Accords (September, 1993), Yasir Arafat addressed an assembly of Muslims in a Johannesburg mosque where he justified his actions by explaining: “This agreement, I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our prophet Muhammad and Quraysh.” And he concluded by calling on the worshipers “to come and to fight and to start the jihad to liberate Jerusalem.”
What did those words mean?
Muhammad signed a 10-year truce with the Arabian pagan Quraysh tribe in the city of Mecca (the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, 628 AD). At the beginning of the second year of that ten-year period he found a pretext to justify breaking the truce. He pounced on the Quraysh in a surprise attack, conquered Mecca and defeated the Quraysh, who were not prepared for more hostilities since they were honoring the 10-year accord and assumed that Muhammad was too. Since then this agreement between Muhammad and the Quraysh has been an example for Muslims world-wide of how to trick the enemy in wartime. In other words, Arafat explained to his Muslim audience that he gave his word to President Clinton and Yitzhak Rabin, and signed the Oslo Accords, only because he planned to annul his commitments and attack Israel as soon as it was expedient for him to do so. He lied to Clinton and Rabin; but once he was out from under the scrutiny of western media and in the comfort of a Muslim group whose support he could assume, he told the truth to his Muslim audience. He was not aware that his speech was recorded.
Arafat’s lies to Clinton and Rabin were an excellent example of a 1,400 year old Muslim tradition of Taqiyya: tricking the enemy in wartime by offering a false peace or truce, but preparing to attack once the enemy lets down its guard.
Taqiyya (lit. ‘caution’) denotes the deceit or dissimulation used by Shiites, who may lie and even commit blasphemous acts to conceal their religion when they are under threat of persecution from majority Sunnis. It has long been used in its other manifestation, as an integral part of Muslim military strategy, employing trickery and deceit to mislead the enemy (for a detailed discussion see John Esposito’s The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Oxford University Press, 2003).
The Qur’an in a variety of verses (2:225, 3:28, 3:54, 9:3, 16:106, 40:28, and 66:2) establishes the religious legitimacy of breaking oaths, lying, unilaterally violating treaties, and generally scheming against non-Muslims. Allah Himself is described as “the best of schemers” (3:54, 8:30, 10:21), and Muhammad declared, as a justification for murdering unarmed prisoners after offering them safe passage, “war is deceit” (see the Hadith collection of Bukhari, vol. 4, book 52, nos. 268-271). So during the negotiations of Oslo I and II, Arafat’s willingness to acquiesce to Israeli demands was merely his acting as a good Muslim warrior, using taqiyya, deceit in warfare, to put his enemy at a disadvantage.
Arafat’s taqiyya began long before Oslo. For decades he told the West that he was just a scruffy little guy doing his best to keep his rough-neck boys (Fatah, the PLO, the el-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Hamas, inter alia) under control so that he could make peace with Israel; even as he called in Arabic for a million martyrs to march on Jerusalem to destroy Israel and create their “Palestine…from the river to the sea”. Similarly he told the west that he was trying to rein in Hamas and enforce the ban on terrorism to which he had agreed in the Oslo Accords. Yet, as became apparent when Israel invaded his muqata (military compound) in Ramallah during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, and translated thousands of documents taken from his files and computers, he in reality had partnered with Hamas, funded Hamas, armed Hamas, and aided in Hamas’ terrorism. Far too many in the West fell for his “good cop – bad cop” act.
Hamas too uses the taqiyya ruse at will, frequently telling the West that it really wants peace, but reminding its followers in Arabic that they must continue the ‘struggle’ (the terror war against Israel) until victory or martyrdom.
Examples of taqiyya are endless. To the west the PA explains its refusal to negotiate with Israel as a result of Israel’s settlement construction. But the reality is revealed inthe Palestine Strategy Group’s 2009 proposal for a strategy of “intelligent resistance” (i.e., the priority of law fare, boycott campaigns and other anti-Israel propaganda over terrorism) as a means of continuing the struggle against Israel.
Fatah leader, Abbas Zaki, has repeatedly revealed the duplicity of the PA leaders. On April 9th 2008 he told NBN TV the following: “The PLO has not changed its platform even one iota….The PLO proceeds through phases…..Allah willing we will drive them out of all of Palestine.” The following year he revealed on Lebanese TV: “When we say that the settlement should be based upon these (1967) borders, President (Abbas) understands, we understand, and everybody knows, that the greater goal (destruction of Israel) cannot be accomplished in one go. If Israel withdraws from Jerusalem, evacuates the 650,000 settlers and dismantles the wall – what will become of Israel? It will come to an end.” He then cautioned his listeners: “It is not acceptable policy to say that we want to wipe Israel out. Don’t say these things to the world, keep it to yourself.”
Mahmoud Abbas in an interview with European reporters (December, 2011) insisted that the PA’s unification with Hamas did not threaten the so-called “peace process:” ”We set the agreement’s pillars, and Hamas agreed with us that resistance will be popular and adopt peaceful ways, rather than military resistance.” But when Hamas celebrated its 23th anniversary in Gaza the same week (14 Dec 2011), Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh called upon the Muslim Brotherhood to start a war to liberate Jerusalem: “We affirm that armed resistance is our strategic option and the only way to liberate our land, from the (Mediterranean) sea to the River (Jordan.) God willing, Hamas will lead the people… to the uprising until we liberate Palestine, all of Palestine”.
Palestinian Media Watch recently published “Deception: Betraying the Peace Process,” which documents the hate-speech, hate-preach and hate-teach promoted by PA officials and Arab media, and the manner in which they lie about it to the west. The book, recently reviewed in the NY Times (but see here for a very harsh but accurate critique of the reviewer’s minimization of the PA’s strategy of deceit), lists many examples of deceit.
Despite its public pronouncements in English, the PA glorifies terrorists, libels Israel and promotes a culture of violence. Palestinian Authority television programs, including those on children’s quiz shows, portray cities along Israel’s Mediterranean coast, like Haifa, Jaffa and Acre, as being part of “Palestine.” Some news reports refer to Israel as the Palestinian interior.
A constant theme is the Palestinian denial of any Jewish historic or religious connection to Jerusalem or the Holy Land (see here for a summary and rebuttal of this Israel-denial).
A most recent example of Israel-denial is an op-ed in the Washington Post (12.21.2011) by the PA’s political representative in Washington, in which he promotes a series of fantasy assertions that Palestinians lived in Jericho 10,000 years ago, that Jews and Arabs lived in harmony until 1948, that Israel is to blame for Arab terrorism, and that the PA today has agreed to a two-state solution (for an accurate discussion of this new taqiyya, the invention of Palestinian ancient history, see here).
It is nothing more than common sense that deception of the enemy during war is a commendable tactic and an important part of an effective military strategy. But in the context of war with Muslim powers, there is a critical difference that must be taken into consideration: jihad is eternal and “The duty of the jihad exists as long as the universal domination of Islam has not been attained. Peace with non-Muslim nations is, therefore, a provisional state of affairs only.” Therefore, every truce, treaty or cease-fire agreement made by a Muslim entity with a non-Muslim entity is nothing more than a treaty made to be broken, as soon as the Muslim side finds it useful to do so. This being the case, the most frightening aspect of Palestinian taqiyya is that our own leaders are repeatedly deceived by it, or worse, turn a blind eye to it. Recall that taqiyya is a strategy of deceit against adversaries in wartime. By making taqiyya such a major part of their strategy, PA leaders and Hamas demonstrate that, rather than trying to make peace, they are engaged in continuous war against Israel. So much for the peace process.
A Catholic anecdote says that Satan’s greatest victory was getting the world to believe that he did not exist. Did Satan learn about taqiyyeh from Allah, or the opposite?