Well, Hamas, Since You Brought The Subject Up…
by Gerald A. Honigman
Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar gave an interview
which aired on Al-Manar TV on January 25, 2006.
Among other things, he stated:
In this region we have faced Roman occupation,
Persian occupation, Crusader occupation, British occupation - they are all gone.
The Israeli enemy does not belong to the region. It does not belong to the
region's history, geography, or faith.
Irresistible… Typical figments of that legendary
Arab imagination at work again.
But repeat a lie enough times and the
ignorant--whether innocent or not so--will accept it. So, allow me the pleasure
to burst the bubble.
Let’s start with the assertion of how alleged Arab
aboriginals--not Jews--faced Roman occupation in “Palestine.” And rather than
relying on Zionist sources, let’s let those Roman and Persian occupiers al-Zahar
mentions speak for themselves.
There was no country or nation known as
"Palestine" during the Roman occupation. In fact, there was never an Arab
country of Palestine. The land was known back then as Judaea and its
inhabitants were Judaeans...
Tacitus, Dio Cassius, and
Josephus were famous Roman and/or Roman-sponsored historians who wrote
extensively about Judaea's attempt to remain free from the Soviet Union of its
day, the conquering Roman Empire. They lived and wrote during, or not long
after, the two major revolts of the Jews for independence in 66-73 C.E. and
133-135 C.E. They make no mention of this land being called "Palestine" or its
people "Palestinians." And as can be seen below, they knew the differences
between Jews and Arabs as well and exposed Hamas’ predecessors for the vultures
that they were and are, jumping on the Roman bandwagon to gain a share of the
Listen carefully to this quote from Vol. II, Book
V, The Works of Tacitus :
Titus was appointed by his father to complete
the subjugation of Judaea... he commanded three legions in Judaea itself... To
these he added the twelfth from Syria and the third and twenty-second from
Alexandria... amongst his allies were a band of Arabs, formidable in themselves
and harboring towards the Jews the bitter animosity usually subsisting between
Some things change, some things never change. What
really needs to change is Israel exchanging helicopters for bombers in its
dealings with the butchers of its innocents. But I’m jumping ahead, so let’s
return to the Roman occupation…
After the 1st Revolt, Rome issued thousands of
Judaea Capta coins which can be seen today in museums all over the world.
Notice, please... Judaea Capta... not Palaestina Capta.
Hear that al-Zahar?
Additionally, to celebrate this victory, the
towering Arch of Titus was erected showing Roman legionnaires carrying away the
giant menorah, other spoils of the Jewish Temple (which Arabs deny ever
existed), and Judaean captives. It stands tall in Rome to this very day. I’m
surprised Arabs haven’t tried to blow it up yet as they destroyed thousands of
Jewish graves, synagogues, and the like in Israel to try to eradicate the
age-old Jewish presence. Not that I want to give them any ideas…
When, some sixty years later, Emperor Hadrian
decided to further desecrate the site of the destroyed Temple of the Jews by
erecting a pagan structure there, it was the grandchildren's turn to take on
their mighty conquerors.
Listen next to this quote from Dio Cassius:
580,000 men were slain, nearly the whole of
Judaea made desolate. Many Romans, moreover, perished in this war (the Bar
Kochba Revolt). Therefore Hadrian, in writing to the Senate, did not employ the
opening phrase commonly affected by the emperors, ' I and the legions are in
Judaea, al-Zahar…not Palaestina.
Roman sources, al-Zahar…not
The Emperor was so enraged at the Jews' struggle
for freedom in their own land that, in the words of the esteemed modern
historian, Bernard Lewis, "Hadrian made a determined attempt to stamp out
the embers not only of the revolt but also of Jewish nationhood and statehood...
obliterating its Jewish identity."
Wishing to end, once and for all, Jewish
hopes, Hadrian renamed the land itself from Judaea to "Syria Palaestina" --
Palestine -- after the Jews' historic enemies, the Philistines, a
non-Semitic sea people from the eastern Mediterranean or Aegean
So, sorry Hamas & Co....trying to hijack the
Philistines’ identity as your Arab brethren have done with airplanes and have
constantly tried to do with that of the Jews won't work either.
Palestine became largely "Arab" the same way that
most of the almost two dozen states that call themselves "Arab" today did...by
the conquest, occupation, settlement, and forced Arabization of other native,
non-Arab peoples and their lands...Berbers, Copts, Assyrians, Black Africans,
Jews, Kurds, native Semitic but largely non-Arab Lebanese, and so forth.
Muhammad and his successors' imperial caliphal armies burst out of the Arabian
Peninsula in the 7th century C.E. in all directions spreading Arabism and the
Dar ul-Islam by the sword. And any and all who resisted subjugation
and/or becoming part of what Arabs like to call today “purely Arab patrimony”
were eliminated. Think of earlier variations of the Arabs' modern day gassings
of Kurds, genocide against and enslavement of black Africans, murder of
Copts, Jews, and Berbers, and so forth.
As I’ve often written before, imperialism is only
deemed nasty by Arabs when they themselves are not indulging in it.
Al-Zahar next spoke of the Persian occupation in
the early 7th century C.E.
Let’s listen to what Euthychius, the Patriarch of
Alexandria (and certainly also no Zionist), had to say about this in his book of
history, the Annals of Euthychius I, 216...
The Persian commander went to Damascus and
destroyed the land, and the Jews from Tiberias, Hebron, Nazareth, and Tyre
gathered together to help the Persians…the Jews of Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias,
Damascus and Cyprus came together until they numbered an army of 20,000 and came
to Tyre to destroy it.
Keep in mind that this was centuries after the
Roman decimation of the Jews in their land and the onset of the Great
Of course prior to these events, unquestionable
archaeological and historical corroboration from other “non-Zionist” sources
testifies to the Jewish presence in the land and region for numerous centuries
prior to the Roman occupation.
So much for Hamas’ wishful thinking--or just plain
lies--regarding the alleged non-Jewish connection to the region via history and
Let’s move on to al-Zahar’s comments about the
alleged non-connection of the Jews’ faith to the region.
Putting it bluntly, when Hamas’ ancestors were
still practicing fertility rites and worshipping idols of different sorts and
dimensions, over two thousand years before the Prophet of Islam was born, the
Jews were introducing the G_d of Eternity to the world from that very region.
The Qur’an itself is filled with such references to the Children of
When Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, fled Mecca to
Medina in 622 C.E. (the Hijrah), the inhabitants welcomed him.
Medina had been developed centuries earlier as a
thriving date palm oasis by Jews fleeing the Roman assault (the banu-Qurayzah
and banu-al-Nadir tribes, etc.), and its mixed population of Jews and pagan
Arabs had thus become conditioned for a native prophet speaking the word of
Muhammad learned much from the Jews.
While the actual timing of his decision on the
direction of prayer may never be known, during his long sojourn with the Jews of
Medina, his followers were instructed to pray towards Jerusalem.
Early prominent Arab historians such as Jalaluddin
came right out and stated that this was done primarily as an attempt to win
support among the influential Jewish tribes (the "People of the Book") for
Muhammad's religio-political claims.
It is from the Temple Mount of the Jews in
Jerusalem that Muslims believe Muhammad ascended to Heaven on his winged horse.
A mosque, the Dome of the Rock, would later be erected on this Jewish holy site
after the Arabs’ own imperial conquest of the land in the 7th century C.E.
You see, despite Arab figments and distortions of
the truth such as those spouted by Hamas, there is no doubt among objective
scholars that the Jews of the region had an enormous impact on both
Muhammad and the faith that he founded.
In fact, the holy sites for Muslims in Jerusalem
(i.e. the mosques erected on the Temple Mount of the Jews) are now deemed "holy"
only precisely because of the critical years Muhammad spent after the
Hijrah with the Jews.
The Temple Mount had no prior meaning to pagan
While there was some early Christian influence as
well, intense scholarship has shown that the faith spelled out in the
Holy Law (Halacha) and Holy Scriptures of the Jews had a
tremendous influence on the Qur’an, Islamic Holy Law (Shari'a), and so
Muhammad's "Jerusalem connection" was most likely
not established until after his extended stay with his Jewish hosts. Understand
that this was no mere coincidence...Muslim religious beliefs regarding
Muhammad's conversations with the Angel Gabriel and the like notwithstanding.
When the Jews refused to recognize Muhammad as the
"Seal of the Prophets," he turned on them with a vengeance. Before long, with
the exception of Yemen, there were virtually no Jews left on the Arabian
Peninsula. And the direction of prayer was changed away from Jerusalem and
towards the Kaaba in Mecca instead...
Some six centuries ago, Ibn Khaldun was one
of the world's most important thinkers and is perhaps the greatest scholar
the Islamic world has ever produced. He was also a Zionist.
In The Muqaddimah, he devoted much
time and effort to the evolution and development of the Jewish nation, its early
struggles with its adversaries, and its later fight for freedom with the mighty
Roman Empire and its consequences. He then followed this with an analysis of the
Jews' tragic condition of powerlessness throughout subsequent generations.
The Muqaddimah emphasizes that the Jews
were forced to wander in the desert for forty years due to their "meekness." Ibn
Khaldun stressed that this was necessary so that a new generation would arise
with a new, more powerful 'asabiyah (group feeling). The Zionism Arabs
condemn today was just the prescription Ibn Khaldun was calling for.
At a time when homicidal Arabs, like al-Zahar, are
demanding their 22nd state and second, not first, one in the
original 1920 borders of the Palestine Mandate ( Jordan created by the British
in 1922 on some 80% of the latter, and most others having been created by the
conquest of non-Arab peoples and their lands), chances are more than good that
this great Muslim scholar would have approved and viewed the resurrection of
Israel as an answer to the unique plight of perpetually victimized, stateless
Jews...the end of an even more tragic and extensive wandering and period of
meekness and powerlessness in the desert Ibn Khaldun spoke of so eloquently six
hundred years earlier.
While much more evidence could be included to
expose the Arabs’ lies, I’ve covered this nicely in many of my other writings.
Check them out at www.geraldahonigman.com
Besides, if I cover too much now, I’ll cut out the fun for later…
It’s now Spring training time for baseball here in
Florida. And regarding Hamas’ assertions regarding the Jews’ alleged
non-connections to the region vis-à-vis history, geography,
It’s one, two, three strikes and you’re
And as a footnote, with elections just around the
corner, Israel needs to get itself leaders who will truly know how to deal
with Mahmoud al-Zahar’s murderous disembowelers of its children…and
then act on it.
Gerald A. Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive
doctoral studies in Middle Eastern Affairs. He has created and
conducted counter-propaganda programs for college youth, has
lectured on numerous university campuses and other platforms,
and has publicly debated many anti-Israel spokesmen. His
articles and op-eds have been published in hundreds of
newspapers, magazines, academic journals and websites around the
world. His official website is:
Our special thanks to the author for submitting this article.
A. G. S.