06 August 2009

Aesthetic Metaphor to Counter the Fatah General Assembly's Rejection of Peace

All peace processes and road maps are doomed to failure because the Arab world’s refusal to accept a Jewish state in its midst is an aesthetic problem rather than a political one.

A New Islamic Metaphor for Peace is Needed
In Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s July article in The Washington Post, he asks: “To this day, I cannot understand why the Palestinian leadership did not accept the unprecedented proposal I offered them. It included a solution to all outstanding issues: territorial compromise, security, Jerusalem and refugees. It would be worth exploring the reason that the Palestinians rejected my offer.” This is the reason, Mr. Olmert: without a perceptual shift and new metaphor for peace, no Arab will rest content with Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people existing in the Middle East.

Islamic art and thought can provide an alternative to viewing Israel as the alien presence that the Arabs have continually tried to eliminate through war, terrorism, and political action. Genuine peace can be achieved through a perceptual shift in which Israel is perceived as a realization of Islamic aesthetic values. Peace will come through a new metaphor through which Muslims see the State of Israel as a blessing expressing Allah’s will rather than as an unbearable blemish in the heart of the Arab world. Perhaps, thinking out of the box from a fresh aesthetic viewpoint can succeed in bringing peace where politics has failed. The Peres Center for Peace proposes that art and creativity can inspire new approaches and create new metaphors to transform attitudes fixed in old patterns of mutual mistrust and prejudice.

A Jewish State in the Land of Israel 1,600 Years before Islam
The Arabs reject the fact that Israel is the only nation among the 21 countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea where its people still speak the same language, follow the same religion, celebrate the same holidays, and live by the same calendar that it did more than 3000 years ago. When King Solomon ruled in Judea, the Arabs were primitive pagan tribes in the Arabian Desert. Islam was founded and its warriors invaded the Land of Israel 1,600 years after King David moved the capital of the Jewish state from Hebron to Jerusalem.

Fatah Joins Hamas in Calling for the Extermination of Israel
Denying Israel as the historic homeland of the Jewish people was forcefully reiterated by the so called “moderate” Fatah in its General Assembly in Bethlehem when it called for the “objection by force to all political solutions that are offered as an alternative to the extermination of the Zionist entity.” The desperate need to obliterate the Jewish presence in their midst is also stated in the Hamas charter: “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims…. Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them…. I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill."
What does Fatah mean when they disingenuously talk of “two states for two peoples” hoodwinking the Americans and Europeans so that they parrot their mantra? Since Fatah refuses to acknowledge the right of the Jews to a state of their own, who are the other people? In the Fatah Assembly’s call for a strategic alliance with Iran is now clear that Fatah has joined Hamas, the front-line Iranian proxy army that has been testing the waters of world opinion by launching thousands of rockets into Israel as a prelude to an Iranian atomic bomb annihilating Israel.

Netanyahu and Obama Set Parameters for Peace
Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama set the parameters to overcome decades of hostility and lead to peace. Netanyahu’s first principle is the need for explicit Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. Obama rightly sees that the war between Palestinian Arabs and Jews can only come to an end within the framework of a regional peace that involves all the Arabs states. Both these two crucial parameters can be realized with a perceptual shift and fresh metaphor derived from Islamic aesthetics.

Art is a Mirror of Culture
Historian of Islamic art, Elisabeth Siddiqui, writes that art is the mirror of a culture and its worldview. She emphasizes that there is no case to which this statement more directly applies than to the art of the Islamic world. “Not only does its art reflect its cultural values, but even more importantly, the way in which its adherents, the Muslims, view the spiritual realm, the universe, life, and the relationships of the parts to the whole.”

The repetitive geometric patterns in Islamic art teach Arabs to see their world as a continuous uninterrupted pattern that extends across North Africa and the Middle East. They see Israel as a blemish that disrupts the pattern. From this perspective, Israel is viewed as an alien presence that the Palestinian Authority television calls a “cancer in the body of the Arab nation.”

A Perceptual Shift Derived from Islamic Art
Fortunately, the perceptual shift needed to lead to genuine peace can be found in Islamic art where a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern that demonstrates human creation as less than perfect. Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug weavers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs. Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Imam of the Italian Muslim community who holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences by decree of the Saudi Grand Mufti, explains why the idea of including some voluntary counter-pattern in works of art is common in Islamic art, and extends to tapestry, painting, music, and architecture. Devout Muslim women who weave rugs would not be so arrogant as to attempt a perfect rug since such perfection only belongs to Allah. Consequently, they deliberately break each rug’s patterning as a mark of their humility.

The Islamic World Needs Israel to Realize Its Values
Peace can be achieved when the Islamic world recognizes that they need Israel to realize its own religious values. Israel provides the break in the contiguous Islamic world extending from Morocco to Pakistan. Accepting the Jewish State as the necessary counter-pattern demonstrates humility and abrogates arrogance before Allah and honors the diversity evident in all of God’s creations. The ingathering of the Jewish people into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Mohammed’s prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): “And we said to the Children of Israel, ‘scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world is near we will gather you again into the Promised Land.”

Sheikh Palazzi quotes from the Koran, Sura 5:20-21, to support the Arab world’s need to switch their viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews over the Land of Israel as the will of Allah: “Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you.”

Jews are the Indigenous People of the Land of Israel
According to the Imam, Islam’s holiest book confirms what every Jew and Christian who honors the Bible knows: The Land of Israel was divinely deeded to the Children of Israel. The Jews are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel who have continuously lived there for more three millennia despite the conquests of numerous imperialist empires. Jews are from Judea. Arabs are from Arabia. The Arabs are blessed with 21 other countries.

A paradigm shift can transform the perception of Israel as a blemish to seeing it as a tiny golden seed from which a lush green Islamic tree has germinated and spread its roots and branches across North Africa and the Middle East.

Israel as a Blessing for the Muslim World
Professor Khaleed Mohammed, expert in Islamic law, explains: “As a Muslim, when I read 5:21 and 17:104 in the Quran, I can only say that I support that there must be an Israel. The Quran adumbrates the fight against tyranny and oppression, using the Children of Israel as an example, indeed as the prime example.” Tashibih Sayyed, Editor-in-Chief of Muslim World Today writes: “I consider the creation of the Jewish State as a blessing for the Muslims. Israel has provided us an opportunity to show the world the Jewish state of mind in action, a mind that yearns to be free…. The Jewish traditions and culture of pluralism, debate, acceptance of dissension and difference of opinion have manifested themselves in the shape of the State of Israel to present the oppressed Muslim world with a paradigm to emulate.”

An Islamic Metaphor to Usher in an Era of Peace
Peace will come from a fresh Islamic metaphor in which the Arabs see Israel’s existence as Allah’s will. A shift in viewpoint where Israel is perceived as a blessing, as the necessary counter-pattern in the overall pattern of the Islamic world, will usher in an era of peace. Peace will come when the Islamic world recognizes that Israel as the national state of the Jewish people is the realization of its own values.

No comments: