Israel’s religious war

Excerpts from an article Dr. Ahmad Yousef, the Deputy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former political advisor to the prime minister, published in Palestine Chronicle:

The significance of current Likud policy is an official adoption of what the aforementioned parties already advocate – religiously-justified expropriation:

‘According to the legal scholars (leda’at haposkim), any war to conquer sections of the Land of Israel for the purpose of keeping them in our hands (and certainly with the goal of keeping the sections of the Land in which we are already settled) is considered commanded war based on the commandment of the settling of the Land of Israel.’ (1)

Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky who jointly authored Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel note for these religious groups “the blood of non-Jews has no intrinsic value; for Likud, it has limited value.” (2) In fact, fundamentalist beliefs pervade even military manuals. For example, the Central Region Command of the Israeli Army instructs:

‘When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to Halakah [Jewish law] they may and even should be killed…. Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he makes an impression of being civilized…. In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakah to kill even good civilians….’ (3)

The justification for current Israeli strategy is beyond ethnicity, it is religious-cleansing: “[W]hat appears to be confiscation of Arab-owned land for subsequent settlement by Jews is in reality not an act of stealing but one of sanctification. From their perspective the land is redeemed by being transferred from the satanic to the [divine] sphere. (4)

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