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Israel: This is not a land conflict but a battle for the soul of humanity

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Donna Rachel Edmunds files her notes from Jersulem, where she lives, exclusively  for TCW.

JERUSALEM: A storm whipped up in Jerusalem today – literally, that is: the skies darkened as high winds roughly shook the trees, adding to the sense of foreboding that lies like a heavy blanket across the city. The streets are empty, the buses running on half service as drivers and vehicles alike have been deployed elsewhere to help with the war effort. 

Most shops, bars and restaurants are shut. It’s eerie, like Covid lockdown, particularly as this is new for Israel – past wars and intifadas didn’t stop normal life like this. No one is sure why this time is different. Maybe it’s because Israel has never been caught offguard this way before.

People are muttering ‘How could it happen?’ and asking why the army took so long to respond, but mostly they’re hoping things will return to normal as soon as possible. This is especially true of those in tourism and hospitality who were on the brink of getting back on their financial feet after Covid. The tourists were only just starting to return in decent numbers. 

Sometime mid-morning I stopped obsessively hitting refresh on the media live feeds; the full scale of Saturday’s atrocity is now clear. New and ever worse acts of terror threaten. What isn’t clear, however, is what comes next on the wider front. Was this just an opening salvo? Or are Hamas’s and Iranian threats of an uprising in the West Bank or the threat of Hezbollah carrying out a full-scale assault on the northern border, merely more bluster, of the type we’ve grown used to? Moods keep swinging between defiantly light-hearted and sombre concern. Certainly where I’m sitting, about a mile from East Jerusalem where people regularly let off rounds of gunfire to celebrate weddings, the feeling is very much one of nervous anticipation.

But while the nation holds its breath, what is felt to be certain is that, once again, what starts with the Jews will not end with the Jews. 

As disturbing as the images from Israel’s south are, equally alarming are the images from across the world showing pro-Palestinian factions chanting ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ – a call for the wholesale ethnic cleansing of Israel’s Jews, and the total destruction of the State of Israel. There are two million Arabs in Israel, the majority of whom are Muslims. There are no Jews in Gaza, or Iran, or Iraq, or Lebanon, or Yemen. 

What most (not all!) Israelis understand, but the rest of the world yet does not, is that this conflict is not about land. It can’t be resolved by carving up the territory into two separate states. Hamas’s demands aren’t for full control of the Gaza enclave – they already have full control of it, and have done since 2007 when they overthrew PLO rule in the strip and installed themselves as dictators. 

(And no, Gaza is not an open air prison camp. It is not the most densely populated area on the planet. It is not under siege. It shares a border with Egypt as well as with Israel. If the Palestinians wanted, they could have created a prosperous territory, like Singapore. Instead they trashed the state of the art greenhouses and agricultural equipment left behind by the Jewish communities who were forcibly evicted in 2005 and turned the land into a launch pad for rockets. The only reason there is a fence around Gaza at all is to protect Israelis. The events of Saturday have proven why this is required.)

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad don’t want a Palestinian state of their own alongside the Jewish state. As difficult as it is for Westerners to fathom, this is a religious war. Hamas and PIJ, like ISIS, are religious fanatics, the modern equivalent of Europe’s Crusaders, fully armed with state-of-the-art weapons. 

Don’t take my word for it, here’s what senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar said on Al-Masirah TV last December: ‘When we speak about the Army of Jerusalem and the Battle of the Promise of the Hereafter, we are not talking about liberating our land alone. We believe in what our Prophet Muhammad said: “Allah drew the ends of the world near one another for my sake, and I have seen its eastern and western ends. The dominion of my nation would reach those ends that have been drawn near me”.

‘The entire 510million square kilometres of Planet Earth will come under [a system] where there is no injustice, no oppression, no treachery, no Zionism, no treacherous Christianity, and no killings and crimes, like those being committed against the Palestinians, and against the Arabs in all the Arab countries – in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and other countries.’

Did you catch that? No Zionism – and no Christianity

In the last few days, there have been a few comments on Twitter/X and elsewhere to the effect of: ‘Why is the West getting dragged into this? What does a Middle Eastern land conflict have to do with us?’ 

The answer is simple: if this were a Middle Eastern land conflict, it would have nothing to do with you. But it isn’t. It’s an existential conflict for the very soul of humanity itself. Make no mistake, if Israel is overwhelmed by Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, it won’t stop there. Those people chanting in Birmingham for a ‘free Palestine’ on Sunday will happily chant for a ‘free Britain’ tomorrow, by which they will mean a Britain entirely subjugated by an Islamic caliphate. 

What starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews. 

Editor’s note I have been alerted to one small error in the article. Curiously, there are still about 10,000 Jews left in Iran. The countries where there are none are Egypt, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Algeria. And countries like Morocco and Tunisia which (like Iraq) had quite large Jewish communities until 1948 have only a few hundred left.

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Donna Rachel Edmunds
Donna Rachel Edmunds
Donna Rachel Edmunds is a former Breitbart London journalist. She now writes on Substack at How to Survive the Apocalypse.

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