MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, JAKARTA – The long-standing conflict between Palestine and the State of Israel has its roots in historical events dating back to the 20th century. Notably, it traces back to the division of Palestinian territory by the United Nations in 1947, a decision that followed the 1917 Balfour Declaration.
Following the Balfour Declaration, the British government facilitated the immigration of hundreds of thousands of Jews to the Palestinian territories. This move included providing military support to Jewish settlers during the Palestinian resistance in 1939. Bloody conflicts have been waged asymmetrically and structurally by the Zionists against the Palestinians since the establishment of the Zionist state of Israel in 1948.
In light of these historical insights, Abdul Mu’ti, the General Secretary of Muhammadiyah, emphasized that the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians should not be framed as a religious confrontation between Muslims and Jews. Instead, it is fundamentally a political conflict in which many Jews also oppose Israeli Zionism.
“We should make it clear that this is a political conflict concerning territorial struggles between Palestinians and Israelis. It’s a situation that the international community labels Israel’s actions as occupation or aggression against Palestinian territories,” said Mu’ti.
In the AWM Weekly Halaqah (forum) on “Palestine-Israel Reconciliation: A Religious Perspective” on Friday (October 27), Mu’ti mentioned that the bloody conflict between Palestine and Israel is far from a simplistic, black-and-white battle between Islam and Judaism.
Data in 2022 revealed that in Israel, the Muslim population comprised 17% or approximately 1.5 million people. Meanwhile, the Palestinians who are victims of Zionism are not only Muslims but also Jews, Christians, and traditional religious believers such as the Druze.
“Framing this as a war between Islam and Judaism could exacerbate tensions worldwide, which is something we genuinely wish to avoid,” said Mu’ti.
“So far, I’ve observed a tendency in society where people tend to be 100% in support of Hamas, Palestine, or Israel, and they blame one another.”
Paths to Peace and Reconciliation
Despite the ongoing and protracted nature of this conflict, Mu’ti remains hopeful that reconciliation and lasting peace can be achieved. Civil society is leading various cultural diplomacy initiatives to promote mutual understanding and brotherhood among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Some noteworthy initiatives include Common Ground, Kalimatun Sawa’, and Son of Ibrahim.
“It is pertinent to consider how non-religious communities can play a pivotal role in fostering harmony among these diverse groups through non-military and non-political means,” said Mu’ti.
In a deliberate move to avoid reductive views of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Mu’ti encourages individuals to prioritize rationality, objectivity, and the tenets of civil discourse over emotionally charged responses.
“Ensuring the safety of civilian populations and public infrastructure is of utmost importance, even in times of armed conflict. This requires a collective commitment to universally recognized principles that demand the use of peaceful dialogue and civilized actions to mitigate existing tensions. By aligning with these principles, we can seek effective, non-violent solutions,” said Mu’ti.
“It is unlikely to achieve a peaceful resolution without international pressure on Israel to end occupations, actions to stop the war, and civil society voices in dialogue,” said Mu’ti.