When discussing the “Arab-Israeli conflict,” many, including Obama, are sadly under the disillusion that the heart of the issue is territorial disputes. The idea has some impressive gift wrapping not only because it sounds so simple, because it makes this alleged solution tangible. “Oh, if we give the Palestinians ‘their land’ back, they’ll be content and the hostility towards Israel will dissipate.” And so goes the mentality of the ignorant. Unfortunately, reality unravels it cold, bitter self in a way that would make one cynical. Israel has tried "land for peace" since its inception! The fact that Israel has given away 93% of the disputed territories from the Six Day War does not seem to abate a thing.
In response to the ineffectiveness of the "land for peace" theory, I must say the following. Whether or not it is politically correct to say this is immaterial and is of no concern to me, mostly because I view political correctness as another way for feeble-minded people to stifle any attempt at intellectual growth and prosperity. So here it goes: the root of Palestinian hatred, and thus the root of the Arab-Israeli conflict, is not territorial; it is religious. In case that was not clear enough, let me rephrase: tension in the Middle East is caused by Jew hatred stemming from the Koran. As Hagai Mazus, a PhD that teaches Islamic Studies at Hudson University, points out in his article The Root of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Classic Islamic View of the Jews, this fight goes all the way back to the days of Mohammed. As soon as the Jews of Medina rejected Mohammed in the seventh century, Judeo-Islamic relations have never been the same, which is something Mazus outlines in his second part to his recently-written article where he analyzes Koranic teaches and subsequent application thereof.
This is why the dhimmi status was created, which is a second-class, subservient status given to non-Muslim monotheists that I wrote about a few months back. The status of a dhimmi was never set in stone because it was always contingent upon the success of the ruling caliphate at the time. If all was well, Jews [and Christians] could hold high-ranking positions, although the “stain” of being a dhimmi still existed. If the political scene went sour, you had best look out! In spite of apologists saying that conditions for a Jew were better under Muslim rule than during Christian rule, a fact which, for the most part, I wouldn’t dispute, we seem to forget that this medieval view of the non-believer has consistently been applied throughout Muslim history.
People do not realize, or rather, choose not to realize because of some form of cognitive dissonance, that Islam is inherently fundamentalist, and that anybody who steps out of that mold is a radical within the Islamic world. It is not solely the fundamentalism or the literalism that bothers me here. It is the fact that the Koran shows high levels of acrimony towards non-believers. The enmity is amplified by the Muslims constantly viewing the Jew and any other non-believer with disgust, and not just any disgust, but so much disgust that they even codified the second-class status into its legal corpus. It is sad as it is true, but anti-Semitism is built into the Muslim psyche. If a Muslim decided to abandon anti-Semitism, they would, in effect, be abandoning mainstream Islam. The Muslim who wanted to live peacefully with Jews and other non-believers would either have to abandon Islam as a whole or join Sufism or the Ba'hai faith, neither of which are technically considered to be Islam, even though they have some basis in Islam.
Whether you think that Islamic reformation is possible, that we need to eradicate the [Islamic] enemy, or some solution in between, it all seems irrelevant to discuss at this time. In order to adequately and accurately discuss Middle Eastern politics, we have to first realize the very root of the Arab-Israel conflict is Koranic in nature. Only then can we create measures in which to mitigate the problem.