5 Facts on the current Middle East conflict between Israel and Palestine

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My name is Sohail Raza and I’m the director of Muslims Facing Tomorrow.

The recent conflict in the Middle East is a tragedy that is taking many human lives.

But does the media give a clear picture and present facts as to what’s really happening? I’m no political analyst, but there are various aspects to this very complicated, yet simple, issue.

I’m outlining five facts that connect pieces of the puzzle, which helps create a better understanding of what’s happening today.

First, Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian National Authority on January 9, 2005 for a four-year term that ended in January 2009. The last elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council were held in 2006. Since then, there have been no elections. Abbas had called elections for May of this year, but he postponed them saying that unless the people of Jerusalem get to vote, the elections won’t take place. Meanwhile, the Palestinians, under the influence of Hamas, had drawn up an alternate list of younger contestants which makes Abbas nervous about losing and frustrates the Palestinians.

Second, the Sheikh Jarrah dispute which has been used as an excuse to inflame tensions in Jerusalem is not new. It has existed since the British were in control of this area and is not something that can be resolved on the streets, but is a land dispute that has to be resolved in court.

Third, the Dome of The Rock or Al Aqsa Mosque: Here is where my personal observation and experience come in. I’ve been to Israel over a dozen times. I’ve performed my Friday prayers in congregation at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. What I’ve observed on all occasions was a fiery lecture from the pulpit where Israel is demonized and emotions whipped up. The prayer ends with Palestinian youth shouting slogans against Israel and creating mob hysteria. So, it is no wonder that during the holiest month of the Muslim calendar the Palestinian Authority used this opportunity to incite Palestinian youth into committing violence just to deflect the cancellation of the elections. Obviously, the results as we’ve seen are not pleasant.

Fourth, Hamas is taking full advantage of the tense situation under guidance and direction from Iran, with Hamas leaders pushing Palestinians to fight full force. Hamas has no qualms about using human shields. What viewers see on TV are “double explosions” without any explanation that these are buildings in which ammunition is stored.

Fifth, where does Iran come into all of this? According to the Iranian regime’s own minister of foreign affairs and the president, Iran is fully committed in supporting the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza. Where do you think Hamas got the capability of shooting hundreds of rockets into the Israeli civilian population each day? All the arms and ammunition are supplied by Iran. It's ironic that the Iranian regime calls USA “the big Satan” and Israel “the small Satan” while it is doing the devil’s work. Iran is also using its proxies under Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen to create a war-like environment.

Israel is now reacting justly in finishing off Hamas’s terroristic and militant capabilities while Hamas tries to overwhelm the Iron Dome with low flying missiles supplied by Iran.

So, although there is pressure from world leaders, this war is not going to end anytime soon.

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