Many people condemn Israeli settlements and call for an economic boycott of their produce, but I saw that it was Arab builders, plumbers, taxi drivers and other workers who maintained Israeli lifestyles. Separatism in the Holy Land has not worked and it is time to end it. How much longer will we punish Palestinians to create a free Palestine?
I abandoned Muslim groupthink and went to Israel because there is a new momentum in the region. Egypt’s former grand mufti, Ali Gomaa, and the prominent scholar Habib Ali al-Jifri, broke ranks with Qaradawi and went to Jerusalem last April. They justified their visit on scriptural grounds, citing the Prophet Muhammad’s encouragement for believers to visit the Holy Land. Their trip was facilitated by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal of Jordan, the principal religious adviser to King Abdullah II.
Muslim leaders in Jerusalem welcomed both men and Palestinian imams called for the end of the Arab boycott on Al Jazeera Arabic and other media outlets. This was a direct challenge to radicals like Qaradawi and his supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo and the Islamist party Ennahda in Tunis. Why do they want to continue the boycott?
Turkey’s free-trade agreement with Israel, which is yielding results for both countries, Jordan’s cordial relations with the Jewish state, and the new show of leadership from two prominent scholars shows us that not all Arabs and Muslims are dedicated to confrontation.