Islamo-Judaic Relations : politically correct mythology – 4 : From departure of Muhammad to Islamist Conquest of Palestine and Syria

Posted on March 1, 2012. Filed under: Antisemitism, Arab, Christians, diaspora, Egypt, exile, Gaza, Historians with political agenda, History, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Israel, Jew, Jihad, Muslims, Palestine, religion, Roman, Syria, terrorism |

From the successful genocide at Khyber and land grab, in the late 620’s until his death, Muhammad tried to expand the reach of his army towards Syria and Palestine. His first attempt with an open declared campaign (for the first time in his life, because previously he had always relied on surprise and deception) against Heraclius was a disaster, and at this time we have reports of increasing dissent against his leadership. So Muhammad renewed his earlier strategy of covert and piecemeal targeting of isolated communities and tribes.

During this phase he was taken ill and passed away, according to the Hadiths, exactly at the time when a new and larger expedition was being planned against the then Byzantine held territories of Syria and Palestine. The expedition did take off, and similar expeditions were then subsequently organized until finally at the Battle of Yarmouk a large Byzantine army was defeated and Heraclius abandoned Syria and Palestine and went back to Constantinople. This is just within 10 years of Khyber. However many cities held out.

Some Bedouin nomadic tribes at this period did hover around in the frontierland between Byzantium and beyond (the southern desert of Palestine, west of the Euphrates (Hira) in the Syrian desert, Palmyra), where for a long time due to the competition with the persians, the Byzantines had come to an arrangement of benefits and payment to enlist the large nomadic Arab tribes as a bulwark against raids from beyond. The arable inner regions and the cities were populated by Aramaic speaking Jews and Christians. The contemporary writings of the Church Fathers and in Talmudic sources show that they had little or no identification/sympathy with the Bedouins (who spoke a different language) and actually were quite hostile because they faced constant raids. [1]

Moshe Gil, [1] quotes surviving sources from the defeated indigenous non-Muslim populations, to show that they

“reflect the attitude of the towns and villages in Palestine quite accurately; the attitude of a sedentary population, of farmers and craftsmen, toward nomads whose source of income is the camel and who frequently attack the towns, pillage and slaughter the inhabitants, and endanger the lives of the wayfarer. These sources completely contradict the argument to the effect that the villagers and townsmen in Palestine accepted the invasion of those tribes bearing the banner of Islam with open arms of their so-called racial affinity.” [This is a copyrighted book, so I cannot quote extensively. Those interested do look up]

The whole Gaza region up to Kaiseria [Caesarea] was sacked and devastated in the campaign of 634. Four thousand Jewish, Christian, and Samaritan peasants who defended their land were massacred. The villages of the Negev were looted. Cities such as Jerusalem, Gaza, Jaffa, Caesarea, Nablus, and Beth Shean were isolated and closed their gates. In his sermon on Christmas day 634 CE, the patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronius, says “the Christians are being forcibly kept in Jerusalem…chained and nailed by fear of the Saracens, whose savage, barbarous and bloody sword kept them locked up in the town”. In 636, Sophronius, [Day of the Epiphany 636], writes of the destruction of the churches and monasteries, the sacked towns, the fields laid waste, the villages burned down by the “nomads” [generic name for Arabs including Islamics whom the Byzantine Christians were yet to recognize as any significant independent faith system] who were overrunning the country. In a letter the same year to Sergius, the patriarch of Constantinople, he mentions the ravages wrought by the Arabs. Thousands of people perished in 639, falling victim to the raids as well as the famine and plague that resulted from these destructions. [2] For Jerusalem, according to one version of the terms of the treaty with the Patriarch for surrender, “Jews” would not be allowed to remain within the city.

According to Baladhuri (d. 892 C.E. – his name also comes up in connection with records of campaigns in Sindh in India), 40,000 Jews [20,000 according to some translations] lived in Caesarea alone at the Arab conquest, after which all trace of them is lost. [3] Tabari further reports that 4000 survivors were taken prisoner and transported out of the region and given as slaves to Muslims in Al-Jurf. [4]

Gil further shows that the period of the conquest was also that of the destruction of the synagogues and churches of the Byzantine era, remnants of which have been turning up in archaeological discoveries. Towns in the western strip and the central strip (the region of the red sand hills and the swamps) in the Sharon, decreased from fifty-eight to seventeen. It is estimated that the erosion of the soil from the western slopes of the Judaean mountains reached as a result of the decultivation during the Muslim period to almost 2,000 to 4,000 cubic meters. The direct evidence of the destruction of agriculture and the desertion of the villages is shown by the fact that the papyri of Nessana are completely discontinued after the year 700. [1]

Similar conclusions have been reached in archaeological analysis with Negev being reduced to a wasteland. Gil has translated these observations by the 10th century Karaite [The rationalist movement within Judaism started by Maimonides] commentator Yefet b. Ali recording that there was great destruction in Palestine and that there were places which remained uninhabited, while there were other places to which people returned and settled:

“the places which were completely destroyed so that no memory of them remains, like Samaria…are the places which have been destroyed and ruined, but despite this there are guards and people living there, such as Hebron and others” [1]

There is no reason to expect, like some of us probably do – that just within 10 years the entire spirit of Badr, Khyber would be forgotten and abandoned by Islamism – all of a sudden when they overrun Palestine.

[1] Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099

[2] Bat Yeor, “Islam and the Dhimmis”, The Jerusalem Quarterly, 1987, Vol. 42,

[3] The origins of the Islamic state, being a translation from the Arabic, accompanied with annotations, geographic and historic notes of the Kitab futuh al-buldan of al-Imam abu-l Abbas Ahmad ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri -p213 [4] Ibid p216-218

Part 3

Part 5

Advertisements

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: