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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

Unholy War: America, Israel and Radical Islam

By Randall Price
Harvest House Publishers, 446 pp, 2001

Odd are you haven't seen this book at your local bookstore, despite its obvious relevance. That's because the author, who holds a Ph.D in Middle Easter Studies, has lived in Jerusalem and studied at the Hebrew University, is a Christian. So, even if the major chain stores carry the book, it's hidden away with the other religious titles.

That's a shame, because Price does something few in the media bother to. He critically examines the claims made by both sides in the Middle East conflict, and determines which is true. You don't get that from the press today. The anchors breathlessly relate the latest carnage or atrocity, or parrot the propaganda line by both sides, but completely fail at informing their audience of the historical and religious context. That leaves us all ignorant and unable to reach an informed opinion. This book fills a yawning void that shouldn't exist.

Anyway, Price begins by rehashing the events of 2001, including the WTC and Pentagon attack. The first few chapters are the weakest part of the book and tells us nothing new.

Price hits his stride when he spends the rest of the book delving into the history of the conflict, going back to Biblical times, and showing what impact it has on today's events. 

For example, citing historical texts and quotations, he makes the following assertions:

  • The Palestinians are a relatively modern invention, and have not occupied the land for a thousand years, as they claim. The Jewish claim on the Holy Land is far stronger.
  • Jerusalem is indeed a holy city for the Jews but only recently, in the last 50 years or so, have Muslims claimed the city as their own. Jerusalem is mentioned nowhere in the Koran.
  • Palestinians claim that the Temple Mount, site of the sacred Jewish Temple from the days of Solomon, hold no archaeological evidence of Jewish influence, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, and despite Muslims who claimed the opposite 60 years ago.
  • Muslims today reject any evidence that Jerusalem is sacred to Jews, despite the fact that earlier Muslims, and even Mohammed himself, recognized Jerusalem as sacred to Jews.
  • The present goal of Yassir Arafat remains, just as it was when he formed the PLO in 1964, the destruction of Israel with a Palestinian state in its place. He cites Arafat reconfirming this as recently as 1996, three years after he promised peace at Oslo.
  • The supposed Palestinian "right of return" is nothing more than a propaganda tool. Most Arabs who left Israel after it was founded and after the Six Day War did so at the command of the neighboring Arab countries, who promised they could return after the Arab armies destroyed Israel.
  • Finally, Islam is not a religion of peace, but is actually part of the problem, because the Koran teaches that all people must submit to Islam, that no Islamic country can make a permanent peace with a non-Islamic one, that Muslims can lie to non-Muslims, and any land once occupied by Muslims, no matter how it was acquired or how long it was held, belongs to Muslims for all eternity and no other religious people can live there.

His claims are controversial but thoroughly documented. You may think he is merely a supporter for Israel, and biased against the Palestinians. To me, as long as his claims hold up, it doesn't matter. The truth is the truth.

This is the first book I've read about the Middle East, and to broaden my knowledge, and test Price's claims, I'll read more. But I urge everyone to get familiar with what's going on over there, so you can come to your own conclusion, rather than relying on two-minute stories on the nightly news.

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