Listening to the Palestinian media these days gives the clear impression that what the Jews of Israel are facing now is no less than a call for Jihad, a holy Islamic war. The term Jihad itself, while avoided by the Palestinian leadership, is constantly on the lips of announcers and interviewees. I know it is frightening, but it should be said clearly and loudly.

The message of the Palestinian radio – to which I constantly listen – is that the impure Jews (who – according to Islamic tradition – are “sons of pigs and monkeys” – ahfad al-qirada wa-alkhanazIr – Koran 5, 60) are threatening to perpetuate their occupation of the al-Aqsa mosque, and thus to defile the Islamic sanctuaries (tadnis almuqaddasat al-Islamiyyah). The Palestinian media negate the fact that two Jewish temples once stood on that site, since, after all, both the Old and New Testaments are forgeries of Jews and Christians (Ghyyarou wa-baddalou).

Since the Jews are those who have incurred Allah’s wrath (al-maghdoub ‘alayhim – see al-Jalalayn commentary, Koran 1, 7), how dare they demand the rule over their alleged “Temple Mount”??

Israeli Arab citizens have no choice but to answer the call to Jihad: At the entrance to umm al-fahm there is a big road sign showing the Dome of the Rock in chains, with the inscription “al-aqsa is in danger” (al-aqsa fi khatar).

The unification of the PA and the radical Islamist groups (Hamas and Jihad (!) ) is also a sign of the common Jihadic effort. The “help” of the Lebanese Hizballah, who kidnapped three Israeli soldiers some weeks ago, is another sign of a broad Islamic effort (jd). What Arafat is trying to do is to widen the scope of the war: from national struggle between the Israelis and the Palestinians to religious war between the Jews and the whole Islamic world.

The reaction of the presidents of Yemen (Saleh), Lybia (Qazzafi) and Iraq (Saddam Husayn) is exactly what one could expect – readiness to participate in the Jihad. On the other hand, Egypt’s president, Mubarak, who himself is constantly threatened with a domestic Jihad by his own groups of Islamic radicals, is one leader who tries to stop this Jihadic trend in order to maintain Egypt’s stability. Bashar al-Asad who also does not relish the idea of Jihad (‘Alawis – 1982 – Hamah – remember?) rushed to Mubarak to discuss their mutual fear of Jihad. The Russian minister of foreign affairs, is also concerned about Islamic upheaval, because of his unpleasantnesses in Chechniya and Tataristan, and so was impelled to rush to the Middle East to see what can be done.

The reality is that in these days, in full view of the whole Western world, Israel faces a real, although modern, Jihad, over the question of the future of Jerusalem. The West has to realize that if this Jihad succeeds, the next battle will be over the rest of the State of Israel (al-Diyar al-Muqaddasa) all of which is considered a Waqf (Islamic endowment), and if that battle is won, Europe and the rest of the non-Islamic world (dar al-harb, the house of war) are next.

As an aside, one might recall that Jerusalem was under the rule of King Husayn of Jordan until 1967. Why didn’t HE give Jerusalem to the Palestinians as the capital of their state? It seems that they tolerated his rule over the Holy City because he was a Moslem, but the Jews? God forbid…

And another question: Why was the capital of Jund Falastin (the district of Palestine) during the first Islamic period Ramlah, 30 miles from Jerusalem?

Seeing the recent events in the context of Jihad explains what is currently happening in he Middle East between the Moslem majority and the Jewish minority and may offer a reasonable forecast for what might occur in the near fur over Jerusalem is only the beginning.

The writer is a professor of Arabic at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel