By David Lazarus
(reproduced unaltered with permission from Israel Today Magazine, Jerusalem)
Nonie Darwish is the daughter of Mustafa Hafez, former head of intelligence in Gaza when Egypt was in control of the coastal enclave. During this time, Hafez founded the Fedayeen, the original terrorist group that launched raids across Israel’s southern border between 1951 and 1956.
Hafez was killed by a mail bomb sent by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) when Nonie was only eight-years-old. It was the first targeted killing carried out by Israel, and Hafez was declared a shahid (holy martyr). Even former Egyptian President Gamal Nasser vowed retribution, urging little Nonie and her siblings to “avenge your father’s death by killing Jews.”
In an interview with Israel Today correspondent David Lazarus, Nonie Darwish explains this formative period in her life:
“I always blamed Israel for my father’s death, because that’s what I was taught. I never looked at why Israel killed my father. They killed my father because the Fedayeen were killing Israelis. They killed my father because when I was growing up, we had to recite poetry pledging jihad against Israel. We would have tears in our eyes, pledging that we wanted to die. I speak to people who think there was no terrorism against Israel before the ’67 war. How can they deny it? My father died in it.”
Israel Today: Can the land-for-peace formula bring a final end to this conflict?
Darwish: We are kidding ourselves if we think that the idea of land-for-peace will work. There is an intrinsic problem in Islam – they cannot co-exist with other cultures. Muslims cannot exist at any level with Jews or Christians. It was the Arab nations that pushed the Palestinians into war with Israel. On their own they never would have fought. The Palestinians are puppets of 1.2 billion Muslims. They are pawns to the Saudis and Iranians who want to rule the entire Middle East.
IT: Are the Israeli settlements the obstacle preventing peace?
Darwish: There has always been terror against Israel long before any settlements. My father did it, the Arab nations did it, and they will continue to terrorize Israel whether there are settlements of not. The problem has never been about the settlements. The Arabs have no shortage of land.
IT: Israel is constantly pressed to release jailed terrorists as a gesture aimed at fostering good relations. Does this work?
Darwish: When Israel releases terrorists from prison in exchange for one soldier this is understood by Muslims to be weakness. Israel is surrounded by a fallen culture. Islam is a religion of tyranny, anger and hatred. In fact, it is its own greatest threat. There is a dark side to the Islamic revolution that people are not aware of. I lived in it. I know.
But this is a dilemma for Israel. Because Jews place such high value on human life they are willing to pay a very high price for just one soldier.
IT: What should Israel do about the Iranian nuclear threat?
Darwish: First of all I would not want to see Israeli soldiers injured in an attack on Iran. Israel knows how to do better and can do better than that. When Arab TV has scientists discuss Iran’s nuclear program they are only taunting Israel, trying to draw Israel into the conflict and using it as an opportunity to spread their anti-Semitic propaganda against the Jewish nation.
IT: What do you want to do and what would you like other moderate Arabs to do to bring an end to the Middle East conflict?
Darwish: I want to stand in front of the UN and demand an apology from Muslim leaders who accuse Israel of being behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United State. I want an apology for accusations that Israeli doctors sold organs from the victims of the disaster in Haiti. I am not Jewish, but I am offended by these criminal and destructive lies. We need to organize marches to stop the slander against the Jewish people. It is time for people to get offended by the lies of Islam.
Israel Today Magazine is Israel’s daily news presented by Jewish believers in Yeshua (known in Israel as Messianic Jews).