(Note: This article is one page on the author's web site, and in the article he refers to other pages on that site.)
Reposted from: h ttp://reformationcomingsoon.bravehost.com/Jerusalem.html
Since Christians and Jews have been fighting Muslims for control of Jerusalem for nearly a thousand years, it is important that we understand the history of all that fighting, war and bloodshed. Then perhaps with an understanding of that history, and an understanding of the core universal teachings common to all three religions, we can finally put an end to the fighting and killing.
Islam (the religion of Muslims) began to become popular in about 621 AD, and by the time its founder, Muhammad, died about ten years later, Islam was established throughout the Arabian peninsula. Within a century of Muhammad's death, Islam had spread both by military conquest and by voluntary conversion, to Spain and Portugal, to India and to Central Asia, establishing Islam as a formidable world empire. Islamic rule also went into northern Africa and other parts of the Mediterranean basin within the first two decades after its establishment.
At that time most of Europe was deep in the Dark Ages as a result of "Christian" theocracy established a few hundred years earlier, which was very oppressive and tyrannical. That was largely because of the erroneous doctrines of men that the Christ Jesus warned against. But the Christians of that time were ignorant of that, and they were totally indoctrinated by them. That is in large part why they launched the cruel "Inquisition" and the horribly bloody "Christian Crusades" against Islam.
According to many historians, the Siege of Jerusalem in 1099 by Christian Crusaders was part of the first crusade, and they conquered and took control of Jerusalem. But the "Christian" Kingdom of Jerusalem that grew out of that was gradually weakened by corruption and internal disputes, and the Christians were completely defeated in 1187 by the Muslim leader Saladin. Most of the Christian nobility of the kingdom were taken prisoner, and throughout the summer Saladin quickly took control.
It should be noted that Saladin was merciful, and treated the Christian prisoners well. And even when Saladin had taken Acre, Nablus, Jaffa, Toron, Sidon, Beirut and Ascalon by mid-September in 1187, he behaved the same way, and he was regarded even by Europeans as a noble and merciful warrior.
The same cannot be said of Richard "The Lion Heart," King of England, who in 1191 led the third Christian Crusade against Saladin in an attempt to retake Jerusalem. Richard in fact slaughtered thousands of Muslim prisoners he had taken. And even though Richard scored a victory over Saladin’s forces in Jaffa, his crusade failed to take Jerusalem, just as the second one had.
After the fourth and fifth Christian Crusades, which also failed, a sixth Crusade was waged by German Emperor Frederick II, who in 1223 took his Crusader vow in the presence of the Pope. He massed his army in 1227, and he set sail for the Mid-East. Ironically, illness plagued his troops, so there was a delay so long that the Pope excommunicated Frederick. He assembled a second army anyway, and finally sailed again in 1228. But when Frederick arrived in the "Holy Land," he found he didn’t have the power to accomplish much. Because of his own lack of forces, and because of the lack of forces of the Muslim leader, Al-Kamil, there were no "grand battles," no epic struggles, no fight to the death over Jerusalem.
Fredrick did, however, manage to reach an agreement with Al-Kamil, and they signed a treaty, the result of which was that Jerusalem was returned to the Christians, along with some other cities and areas. Frederick was granted the right to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem if he so chose. In return, the Muslims were to retain possession of the Dome of the Rock and the Mosque al-Aqsa, and were to be allowed free access to and within the city. Al-Kamil got a ten-year truce out of the deal, which meant he would have the freedom to concentrate on re-uniting Syria with Egypt.
Not long after that, though, after the Siege of Jerusalem in 1244 by Muslim forces, Jerusalem was once again recaptured from the Christians, to whom it had been given by treaty. And to make a long story shorter, that’s the way it’s gone ever since, and of course others like the Turks have had their hand in conquering and gaining control in the area.
One of the most notable battles for Jerusalem in more modern times was in 1917 in the Sinai and Palestine campaign of World War I by British and Commonwealth forces. And as I discussed on the page titled The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, that was portrayed in the great movie Lawrence of Arabia, and the British betrayed the Palestinians even though the Palestinians were the main force that drove the Turks out of Palestine to enable the British to take over!
Other notable battles were during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, after the United Nations granted the right to establish the modern State of Israel, and in the 1967 Yom Kippur War during which Israel grabbed more land away from the Palestinians. And, of course, the Jewish Zionists and Christian Zionists have been trying ever since to gain complete control of Jerusalem, and drive Muslims out. It’s the same old story, with slightly different players.
The main problem is the hypocritical and false idea that God wants us (whether we call ourselves Jews or Christians or Muslims) to kill if we have to in order to rule Jerusalem. It’s absurd, when you really think about it, but that’s what going on.
Why? Mainly because some Jews and Christians actually believe a Messiah King or Moshiach King will come in person to build a "Third Temple" on the "Mountain of the Lord" in Jerusalem, and then rule the world. And that’s the real problem, even though that belief is misguided and is based on erroneous interpretation of prophecies.
I bring that up because that is what triggered the last long-lasting round of conflict and violence between Palestinians and Israelis, which began on September 28, 2000, with Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to the holy site known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount. Sharon’s careless, arrogant and malicious provocation essentially ended the Mid-East peace process, and it unfortunately helped the hawkish hardline leader become President of Israel. His actions inevitably motivated and empowered Hamas and Hizbollah, and that’s why there has been so much suffering, death and destruction in the years following September 2000 and during the last seven years.