To many Westerners who sympathize with Hamas, or with the Palestinian cause, the ongoing conflict is about the “liberation of Palestine.” But, writes Franck Salameh, this isn’t how Palestinian leaders see things:
Put in simple terms, traditional Islam divides the world between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb, literally the “Abode of Islam” and the “Abode of war,” which is to say on the one hand territories where Islam reigns supreme and where Muslims rule, and on the other hand lands of disbelief where infidels still rule and where Islam is destined to conquer and dominate. In this traditional conception of the world, the struggle between those two abodes is continuous until one, presumably Islam, prevails over the other.
What is more, territories that Islam has already conquered and claimed for Muslims should be clung to by any means, and should never be ceded back to the world of disbelief.
[Hamas sees itself as locked in] an apocalyptic struggle for the redemption of Muslim land (Dar al-Islam) fallen to the hands of disbelief. . . . And lest the preceding be interpreted as the extreme view of religious zealots like Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority . . . affirmed in 2009 that the Palestinians’ armed struggle was “a strategy, not [a] tactic . . . in the battle for liberation and for the elimination of the Zionist presence; [a struggle that] will not stop until the Zionist entity is eliminated and Palestine is liberated.”