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Monday, June 23, 2003

Hudna means "Time Out" -- It's not a truce

Honest Reporting's latest communique is all about the upcoming hudna with Hamas. The Associated Press translates this as a "legal concept dating to the birth of Islam . . . a truce of fixed duration." The New York Times (pardon my French) touts the possible hudna as "a major breakthrough." FoxNews even translates the concept as 'truce.'

Hudna has a distinct meaning, however, dating from the 7th century, when Mohammed struck a legendary, ten-year hudna with the Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca (Hint: you don't hear much about them these days). That hudna was a time to step back, regroup and rearm, to wait for some advantageous change in circumstances, then leap on an infraction or technicality as a justification for breaking the hudna, and attacking the enemy, as Mohammed did in full conquest of Mecca. This is not the same as the Western concept of 'truce' as a step toward making a full peace.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy records ten such "ceasefires" declared or offered by Hamas in the last decade; see their Peacewatch #424 for the history of how these times were used as advantageous 'time-outs' in the course of war, not instead of war.

Then, if you're salivating for more, read Krauthammer's Washington Post piece, "No Phony 'Cease-Fires' with Terrorism,":

"On May 23, just a week ago, the official newspaper of the supposedly reformed Palestinian Authority carried a front-page picture of the latest suicide bomber dressed in suicide-bomber regalia. It then referred to the place where she did her murdering as "occupied Afula." The town of Afula is in Israel's Galilee. It is not occupied. It is not in the West Bank or Gaza. It is within Israel. If Afula is occupied, then Tel Aviv is occupied, Haifa is occupied and Israel's very existence is a crime.

This bit of incitement and delegitimization was, to my knowledge, reported in not a single American newspaper. . . "

surprise, surprise . . . see why I'm such a cynic?