15 January 2007

Hudna again - Hamas' style

Reading this article on ZNN by Ami Isseroff, I was amazed to see how an adept spin master can trick even the best of them. By "spin master" I mean Ahmed Yousef, a senior adviser to the Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniya.

While Ami's article is an excellent description of the hudna as it is applied to the current situation in Gaza, Ahmed Yousef succeeded in tricking Ami and, with him, obviously, a lot of NYT readers who accepted the definition of hudna invented by this senior spin master.

According to Yousef, hudna

A truce is referred to in Arabic as a “hudna.” Typically covering 10 years, a hudna is recognized in Islamic jurisprudence as a legitimate and binding contract. A hudna extends beyond the Western concept of a cease-fire and obliges the parties to use the period to seek a permanent, nonviolent resolution to their differences.
But is it really a classic definition of hudna? From that old post:
HUDNA - Arabic word often translated as "cease-fire.- Historically used as a tactic aimed at allowing the party declaring the hudna to regroup while tricking an enemy into lowering its guard. When the hudna expires, the party that declared it is stronger and the enemy weaker. The term comes from the story of the Muslim conquest of Mecca. Instead of a rapid victory, Muhammad made a ten-year treaty with the Kuraysh tribe. In 628 AD, after only two years of the ten-year treaty, Muhammad and his forces concluded that the Kuraysh were too weak to resist. The Muslims broke the treaty and took over all of Mecca without opposition.
Since it is obvious that people do not follow links, another excerpt from that post:
In January 2004, senior Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi offered a 10-year hudna in return for complete withdrawal from all territories captured in the Six Day War, and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Rantissi said the hudna was limited to ten years and represented a decision by the movement because it was "difficult to liberate all our land at this stage", the hudna would however not signal a recognition of the state of Israel."
As a side remark - it looks that Ismail Haniya is paying more attention to propaganda now. So, lest we be hudnawinked: let's be alert and not buy the Hamas' spin.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com