Addict (drugaddict) wrote,

Hamas Adviser on a Truce--NYTimes op ed 11/1/06

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. The Koran finds
great merit in such efforts at promoting understanding among different
people. Whereas war dehumanizes the enemy and makes it easier to kill, a
hudna affords the opportunity to humanize one’s opponents and understand
their position with the goal of resolving the intertribal or
international dispute.

Such a concept — a period of nonwar but only partial resolution of a
conflict — is foreign to the West and has been greeted with much
suspicion. Many Westerners I speak to wonder how one can stop the
violence without ending the conflict.

I would argue, however, that this concept is not as foreign as it might
seem. After all, the Irish Republican Army agreed to halt its military
struggle to free Northern Ireland from British rule without recognizing
British sovereignty. Irish Republicans continue to aspire to a united
Ireland free of British rule, but rely upon peaceful methods. Had the
I.R.A. been forced to renounce its vision of reuniting Ireland before
negotiations could occur, peace would never have prevailed. Why should
more be demanded of the Palestinians, particularly when the spirit of
our people will never permit it?

When Hamas gives its word to an international agreement, it does so in
the name of God and will therefore keep its word. Hamas has honored its
previous cease-fires, as Israelis grudgingly note with the oft-heard
words, “At least with Hamas they mean what they say.”

This offer of hudna is no ruse, as some assert, to strengthen our
military machine, to buy time to organize better or to consolidate our
hold on the Palestinian Authority. Indeed, faith-based political
movements in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco,
Turkey and Yemen have used hudna-like strategies to avoid expanding
conflict. Hamas will conduct itself just as wisely and honorably.

We Palestinians are prepared to enter into a hudna to bring about an
immediate end to the occupation and to initiate a period of peaceful
coexistence during which both sides would refrain from any form of
military aggression or provocation. During this period of calm and
negotiation we can address the important issues like the right of return
and the release of prisoners. If the negotiations fail to achieve a
durable settlement, the next generation of Palestinians and Israelis
will have to decide whether or not to renew the hudna and the search for
a negotiated peace.

There can be no comprehensive solution of the conflict today, this week,
this month, or even this year. A conflict that has festered for so long
may, however, be resolved through a decade of peaceful coexistence and
negotiations. This is the only sensible alternative to the current
situation. A hudna will lead to an end to the occupation and create the
space and the calm necessary to resolve all outstanding issues.

Few in Gaza dream. For most of the past six months it’s been difficult
to even sleep. Yet hope is not dead. And when we dare to hope, this is
what we see: a 10-year hudna during which, inshallah (God willing), we
will learn again to dream of peace.

Ahmed Yousef is a senior adviser to the Palestinian prime minister,
Ismail Haniya.

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.