Zealous for peace?

In a New York Times op-ed today, Ahmed Yousef, a senior adviser to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and speaking on behalf of Hamas, proposed a hudna (long-term truce) with the Israelis. The concept of hudna demands a peaceful resolution to the conflict, Yousef wrote. “[It] is no ruse, as some assert, to strengthen our ...

In a New York Times op-ed today, Ahmed Yousef, a senior adviser to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and speaking on behalf of Hamas, proposed a hudna (long-term truce) with the Israelis. The concept of hudna demands a peaceful resolution to the conflict, Yousef wrote. "[It] 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."

That "some" he references seems like a code word for pro-Israel and Israeli hardliners, right? After all, Israel Defense Forces Southern Command Chief Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant recently told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Hamas is developing a formal anti-tank unit.  But among those "some" is Musa Abu Marzouq, the former head of Hamas's Political Bureau. In a 1995 interview he told Khaled Hroub, a Palestinian journalist and author of the 2002 book Hamas: Political Thought and Practice, that hudna is an acceptable means to achieve an "interem solution" that creates a Palestinian state in the occupied territories, but "the best method in practice to achieve progress beyond the interim solution ... is jihad and armed resistance." Hroub's research shows that Hamas considers hudna a means to avoid direct conflict with Israel, while giving Hamas the chance "to alter the balance of power" in order to achieve its ultimate solution, a Middle East without Israel.   Hudna doesn't guarantee the resumption of violence, but it also doesn't take it off the table.

Now it is true, as Yousef wrote in his op-ed, that Hamas honors its cease-fires better than any other Palestinian organization. But until Hamas leaders retract their calls for the destruction of Israel and adapt the organization's charter to include the acceptance of a permanent two-state solution, there is no reason to believe that their offers of hudna are anything but dubious. 

In a New York Times op-ed today, Ahmed Yousef, a senior adviser to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and speaking on behalf of Hamas, proposed a hudna (long-term truce) with the Israelis. The concept of hudna demands a peaceful resolution to the conflict, Yousef wrote. “[It] 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.”

That “some” he references seems like a code word for pro-Israel and Israeli hardliners, right? After all, Israel Defense Forces Southern Command Chief Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant recently told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Hamas is developing a formal anti-tank unit.  But among those “some” is Musa Abu Marzouq, the former head of Hamas’s Political Bureau. In a 1995 interview he told Khaled Hroub, a Palestinian journalist and author of the 2002 book Hamas: Political Thought and Practice, that hudna is an acceptable means to achieve an “interem solution” that creates a Palestinian state in the occupied territories, but “the best method in practice to achieve progress beyond the interim solution … is jihad and armed resistance.” Hroub’s research shows that Hamas considers hudna a means to avoid direct conflict with Israel, while giving Hamas the chance “to alter the balance of power” in order to achieve its ultimate solution, a Middle East without Israel.   Hudna doesn’t guarantee the resumption of violence, but it also doesn’t take it off the table.

Now it is true, as Yousef wrote in his op-ed, that Hamas honors its cease-fires better than any other Palestinian organization. But until Hamas leaders retract their calls for the destruction of Israel and adapt the organization’s charter to include the acceptance of a permanent two-state solution, there is no reason to believe that their offers of hudna are anything but dubious. 

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