By Ramzy Baroud
groups have recently suggested a ceasefire, in exchange for a cessation of
Israeli violence. Ehud Olmert responded with a conciliatory speech, cleverly
timed with President Bush’s arrival to
standing side by side with
The media, once more, indulged in analysing the recent developments, with the full confidence that Olmert’s verbal commitment to ending the conflict was indeed genuine. The ball, once again, was placed in the Palestinian court. All eyes are now on Hamas: will it heed to the voice of reason and moderation, as embodied in the character of Abbas? Or will it continue to nurture its sinful alliance with
governments - led or intimidated by the
I took just
10 months to consolidate such a discourse: where the Palestinians, as always
were forced on the defence, desperately trying to show that all the allegations
made against their government are untrue. Meanwhile,
Palestinian government, armed with the popular support of its people, which is
yet to fade despite all attempts, refused to succumb to such pressure. It
continued to argue that recognizing
renouncing violence is equally abhorrent. In the last a few months, since the
June capturing of one Israeli solider,
Most believe that the current violence is intrinsically linked to failed agreements signed between late President Yasser Arafat and the Israeli government. For Palestinians the agreements delivered next to nothing, save a few symbolic ‘achievements’ - a flag, a postage stamp and the ‘triumphant’ return of a few exiled Palestinians; but also the killing of over 4,000 Palestinians - the vast majority of whom were civilians - in the six years of uprising.
Dr. Ahmed Yousef, a top advisor to the Palestinian Prime Minister has recently proposed, on behalf of his government, the concept of hudna, or truce. It’s more or less consistent with the recent declaration of ceasefire, the latter perhaps a prelude to a longer one. In an article in the New York Times on November 1, 2006, he wrote: “Typically covering 10 years, a hudna is recognized in Islamic jurisprudence as a legitimate and binding contract. It extends beyond the Western concept of a cease-fire and obliges the parties to use the period to seek a permanent, non-violent resolution to their differences.”
However, it must be stressed that this position should neither serve as, nor be understood as a personal indictment; Palestinian violence is hardly comparable to that of Israel, the fifth strongest army in the world; death tolls on both sides effortlessly express the disparity of power. While proposing a hunda is maybe an expression of the current Palestinian government's commitment to peace, or perhaps a way out of a terrible bind; regardless, it should neither override nor cancel out the Palestinian people's uncompromising adherence to their just demands for freedom and rights, determined by a Palestinian national consensus and cemented in international law.
Baroud’s latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a
People’s Struggle (Pluto Press) is available at Amazon.com and in the
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