Many of you will have heard it claimed, at various times, that Hamas has expressed willingness to enter into a truce with Israel: which constitutes a tacit acceptance of Israel’s existence.
This is nonsense. It is true that, from time to time, Hamas proposes a ‘ten year hudna’: that is, a temporary truce. Ten years was the duration of the Hudaybiyyah Hudna, which Mohammed entered into with the tribes of Mecca. Mohammed then went on to conquer Medina.
If you want to understand how Hamas understands the concept of ‘hudna’, you should listen to Mushir Al Masri – ‘the Egyptian’ – a Hamas MP and media spokesman. He makes the purpose of such a temporary truce quite clear:
This is just nonsense of the Zionists and a dream of them to live in peace and calmness for 10 years.
We shall keep disturbing the Zionists until the last of them Zionists leaves our Palestine land because every truce is temporary for a certain period of time,” Al Masri said. “We are not talking about a long term truce. We are not talking about a peace agreement.”
“‘A truce’ in the dictionary of the resistance means preparing for the next battle,” he said. “Our resistance will keep on developing, producing and filling its arsenals and in the production of surprising elements for the next battles until the Zionist enemy leaves our land, with the help of Allah.”
So, there you have it. Hamas considers the purpose of a truce, the provision of breathing space to allow it to rearm.
So, keep this post handy the next time somebody tells you that Hamas has offered Israel peace.
PS: Also see this post from 2009, featuring the analysis of Nizar Rayyan, a Hamas leader killed during Operation Cast Lead:
This is what he said when I asked him if he could envision a 50-year hudna (or cease-fire) with Israel: “The only reason to have a hudna is to prepare yourself for the final battle. We don’t need 50 years to prepare ourselves for the final battle with Israel.” There is no chance, he said, that true Islam would ever allow a Jewish state to survive in the Muslim Middle East. “Israel is an impossibility. It is an offense against God.”