Is the Palestinian Goal A Peace Agreement or“Hudna” [cease fire]?
by Itamar Marcus
Israeli Arab Knesset Member Abd-Al Malek Dahamshe was interviewed on Palestinian Television. A viewer called in to the studio and commented that, “Our problem with Israel is not a border problem, but one of existence”. Dahamshe responded: “We exaggerate when we say ‘peace’... what we are [really] speaking about is ‘Hudna’ "
[Israeli Arab Knesset Member Abd-Al Malek Dahamshe, PATV, 1 September 2000]
“Hudna” is an Islamic term meaning cease fire. MK Dahamshe accepted the position expressed by the caller, by referring to the agreements with Israel not as “Peace” but rather as a cease fire.
This report investigates to what extent this position of Dahamshe reflects the position of the Palestinian Authority. When Palestinian officials speak to their own people in Arabic, do they anticipate that a permanent agreement with Israel will be peace agreement ending the conflict with Israel, or that it is just a “Hudna” a temporary cease fire?
The research demonstrates a clear and unified world-view within the Palestinian leadership, in speeches to the nation, in educational programs, and through school textbooks published by the Palestinian Authority. Consistently Israel is defined as a colony that stole the land of “Palestine” having no right to exist. Therefore within the framework of the “justice”, there is no room for Israel’s permanent existence. The Arabic Palestinian lexicon contains many expressions to describe the negotiations with Israel in this context: “The permanent agreement is a stage”; “The Oslo accord is to gain a foothold”; “All the agreements are temporary”. In this context the Oslo process is part of the process of liberating “Palestine”. The recurrent justification given for the need for a temporary agreement with Israel is “because of current balance of power”. From the positions expressed within the Palestinian Authority it is evident that Dahamshe’s position whereby the permanent status agreement with Israel is to be viewed as “Hudna”, is the rule and not the exception.
The following are examples where PA leaders have stated this explicitly:
1. Faisal Husseini, Palestinian Authority Representative for Jerusalem Affairs:
Oslo accords are a Trojan Horse:
“Had the U.S. and Israel realized, before Oslo, that all that was left of the Palestinian National movement and the Pan-Arab movement was a wooden horse called Arafat or the PLO, they would never have opened their fortified gates and let it inside their walls…
This effort [the Intifada] could have been much better, broader, and more significant had we made it clearer to ourselves that the Oslo agreement, or any other agreement, is just a temporary procedure, or just a step towards something bigger... We distinguish the strategic, long-term goals from the political phased goals, which we are compelled to temporarily accept due to international pressure. … [Palestine] according to the higher strategy [is]: ‘from the river to the sea.’ Palestine in its entirety is an Arab land, the land of the Arab nation.” [Al-Arabi' -Egypt, 24 June 2001]
2. Abd El Aziz Shahian, Palestinian Authority Minister of Supplies: "Oslo is just the first step in the destruction of Israel":
“The Palestinian people accepted the Oslo agreements as a first step and not as a permanent settlement, based on the premise that the war and struggle in the land is more efficient than a struggle from a distant land [i.e. Tunisia, where the PLO was based before Oslo -Ed] ... the Palestinian people will continue the revolution until they achieve the goals of the ’65 revolution...”.
[P.A. Minister of Supply Abd El Aziz Shahian, Al Ayyam, 30 May 2000]
[The “’65 Revolution” is the founding of the P.L.O. and the publication of the Palestinian charter that calls for the destruction of Israel via an armed struggle.]
3. Othman Abu Arbiah, Arafat’s Deputy: "The Palestinian state is just the first stage":
“... At this stage we’ll prevail in our struggle [toward] the goals of the stages [plan]. The goal of this stage is the establishment of the independent Palestinian State, with its capital in Jerusalem. When we achieve this, it will be a positive [step] and it will advance us to the next stage via other ways and means... ‘Every Palestinian must know clearly and unequivocally that the independent Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital is not the end of the road’. The [rise of] the Palestinian State is a stage after which there will be another stage and that is the democratic state in all of Palestine [i.e. in place of Israel].” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 25 November 1999]
[Othman Abu Arbiah is Arafat’s aide for Political Guidance and national affairs, and the Director-General for National Affairs, a senior position in the Palestinian national educational structure]
4. Sheikh Yousuf Abu Sneina, the preacher of the Al-Aqza Mosque: "All of Israel is “Palestine” forever":
“The Islamic land of Palestine is one and can not be divided.
There is no difference between Haifa and Nablus, between Lod and Ramallah, between Jerusalem and Nazareth, between Gaza and Ashkelon. The land of Palestine is Waqf land that belongs to Moslems throughout the world and no one has the right to act freely or the right to make concessions or to abandon her. Whoever does this betrays a [trust] and is nothing more than a loathsome criminal whose abode is in Hell!”
[The Preacher of Al Aqza Mosque, Sheikh Yousuf Abu Sneina, PATV, 8 September 2000]
5. Abdullah Al-Hourani, Chairman, Palestinian National Council Political Committee: "The conflict remains eternal - all of Israel is Palestine":
Interviewer: “How do [you] read the future of the peace process…?”
Al-Hourani: “Whether they return to negotiations or not, and whether they fulfill the agreements or not - the political plan is a temporary agreement, and the conflict remains eternal, will not be locked, and the agreements being talked about are regarding the current balance of power. As to the struggle, it will continue. It may pause at times, but in the final analysis, Palestine is ours from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River.” [Al Hayat Al Jadida, 14 April 2000]
6. Imad Alfalugi, the Palestinian Authority Minister of Communication:"Israel “the Occupation State” will cease to exist":
“Our people have hope for the future, that the Occupation State ceases to exist, and that it makes no difference [how great] its power and arrogance...”.
[Minister of Communications, Imad Alfalugi, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 18 November 1999]
7. Salim Alo’adia, Abu Salam, Supervisor of Political Affairs:"The goal has not changed - the “liberation of Palestine”:
“When we picked up the gun in ’65 and the modern Palestinian Revolution began, it had a goal. This goal has not changed and it is the liberation of Palestine.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 20 January 2000]
8. Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, Palestinian Authority appointed Mufti of Jerusalem & Palestine: "We have not forgotten about Jaffa or about Acre":
“We are discussing the current problems and when we speak about Jerusalem it doesn’t mean that we have forgotten about Hebron or about Jaffa or about Acre….we are speaking about the current problems that have priority at a certain time. It doesn’t mean that we have given up... We have announced a number of times that from a religious point of view Palestine from the sea to the river is Islamic.” [PATV, 11 January 2001.]
Note: Jaffa and Acre are Israeli cities. The “sea to the river” is all of Israel.
9. Dr. Ahmed Yousuf Abu Halbiah, PA Religious leader, member of the Palestinian Sharianic (Islamic religious law) Rulings Council, and Rector Advanced Studies, the Islamic University:“All the agreements are temporary”:
“We the nation of Palestine, our fate from Allah is to be the vanguard in the war against the Jews until the resurrection of the dead, as the Prophet Mohammed said: The resurrection of the dead will not come until you do battle with the Jews and kill them… We the Palestinians, are the vanguard in this issue, in this battle, whether we want to or whether we refuse. All the agreements being made are temporary...” [Preacher Dr. Ahmed Yousuf Abu Halbiah, PATV, 28 July 2000]
10. Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Madi, a Palestinian Authority religious leader:" “We will enter Jaffa, Ramle and Lod and all of Palestine, as conquerors”:
“We are positive that Allah will help us triumph. Our belief is firm that one day we will enter Jerusalem as conquerors, enter Jaffa as conquerors, Ramle and Lod… and all of Palestine, as conquerors… [ed. note: Jaffa, Ramle, and Lod are Israeli cities.]
“If He [Allah] asks them [Arab leaders], on Judgment Day: ‘the majority of Palestine was lost in ’48 and what did you do? And the remainder was lost in ’67, and now it is being vanquished again.’
How shall we respond to our Lord?…
“Palestine shall be the burial grounds of the invaders just as it was for the Tartars, and the Crusaders and for modern colonialism… The Tradition relates to us that Allah’s cherished one [Muhammad] said: ‘The Jews will battle against you but you shall emerge masters over them.”
[Preacher Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Madi, PATV, 12 April 2002]
11. Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Madi, a Palestinian Authority religious leader: “We will blow them up in Hadera, we will blow them up in Tel-Aviv”
“We will blow them up in Hadera, we will blow them up in Tel-Aviv and in Netanya... We will fight against them and rule over them until the Jew will hide behind the trees and stones and the tree and stone will say: 'Moslem! Servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, kill him’… We will enter Jerusalem as conquerors, and Jaffa as conquerors, and Haifa as conquerors and Ashkelon as conquerors....” [Preacher Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Madi, PATV, 3 August 2001]
12. Dr. Ahmed Yousuf Abu Halbiah, a Palestinian Authority Religious leader:
“We will not forget Haifa, Acre, Jaffa, the Galilee Triangle, and the Negev”
“Even if agreements were signed [regarding] Gaza and the West Bank, we will not forget Haifa, Acre, Jaffa, the Galilee Triangle, and the Negev. It is only a question of time…”[Ed note: All are Israeli cities or regions.] [Preacher Dr. Ahmed Yousuf Abu Halbiah, PATV, 13 October 2000]
13. Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Madi, PA religious leader:" Palestine shall return to its former days..Israel shall pass.."
“Who is responsible for the loss of Palestine, the good land that the passages of the dear Koran bless many times, and [for] deceitfully labeling it Israel? Who is responsible for the loss of Jerusalem... The Prophet [Muhammad] soothes us with many Hadiths that Palestine shall return to its former days.... We must prepare a foothold, for the coming army of Allah, by divine predetermination. May it be Allah’s will, this oppressing state shall pass, Israel shall pass...” [Preacher Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Madi, PATV, 8 June 2001]
What is clear from the Palestinians is that their goal of destroying Israel has never been abandoned. Indeed, the message from the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to their respective people are direct opposites of one another:
Israel leaders are saying:
The permanent status agreement will be painful, but we will accept it because it will mark the end of the conflict with the Palestinians and the Arab world in general.
The Palestinian leaders are saying:
The permanent status agreement will be painful, but we will accept it because it is not the end of the conflict. This is one stage leading to Israel’s destruction. The words of MK Abd-Al Malek Dahamshe constitute the conceptual basis for the Palestinian Authority’s policies:
“We exaggerate when we say ‘peace’...
what we are [really] speaking about is ‘Hudna’ ”.