All languages have single words for complex concepts.
The cultural foundation and bias of a people can be seen in the
concepts that they compact to single words. I live in America and
speak American English. I drive a Ranger. If you speak American
English you know a lot about my vehicle of choice and can visualize
it. That is what language is for. The cultural baggage of language
is the bane of translators. I am not sure how the word Ranger would
be translated outside of its linguistic cultural context. I am quite
sure that it can be easily mangled with or without malice.
Hudna is usually translated
as "cease-fire." Hudna is an Arabic word
with cultural and linguistic context. As of this moment, Israel
is on the verge of being offered a Hudna by Hamas,
or maybe not. As of this moment, The West in the person of the EU
is being offered a Hudna by Iran.
A Hudna is not a concession by any account. A Hudna
is a tactical maneuver and is always constructed so as to make the
opposition think that they are gaining a large concession. If you
trace back through the history of Islam, all the way to the Qran
and the life of Mohammed himself you can learn the true meaning
of Hudna. A Hudna is a "cessation
of outward offensive actions with the express intention of continuing
covert offensive actions."
A Hudna is constructed around what the opponent states
as its primary definition of cease-fire, e.g. "stop shooting
at us." It is constructed so as to specifically allow the narrowest
possible definition of the opponent's greatest need. It is also
constructed to specifically allow you the greatest latitude in other
offensive activities including but not limited to, buying more guns,
loading them, and pointing them at the opponent population.
The purpose of a Hudna is to allow the grantor of
the Hudna sufficient time to regroup and/or make sufficient
other preparation to defeat the enemy.
Iran's offer to the West - We will stop uranium enrichment
in specific technologies, and at specific sites, for a specific
duration. In exchange for that we want money, technology, and nuclear
reactors. We will grant you (the IAEA) specific oversight and policing
powers to ensure that we are not engaging in the specific technologies
at the specific sites. Any attempt on your part to expand on your
oversight or policing powers will be viewed as a breach on your
part of the terms of the Hudna. Such breach will entitle
us, at our sole discretion, to either resume activities covered
or renegotiate a new Hudna.
Hamas's offer to Israel - We will not fire
rockets or other weapons, including our beloved Shahidin (homicide
bombers) at your civilian population for a specific duration. In
exchange for that we expect you not to take any action, punitive
or pre-emptive against any Palestinian anywhere. Any attempt on
your part to pre-empt actions or to interdict weapons and/or explosives
shipments will be viewed by us as a breach on your part of the terms
of the Hudna. Such breach will entitle us, at our
sole discretion, to either resume activities covered or renegotiate
a new Hudna.
These two offers are deadly poison of equal potency. As a matter
of fact, they are the same offer. Their design is to allow the offerer
some peace while continuing activities to the detriment of the offeree.
Israel, specifically the Government of Israel, should be too smart
to accept the Hudna. It never worked any differently
before. If the EU has any doubts as to the [lack of] wisdom of accepting
the Iranian offer, I suggest that they consult with ex-President
Bill Clinton, or just read the agreement he signed with the North
Koreans. I guess that Hudna might be a Korean concept
© 2004 Rabbi Haim Cassorla
To contact Rabbi Haim Cassorla, please send emails to: Rabbi