Hudna, Hudna, who wants a Hudna
Hudna, Hudna, who wants a Hudna?

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 also.

2004 Rabbi Haim Cassorla

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Rabbi Haim Cassorla

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