The Prophet Mohammed (riding a horse) accepts the submission of
Banu Nadir, a Jewish tribe
he defeated at Medina that was aligned with
the anti-Islam Quraysh tribe of Mecca.
From the ancient Mongul book of
history called the Jami'al-Tawarikh,
dated 1314-5 A.D.
In Arabic, Hebrew and English, the Meaning of 'Ceasefire' Varies
Widely (El Diario Exterior, Spain)
"Notwithstanding the fact that the language of negotiation
is English, each party to the process thinks in its own mother tongue, and consciously
or unconsciously, negotiates through its own cultural bias. The United
States, and even the Israelis, have little or no idea how the Palestinians or
the Arab world think. The concepts and use of language in the Arab world is
diametrically distinct, and even opposite, to that of the West."
PLO founder and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat: It appears that his definition of 'ceasefire' was entirely different than that of the Americans or Israelis he was negotiating the Oslo Accords with.
The concepts and language in the Arab world are in some
cases diametrically opposed to what is known in the West. There is an urgent
need for the international community to address this issue responsibly so as
not to continue the long string of peace process failure in the region.
the Israeli-Palestinian case, idiosyncratic elements, linguistics and the cultures
that separate the parties, usually pose more difficulty than the complexities
of the actual talks, which have been going on for years. Notwithstanding the
fact that the language of negotiation is
English, each party to the process thinks in its own mother tongue, and consciously
or unconsciously, negotiates through its own cultural bias.
United States, and even the Israelis, have little or no idea how the
Palestinians or the Arab world think. The concepts and use of language in the
Arab world is diametrically distinct, and even opposite, to that of the West. As
an example of this phenomenon, let's take a look at the word “ceasefire” - a
central concept of critical importance in the search for peace, which seems out
of reach for the region, in light of its years of raging conflict and numerous
crisis. Each party involved uses this word, but for each, it acquires different
meanings and cultural connotations.
English, as it is understood in the United States, the term “ceasefire” means a
total cessation by one party of any activity that could be interpreted as
aggressive by the other party. In Hebrew, the word is translated as hafsakat-esh. For the Israelis, “ceasefire” means
that the Palestinians must cease all attacks against them, but that if Israel
learns of an imminent terrorist attack it can and should act to prevent it.
Arabic, the term used for "ceasefire" and "truce" is hudna, which
means a temporary cessation of hostilities against the enemy until that enemy
can be defeated in the future. These differences are enough to sink any signed agreement.
In Arabic, there are three idiosyncratic peace agreements:
Hudnab) Atwah and c) Sulha.
these words have their origins in the Arab world's tribal law. Hudnais a fundamental principle - a legal
concept that applied to tribes. It is temporary and used as a vehicle to reach
the next step, the atwah,
which configures a lasting or longer term commitment. A final agreement, or sulha, can never be reached unless the
previous steps have been achieved. In the Arab worldview, this and only this is
required to complete the process.
most famous hudna
took place in 628 A.D., when the Prophet Mohammad on behalf of the elders of
Medina, reached a peace treaty
with the Quraysh tribe of Mecca in the city of Hudaybiyyah.
The agreement reached was to last nine years, nine months and nine days. Two
years later, Mohammad violated the treaty and attacked, destroyed and defeated
the tribal elders.
The events of Hudaybiyyah are interpreted as
containing two important lessons for radical jihadists. First, they believe one
can sign an agreement with the enemy when passing through a period of operational
and military weakness, provided that the agreement is in your own interest. The
second lesson is that, after being revitalized and strengthened, the agreement
can be broken. This interpretation by Islamist groups is similar to the legend
of the Trojan Horse, in which a gesture or gift can be the catalyst for an
Posted By Worldmeets.US
Arabs, including Arabs who live in Israel, the 1949 armistice agreements
signed between Israel and neighboring Arab countries in the city of Rhodes, are
considered hudna. The West interprets them as comprising
an armistice, while the Israelis consider them hafsakat-aish.
interesting fact complicating this analysis are the events of September 1993,
when Bill Clinton, the U.S. president, Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader,
and Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister, signed an agreement at the White
House that later came to be known as the Oslo Accords. This was presented
an important step on the road toward peace. However, in Cape Town a month later,
during a speech in his native Arabic, Yasser Arafat referred to Oslo Accords as
a "Hudaybiyyah pact." By this statement, Arafat’s was understood to
mean that the agreement was nothing more than hudna - an deal made to be broken at a suitable moment, and which would
in some fashion bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians.
unfortunately, history shows that many agreements haven't been worth the ink they
were signed in. These negative precedents indicate that Western leaders must avail
themselves of a deeper understanding of the cultural aspects of the Arab world,
but above all, whenever one wishes to truly succeed in negotiating peace in
that region of the world, language is fundamental.
history has taught us anything, it is that "ceasefire" must be
understood as much more than a word on the path to obtaining a genuinely-sought peace. Particularly when it concerns deceptive and fraudulent aspects of tribal linguistic
approaches to the honorable pursuit of peace.
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