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ABC Mini-Encyclopedia

Ceasefire

Much has been written about the proposed cease-fire, or 'hudna' between Israel and the Palestinians, that would stop Palestinian terror for a while and let Israel's troups withdraw from Gaza. Cease-fire with non-Muslims is termed a 'HUDNA' in Arabic. It refers to a 10 year truce agreement entered into by Mohammed, which he broke on a minor pretext as soon as his strength was improved (after two years) and slaughtered the counterpart taken by complete surprise. In this context it is clear why Israel must be wary, particularly about releasing, within such a 'hudna', the most experienced Arab terrorists with much civilian blood on their hands , taken into custody after March 2001 (when in one month alone 120 Israeli civilians were murdered in two dozen Palestinian terror attacks).

There is more in it for the Palestinians than just a respite to allow them to draw breath. It is an important opportunity to create greater political unity. The question is, whether they unite for peace or for a renewed terror war? One more unanswered question is whether it is better for the terrorist groups to be an armed opposition in the PA or an armed part of the PA government? Given that they receive funding directly from Arafat in any case, there is a good reason for Israel to be most cautious.


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