As journalists cover complex Middle East negotiations, wire services often interpret the lulls in hostilities as an armistice or a cease-fire, reminiscent in the western mind to the end of hostilities in World War I, which terminated on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the eleventh month on November 11 1918, paving the way to the Versailles peace treaty and the genesis of the League of Nations.
However, the western media often ignore the nuanced Arabic words: which connote a message that has nothing to do with cessation of hostilities:
hudna – a tactical pause intended only for rearmament,
tahida – a temporary halt in hostile activity which can be violated at any time
hudaybiyyah – there will be no fighting for 10 years named after the “treaty of Hudaybiyyah” in 628 AD
sulch – a total cessation of hostile activity.
The reality is that hudna, tahida and the hudaybiyyah offered by the PLO and Hamas do not compare to the mu’ahada treaty of peace that Egypt signed with Israel in 1979, or the mu’ahada treaty of peace that Jordan signed with Israel in 1994.
Philadelphia attorney Beryl Dean contributed to this report.