Using the historical Arab expression “Hudna”, to present a cease-fire or a truce, opened the imaginations of Israeli reporters and “claimed to be” Arab affairs experts. Each of them attempted to explain what Hudna meant in Arab-Islamic history. It is irritating to listen to mostly meaningless historical, theological, and even anthropological arguments repeated.

The discussion was even extended to expressions like “Fitnah”, which is used to describe a state of internal fighting. Even revolution, a term used to describe national resistance against occupiers, was replaced with the term “Intifada” to mean uprising.

The extensive usage of special expressions creates the false impression that Palestinian revolution against the Israeli occupation is a unique phenomenon, which is different from any revolution for freedom and independence.

Presenting the Palestinian struggle against occupation as a special case that is totally isolated from the history of humanity is intentional. The aim is to confuse the Palestinian cause and escape the image of Israel being an occupier.

What we witness, right now, is a unilateral cease-fire. Israel repeatedly denied being a partner to the truce. The intention is to present the truce as being forced on Palestinian resistance groups as a result of an Israeli army victory. The minute the truce was accepted by the main Palestinian resistance groups, Israeli Army Chief of Staff publicly declared victory.

No matter what the motives behind the decision of each Palestinian group to accept the truce, strategically the truce is a right decision. It shifted the focus of the road map from disarming and dismantling into negotiating and agreeing. If we take into consideration the positive impact that the truce produced, it will become more difficult for the Israeli government and the American administration to apply pressure that can crack the truce down. All parties ended to be beneficiaries of the cease-fire.

Even when the truce was announced parallel with the Israeli forces re-deployment in Bethlehem and North of Gaza Strip, Israel sees it as a first step in a process of disarming and dismantling the infra structure of Palestinian resistance groups. Israel continued with its military operations against resistance activists hoping that, with lack of response from their side, such operations will diminish their military ability and influence and will give an upper hand to Palestinian security that is being rehabilitated

The U.S. government policy, in general terms, is in line with the Israeli policy. The two corner stones in this policy are to marginalize President Arafat and to diminish the power of Palestinian resistance groups, especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The U.S. administration believe that for this plan to work, quick investment in the economy of the Palestinian areas up to 1 billion $ is needed as well as international attempt to isolate and dry out Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Israel and the U.S. are more interested in the political results of an internal Palestinian fight than the fight itself. They hope that the party who can be ready to fight against Palestinian resistance groups will be forced to collaborate with Israel and will be more open to accept the Israeli conditions for a political settlement. Both are constantly looking for the ones who consider authority as their main objective and every thing else as secondary.

More painful of all is using the issue of prisoners release as a tool against the cause they were jailed for. As much as there should not be any political settlement without the release of prisoners, releasing prisoners should not replace a just solution to the Palestinian issue. Accepting to release prisoners based on political affiliation or abandoning the ones who spent much of their life years in prison, would consist a fatal mistake that will negatively affect Palestinian national and historical rights.

It is not enough to accept the truce as a realistic and correct step, but rather should be followed with an intensive internal Palestinian dialogue to turn it into a Palestinian strategic choice. The main obstacle to this is the feeling among Palestinian resistance groups that certain parties are going along with dialogue only for gaining time to rebuild their power and not as a strategic commitment.

Truce should not be presented as an achievement by a Palestinian party to prove credibility to both the Israelis and the Americans. At the same time it is unhealthy for Palestinian resistance groups to look at the truce as a necessity forced on them due to regional and international circumstances.

Both the Palestinian authority and Palestinian resistance groups need to deal with dialogue as a strategic choice and use it to define their future political strategy. They need to define together the Palestinian political redlines, the level and content of relation with Israel and the U.S. Palestinian resistance groups will commit a fatal mistake if they present themselves as resistance hobbyists but rather as responsible political groups with a political agenda.

Firstly all Palestinian factions should initiate a serious dialogue around both the political and economical Palestinian situation and on how to provide the public with real abilities to steadfast the expected long term struggle. Both need to get rid of the illusion that the U.S. will pressure Israel to hand Palestinians their rights.

Palestinian resistance groups should work hard to become an integral part of all issues related to the Palestinian political future and economy. Otherwise, all investment will be tuned towards ending resistance and dictating Israeli terms. Palestinian issues should not be left for the ones who in principle object to the choice of resistance, stead fasting, and standing for justice and principles.

Palestinian resistance groups concern about losing touch with the thousands of Palestinian youth who are eager to resist the occupation is a legitimate one. This factor can be the most crucial in the hardships that different Palestinian resistance groups are facing in sustaining the truce. Therefore, the truce is a real test to how solid and disciplined resistance groups are. This test needs to be successfully passed to prove their ability to lead Palestinians in the struggle for their national rights.

A unified Palestinian strategy is more needed now than ever before. There is no justification for looking at resistance groups as national legitimate groups when it comes to domestic Palestinian issues, and accept to treat them as terror groups in the negotiations with the Americans and Israelis. A unified strategy would be instrumental to force on all parties to deal with Palestinians as one party working to end the occupation and striving for peace at the same time.

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