“If Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made a truce with the Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.16).
Note that this can only be done if “Muslims are weak,” so that they can gather strength to fight again — not so that they can live peacefully with non-Muslims indefinitely. The same legal manual also quotes this verse of the Qur’an: “So do not be fainthearted and call for peace, when it is you who are the uppermost” (47:35). So Hamas would not be calling for a truce at all if it felt it was in a position of strength. “Interests that justify making a truce are such things as Muslim weakness because of lack of numbers or materiel, or the hope of an enemy becoming Muslim . . .” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.16).
The bottom line: Hamas is feeling the heat and wants a truce in order to regroup and emerge in a stronger position.
“Hamas leader ready for truce with Israel,” by Damien McElroy in the Telegraph, February 9 :
One of the most senior leaders of Hamas has claimed that the radical Islamist movement is ready to embrace a prolonged truce with its bitter enemy Israel.
In the first Hamas interview with the Western media since last month’s ceasefire in Gaza, its deputy leader Musa Abu Marzouk told The Daily Telegraph that the Palestinian group was ready for a period of “calm”.
A chandeliered room in the Syrian capital Damascus – where several Hamas leaders live in exile – is a long way from the ruins of the Gaza Strip but a weary frustration with the deprivations of war was pervasive.
“We need to rebuild the buildings destroyed in the aggression,” said Mr Marzouk. “We need to treat the wounded – more than 5,000 need serious treatment. We need to help all the families without food and shelter. We need the gates of Gaza to open to lift the siege.
“All this can only be dealt with by period of calm between the two sides.”
Hamas negotiators have been instructed to accept the terms of a ceasefire pact negotiated by Egyptian mediators in Cairo.
Hamas regards its offer as a Tahdia, an Arabic word indicating non-aggression in a stand-off, usually described as a “calm”. A longer-term Hudna, or ceasefire, would be withheld until a peace agreement that would see Israel withdraw from Palestinian territory.
“Israel owns the West Bank and Gaza Strip right now but if it withdrew from these and let the Palestinians have access to Jerusalem, we would turn our face to rebuild our lives and live alongside as in other parts of the world,” said Mr Marzouk.
Israel owns the Gaza Strip? Really?