Tahdiah

This concept describes the political meaning of the current lull in the Palestinian armed struggle against Israel.

Definition

The meaning of the Arabic word Tahdiah is "quieting, pacification".1 The concept was introduced to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the context of a unilateral Palestinian declaration on a lull in the armed struggle against Israel.

Background

The word Tahdiah has no traditional or obligatory context, and its meaning is purely literal. In this aspect, Tahdiah is distinct from Hudna, which has the recognized meaning of a reciprocal truce under agreed-upon conditions for a limited time period, and its obligatory status is based on Arab-Muslim tradition.

The concept of Tahdiah was first introduced to the Israeli-Palestinian political discourse in 1/22/05, when Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Abu-Mazen, declared that the majority of Palestinian factions have reached a general agreement on decreasing terrorist activity in order to bring calm to the region.2

On 3/15/05, Cairo hosted representatives of the Palestinian faction for a round of talks aimed at reaching a cease-fire. Despite Abu-Mazen's attempts to reach an agreed-upon declaration of a year-long Hudna, the other representatives only agreed on a Tahdiah.3

Referring to the declaration, Khaled Mash'al, head of Hamas Political Bureau, stated that Hamas views the Tahdiah as a "trick within the resistance plan".4 Although the Tahdiah was not adopted by all the Palestinian factions,5 Palestinian terror has increased since the declaration.6



1 Hans Wehr, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, (London, 1974).
2 Five Years of Violent Confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians: Characteristics and Statistics, Intelligence and Terror Informational Center, 10/2/05.
3 For details see MEMRI, "Abu Mazen's Presidency: an Interim Assessment", Inquiry and Analysis Series – No. 223, May 23, 2005.
4 MEMRI, "Hamas Political Head: Calming Down is Just a Trick Within the Resistance Plan", Special Dispatch Series – No. 894, April 19, 2003. Mash'al referred to the distinction between Hudna and Tahdiah, saying: "A Hudna [cease fire] is an agreement whose terms are acceptable to both sides […] we treat this Tahdiah as a Palestinian initiative conditional to the other side fulfilling the terms."
5 See MEMRI (Ibid, note 3). Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades continued their terrorist activity. Hamas substantially decreased the volume of its activity, but continued to fire rockets at Israeli settlements.

6 According to Amos Harel, Ha'aretz, 1/2/06 (Hebrew), the Tahdiah was the main reason for the decrease in terror activities during 2005. See also: Characteristics of Terror Activity after 6 Months of "Lull", Intelligence and Terror Information Center, 8/17/05.