Commentary Magazine


Oh, So THAT’S What They Mean…

The other day, I discussed the rather unique definition of “truce” put forth by Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group that is also the government of the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip. Well, they’ve elaborated a bit, with an announcement that they would entertain a resumption of the “truce” with Israel.

We now have enough data points correlating Hamas’s use of certain terms with their  deeds, and can begin constructing a lexicon:

Truce: A period during which Hamas limits its offensive actions to rockets and mortar shells, smuggles in more and more weapons, and Israel is not allowed to hit back.

This is most likely based on the Islamic concept of a “hudna,” which is a temporary cease-fire while the Muslims re-arm and prepare to fight again. It is based on the time Mohammed was facing defeat at the hands of the tribes who held Mecca. He declared a ten-year cessation of hostilities, withdrew, marshaled his forces, then returned and conquered Mecca two years later.

Resumption of hostilities: Hamas increases the rocket and mortar attacks, resumes suicide bombings, and other attacks. Israel is still not allowed to hit back.

War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, Atrocities: Israel hits back.

Innocent Civilians: Anyone killed or wounded by Israel.

Legitimate Military Targets: Anyone within Israel. Also, any thing within Israel, including pizza parlors, buses, and Passover celebrations.

Occupation: What Hamas is resisting, even though there is not a single Israeli within the Gaza Strip.

Humanitarian Relief: Bombs, explosives, and other weapons.

The trick to dealing with groups like Hamas is to remember that they don’t speak the same language. As long as you can keep a running translation of propaganda-to-English going, it’s fairly easy to follow.

The problem is that so many people — especially the press — don’t register the language barrier.

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