History of Hamas - 2004—A 10-year Truce

2004—A 10-year Truce

In January 2004, Hamas leader Yassin said that the group would end armed resistance against Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem, and that restoring Palestinians' "historical rights" (relating to the 1948 Palestinian exodus) "would be left for future generations." On January 25, 2004, senior Hamas official Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi offered a 10-year truce, or hudna, in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state and the complete withdrawal by Israel from the territories captured in the 1967 Six Day War. Al-Rantissi stated that Hamas had come to the conclusion that it was "difficult to liberate all our land at this stage, so we accept a phased liberation." Israel immediately dismissed al-Rantissi's statements as insincere and a smokescreen for military preparations. Yassin was killed in a targeted killing on March 22, 2004, by an Israeli air strike, and al-Rantisi was killed by a similar air strike on April 18, 2004.

From the time of an attack on the Israeli southern town of Be'er Sheva in August 2004, in which 15 people were killed and 125 wounded, a truce was generally observed. Hamas violated it in August 2005, with an attack on the same bus station, wounding seven, and in several attacks on Israeli motorists—killing six.

At the end of January 2004, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell mandated Steve Cohen, a U.S. official, to meet with Hamas officials, according to the French newspaper Le Canard enchaîné. The mission was not only to inform the U.S. about the Hamas objectives, according to the newspaper, but also to evaluate if it could represent a counterbalance to al-Qaeda. In exchange for such cooperation, according to Le Canard, Hamas officials asked for the end of extrajudicial targeted killings carried out against them by the Israeli military.

While Hamas boycotted the 2005 Palestinian presidential election, it did participate in the 2005 municipal elections organized by Yasser Arafat in the occupied territories. In those elections it won control of over one third of Palestinian municipal councils, besting Fatah, which had traditionally been "the biggest force in Palestinian politics". With this electoral success behind it, Hamas contested the 2006 elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council as the main component of the List of Change and Reform.

Read more about this topic:  History Of Hamas

Famous quotes containing the word truce:

    Our whole life is startingly moral. There is never an instant’s truce between virtue and vice.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)