Israel National News – Arutz Sheva spoke to Dr. Edy Cohen, expert in Middle Eastern affairs, on the way deals for the release of hostages are perceived in the Arab media and on the Arab street.
Dr. Cohen believes that to the Arab world the hostage deal is nothing more than proof of Israel's surrender to Hamas.
For them it is a ‘hudna,’ meaning a long-term ceasefire known from Islamic history, when Prophet Muhammad made a ‘hudna’ with his enemies and signed this contract for ten years. Arab media and social networks state that according to the ‘hudna’ Israel has lost and Hamas has won – proof of this is the fact is that we were forced to release imprisoned terrorists and we have submitted to Hamas dictates regarding the drones that we were not allowed to operate during certain hours. All these bring them to the conclusion that Hamas has been victorious," says Dr. Cohen.
Regarding the historical Muslim meaning of the term ‘hudna,’ as an expression of weakness of a Muslim who is forced to sign an agreement, Dr. Cohen says that this was relevant at the time of Muhammad who signed the agreement with the infidels in the Hudaybiyah region, an area in Saudi Arabia. "They don't look at it that way. To them Israel has surrendered, it failed to defeat Hamas, and because of the internal pressures to release our hostages, it surrendered to Hamas' dictates."
Does Arab society not have a certain degree of appreciation for Israel that is willing to pay a high price for the lives of its citizens? "No," Cohen replies and advises us to get to know the Arab mentality that is also reflected in Hamas behavior, which did not even consider the importance of asking for the bodies of the terrorists held by Israel. The terrorists believe that they are on their way to heaven and their bodies have no value. This kind of statement, he explains, silences criticism heard in places, such as the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, where questions arise about the cost of Hamas's terrorist attack on Israel.
Dr. Cohen points out the proof of the Arab claim that Israel has surrendered, in Israel’s willingness to negotiate after it announced at the beginning of the campaign that it would not have any negotiations about the matter. Hamas, he says, claims that the proposal that has now been accepted, was already made at the beginning of the war, but was rejected. There is a half-truth in this statement because the initial proposal that was made was 'all for all,' i.e. all the terrorists imprisoned in Israel, about 6000 terrorists, in exchange for all the hostages.
According to Cohen, Israel has accustomed the Gazans to rounds of fighting followed by periods of quiet until the next round. Now they are convinced that this time will be the same, even if it is a little more intense. This time there is also international pressure, public pressure on the government, investigative committees, and eventually things will return to their normal.
And what about the day when the IDF returns to crush Gaza. Is the Arab media concerned? Dr. Cohen answers in the negative and clarifies that their concerns are not expressed publicly, contrary to what is happening in the Israeli media. "They don't talk about things like that."