Tahadiya is the Arabic term for calm and relaxation. In the Israeli Palestinian conflict, especially between Israel and the Hamas, Tahadiya is the word used for cease fire.
On Thursday 06/19/2008 at 06:00 a fourth Tahadiya since 01/2005, and the first one solely with Hamas, was declared between Israel and the Hamas in Gaza Strip. Generally cease fire with the Palestinians were kept for few hours, seldom for few days. The Palestinians never tried to enforce the cease fire on each faction in the Palestinian society and there were, always, groups who had their own agenda and attitude toward Israel or the Palestinian Authority.
The new Tahadiya is somewhat different since the Hamas, not like Fatah, is enforcing its authority on all the Palestinian factions whether through negotiation or through force. The strategy of Hamas, backed by Iran, is to refer to the conflict with Israel as a long term conflict supposed to last until the dismantling of Israel and the formation of an Islamic Palestinian state on all the Western Bank of the Jordan instead of Israel.
Since the conflict with Israel supposes to last many years, the build up of military power and politic legitimacy, aimed and trained for guerilla warfare and suited to the condition of Gaza, just similar to the guerilla army of Hizbullah in Lebanon, is in very high priority. The Iranian strategy is to use all the means when the time is right – when Iran will provide a nuclear umbrella to a massive rocket shelling of Israeli civilian centers by a large variety of rockets in range from few km up to 200 km. Gaza and later the West Bank are crucial to threat the Israeli hinterland. It is much more important to Iran then the daily skirmishes on Gaza border which delay the Iranian build up around Israel.
From the Iranian point of view the summer 2006 war with Israel in Lebanon was an accident and could severely endanger the long term Iranian strategy. Luckily for Iran Israel failed to achieve its goals – to dismantle the Hizbullah.
The interest of Iran and Hamas in the cease fire is clear and the Hamas, probably, will try to keep the Tahadiya just as the Hizbullah is doing in Lebanon. Meanwhile the Hamas, according to the Hizbullah model in Lebanon (See – Doha Agreement), will look for controlling not only Gaza Strip, but behind the scene, also the entire Palestinian society. Negotiation with the Fatah about national reconciliation is already taking place (See Dakar Talks ).
It seems that Israel did a bad deal but Israel is also exploiting the time to develop technology, to exercise the army in new tactics and to prepare the right answer to the threats around.
The Tahadiya is, for the moment, in the interest of both sides and it remains to be seen which side will use the time the best.