Yassin 2: “Spiritual brother of Osama bin Laden”

April 12, 2004

* Yassin 2: "This man was as evil as they come, a spiritual brother of Osama bin Laden."



1. Editorial, Providence Journal, Rhode Island
2. "Ahmed Yassin was a Godfather of Terror..."
3. "Yassin killing was necessary for protecting the lives of civilians" (By Danny Yatom, Maariv, March 23, 2004)
4. "Hamas Sheik earned his violent death" (Detroit News, Editorial, March 23, 2004)
5. "Our voice is one of struggle, of jihad and of suicide..."
6. "Yassin fell victim to hatred he preached" (By Rosie Dimanno, Toronto Star, March 24, 2004)
7. "Sheikh Yassin was up to his eyeballs in blood..."
8. "No one need shed a tear for the sheikh..."
9. "His death is one small step along the path away from perpetual war"
10. Charismatic Islamist whose hardline stance won him a popular following

[Note by Tom Gross]

This email is a continuation of Yassin 1: Charming and Witty? I attach 10 articles here. To save space, summaries only are included in this email, not full articles.

The editorial by the Detroit News is significant, as Detroit is a city with a large Arab population many of whom are Christian Arabs who have spoken out in favor of Yassin's death. The Detroit News writes: "This man was as evil as they come, a spiritual brother of Osama bin Laden."



1. Editorial, Providence Journal, Rhode Island:

"Sheikh Yassin's expressed mission was to destroy Israel and replace it with a fascist Islamic state a paradise for those who enjoy stoning people for adultery, where women are discouraged from reading or writing, where there are few political or social liberties, and where the media are largely a propaganda machine, rife with exhortations to kill the Jews. Welcome to the Dark Ages. When one side's aim is the destruction of an entire state, and the other side has the effrontery to try to defend itself, mayhem is inevitable, but appeasement makes matters worse."


2. Editorial, The Sun, (Britain's best-selling tabloid, owned by Rupert Murdoch, and one of the few pro-Israeli newspapers in Europe.):

"Being "spiritual leader" of Hamas is not like being the Archbishop of Canterbury. Ahmed Yassin was a Godfather of Terror, the man who founded the Palestinian killing machine and the inspiration for more than 50 suicide bomb attacks on Israel. Critics of Israel say that country has aborted the peace process. They're wrong. Over the years Palestinian bombers have repeatedly blasted peace hopes to smithereens taking hundreds of innocent Israeli men, women, and children with them. Why did Foreign Secretary Jack Straw go weak at the knees over Yassin's death? He said Israel's action was "very unlikely to achieve its objectives." Wrong: it has achieved its objective because one more terrorist mastermind is dead."


3. "Yassin killing was necessary for protecting the lives of civilians" (By Danny Yatom, Maariv, March 23, 2004).

[Note by TG: Danny Yatom is former head of the Mossad and is now an MK for Israel's opposition Labor Party.]

"Yassin was not only a religious and spiritual mentor but also a military leader who determined the murderous nature of the Hamas's attacks... The killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin could not be avoided. Hamas, which Yassin led, is a terrorist organization whose purposes are destroying the State of Israel, killing as many Israelis as possible and wrecking any chance for peace between us and the Palestinians... A democratic state must take every step necessary to protect its residents.

"... in the war against terror, words are not enough. Every member of the terrorist organizations must be targeted... Killing Yassin will not stop the terrorism. In the short-term, it is likely to increase it. However, the attack could damage Hamas's medium-range ability to perpetrate attacks and cause serious long-term damage.

"The fact that Israel dared to kill Yassin may also prompt the Palestinian Authority to begin acting against the terrorists. Hamas suffered a very serious blow. There is no one visible on the horizon who is capable of replacing Sheikh Yassin. It is likely that the PA, whom Hamas also threatens, will take advantage of the confusion within the organization to take a stronger position against it..."


4. "Hamas Sheik earned his violent death" (The Detroit News, Editorial, March 23, 2004).

"Israel scored a victory in the global war on terrorism Monday by finally dispatching Sheik Ahmed Yassin... The death of the squeaky voiced cleric, one of the most deadly men in the world despite being nearly blind and wheelchair bound, brings a welcome end to a career built entirely on perfecting the use of terror to influence the political process...

"... This man was as evil as they come, a spiritual brother of Osama bin Laden. He worked to subvert every attempt to bring peace to the region and had openly committed himself to the destruction of the Jewish state. Yassin was not a political leader; he headed a terrorist organization. There is no distinction between what Hamas does in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and what al-Qaeda did in New York on September 11 and is suspected of doing in Madrid earlier this month. Yassin got exactly what was coming to him. Israel owes no apologies for his death..."


5. The Detroit News, Sidebar, March 23, 2004

Yassin on terror

What Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said about suicide bombings and other terrorist acts during an interview last year with the Muslim Web site Alskifa:

* "Suicide attacks and jihad reinforce national unity in the ranks. Proof of this can be seen from the fact that all factions commit such attacks."

* "We have, in the past, accepted a cease-fire for one week or two in order to comply with the internal wishes of the Palestinians; however, a decision to completely halt [terrorist] activities would definitely be rejected."

* "Our voice is one of struggle, of jihad and of suicide. Victory or death for the path of Allah. Palestine from the sea [Mediterranean] to the river [Jordan], from Nakoura [in the north] to Rafah [in the south]."

* "I maintain that Iraq could win if it equipped its citizens with explosive belts and turned them into human bombs."


6. "Yassin fell victim to hatred he preached (By Rosie Dimanno, Toronto Star, March 24, 2004).

"Bomb-mangled commuter buses, blood-splattered survivors wandering in a daze, the keening of mourners: These are the images of the second intifada in Israel, an orchestrated uprising that has achieved not a sliver of its purported aim. Or maybe there is no point beyond the random killing of Jews, a scatter-shot genocide by attrition, where murder becomes so commonplace that it takes on the blanched hues of mere nuisance.

"Bald numbers cannot compete with the emotionalism of photographs and news footage. But it's instructive to remember that suicide bombings in Israel were more than halved in 2003 from the previous year, dropping from 54 to 20; Israeli deaths resulting from such attacks fell by half over the same period.

"... The Arab world is in acute lamentation over Yassin's extermination, which says a lot about what passes for leadership in societies infused with choler, where wickedness is bred in the bone, and where the very idea of Israel as a sovereign state, with the right to exist, is anathema. Yassin was an arch-terrorist by any definition of the term, a viper in a wheelchair, and if his murder is now inducing shrill promises of revenge from radical groups that actually have little use for each other, sharing only an irreversible enmity for Israel, then it only underscores how depraved some societies have become, how far they have slithered away from even the most basic respect for human life.

"Those who cheer the death of innocents can expect to find little sympathy when they mourn their own. Yassin died the victim of what he preached undiluted, unbridled hatred and the veneration of violence to achieve political ends..."


7. Editorial, New York Post:

"Sheikh Yassin was up to his eyeballs in blood. It's hard to see how his removal from the equation is anything but a step forward for peace in the Middle East, at least in the long term. And a step forward for the rest of the world, as it will serve to remind would-be terrorists that some of their enemies fight back."


8. Editorial, The National Post (Canada):

"No one need shed a tear for the sheikh. No major Hamas bombing or missile attack on Israel was carried out without his personal approval. And there have been many. Sheikh Yassin was an enemy combatant, a man who has marked himself as fair military game through his decision to dispatch dozens of killers into Israel. What is "excessive" about dispatching an arch-terrorist along with three aides and bodyguards? No one outside Yassin's entourage was killed. To us, this sounds surgical rather than "disproportionate." Few terrorists deserved "martyrdom" more than Yassin. In the long run, his death will make the Middle East a safer place."


9. Editorial, The Australian:

"While there is little chance that the killing of Yassin will end the terror, the brutal reality is that Israel has nothing to lose. His death will demonstrate Israel is not an inert target and that it will do more than try to catch the suicide bombers before they strike. Despite the denunciations of Israel's action, practical Palestinian politicians who know the Jewish state cannot be destroyed will not regret the death of Sheikh Yassin. His death is one small step along the path away from perpetual war."

10. [I attach this as an example of how a leading paper can make Yassin sound like a nice guy. This is the full article.]


Charismatic Islamist whose hardline stance won him a popular following
By Sharmila Devi
Financial Times
March 23, 2004

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was one of the most recognisable Palestinian figures after Yassir Arafat, possibly enjoying even more popularity than the veteran leader as the Palestinian Authority became mired in allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

Hamas has carried out hundreds of attacks since Yassin co-founded the movement in 1987 to further the struggle against Israel and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinian support for the group has grown in parallel with the PA's seeming impotence, with many attributing it to the charisma of a man who was a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic, and almost deaf.

Yassin was born near the port city of Ashkelon, now in Israel. He became a refugee after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and moved to Gaza, where the vast majority of the 1.3m Palestinians are also refugees. A sporting accident at the age of 12 left him paralysed but he married and fathered 11 children.

As a student in Egypt, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood and was arrested during a sweep of activists after an attempted coup against President Gamal Abdel-Nasser in 1965. Back in Gaza, Yassin had by 1968 become one of the most prominent Muslim Brotherhood figures.

At the start of the first intifada, or uprising, in 1987, he helped to establish Hamas, which in Arabic is an acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement and means zeal.

The group was a blend of Palestinian nationalism, Islamic ideology and a network of welfare institutions. In 1988, Yassin directed the group's expansion into the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Israel did not formally outlaw the group until 1989, having previously backed its inception as a counterweight to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. But the group's espousal of violence led to Israel arresting Yassin and about 200 other Hamas members.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment for ordering attacks on Israeli soldiers and Palestinians suspecting of collaborating with Israel. But an embarrassed Israel was forced to release Yassin in 1997 in exchange for two Mossad agents held by Jordan's King Hussein after a failed assassination attempt on another Hamas leader in Amman.

By the time Yassin returned to Gaza in 1997, Israel had signed the Oslo accords and handed over parts of the occupied territories to the PA. Hamas opposed the accords and carried out a number of suicide bombings in the mid-1990s, which killed dozens of Israelis.

Disillusionment with the PA's ability to liberate and rule their lands drew more Palestinians to agree with Hamas' hardline stance, upheld by Yassin as spiritual leader. However, he hinted at a possible compromise in recent years when he said Hamas might temporarily accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and let following generations try to win more.

Thousands of Palestinians flowed into the streets of Gaza yesterday to express their grief for a man who they felt best expressed their aspirations.

"The Palestinian people do not have Apache helicopters or F-16s or tanks or missiles," Yassin said in 2002. "The only thing they have is themselves to die as martyrs."

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.