Yassin 1: Charming and Witty?

April 12, 2004

* Yassin 1: No Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela

 

CONTENTS

1. "Why the uproar?" (By David Pryce-Jones, Jerusalem Post, March 25, 2004)
2. "Pakistan: More than 50 terrorists killed" (AP, March 25, 2004)
3. "Shed no tears over the killing of the sheikh of hate," (By Michael Gove, Times (London), March 23, 2004)
4. "Israel is not alone in picking off its enemies" (By Marcus Gee, Globe and Mail (Canada) March 26, 2004)



[Note by Tom Gross]

"A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS MAN"

While the BBC Gaza correspondent was busy describing Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as "polite, charming and witty, a deeply religious man" and the Financial Times was lauding him as a "charismatic Islamist" responsible for "a network of welfare institutions," (forgetting to tell their audiences how hundreds of Israeli children have been killed, and left disabled and in wheelchairs as a result of Yassin's orders), here are some differing views from Israel, Britain, and Canada.

This dispatch is divided into two emails for space reasons, and contains articles supportive of Israel's actions. The writers of the three commentaries included here David Pryce-Jones (senior editor of the National Review), Michael Gove (Associate editor of the London Times), and Marcus Gee (writer for the Canadian Globe and Mail) are all long-time subscribers to this email list.

 

SUMMARIES

1. "Why the uproar?" (By David Pryce-Jones, Jerusalem Post, March 25, 2004). "At the very moment when an Israeli helicopter was targeting Yassin, American and British special forces, with Pakistani soldiers in support, were engaged in a fire-fight against a substantial unit of al-Qaida on the Pakistan-Afghan border. President George W. Bush has repeated several times that he would like to capture al-Qaida leaders dead or alive. If the opportunity were to arise for any or all of these special forces, Western or Pakistani, to kill bin-Laden or Zawahiri as expeditiously as Yassin was killed, they would take it without hesitation.

"Both Christians and Muslims, in other words, are defending themselves with the very same measures and moral values as Israelis. What, then, explains the uproar of indignation and condemnation released by the killing of Yassin? Can British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw really believe that his description of Yassin as "an old man in a wheelchair" is a necessary or sufficient definition? The EU foreign ministers in collective session have declared that the killing "undermines the concept of the rule of law." Did that concept have any meaning either for Yassin or for those who attacked the Madrid railway station? Will observance of the concept be enough to thwart further terror attacks anywhere in Europe?

Beyond the usual humbug of diplomatic discourse, there seems to be an anxiety to pretend to Arabs and Muslims that all is well when evidently it is not. It is as if Arabs and Muslims were children who mustn't hear the truth; that assorted Islamists are destabilizing Islamic countries and dragging them by the scruff of the neck into suicidal wars with the neighbors...

... Yassin rejected the existence of Israel in any shape or form and led jihad to eliminate it. His specialty was the recruiting and dispatching of suicide bombers. He wanted to kill Jews and didn't mind how many Muslims died in the process. Israel, he prophesied in a recent interview, would finally collapse in 2007. For him, then, peace meant war, and so he was the victim of his own violence..."

 

2. "Pakistan: More than 50 terrorists killed" (By Munir Ahmad, The Associated Press, March 25, 2004).

[Tom Gross writes: I attach this article, for two reasons: to illustrate the military action that David Pryce-Jones was referring to in his article above; And to show how the world's biggest news agency, the Associated Press, repeatedly uses the word terrorist or terrorism (without applying quotes) on nine occasions in this article. AP almost never uses the word terrorist or terrorism when Israeli children are blown up, just when non-Jews are killed. While Pakistan killed 50 terrorists this week, the EU, UN, Arab League, etc, remained silent.]

The AP report begins:

"More than 50 terrorists have been killed in Pakistan's largest military operation yet against suspected al-Qaida fighters and local sympathizers in its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, a top official said Thursday.

Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayyat vowed that the operation in South Waziristan, which began 10 days ago, would continue until the "complete elimination" of terrorists holed up there.

"Over 20 terrorists have been killed in the operation so far and it is expected that 30 to 35 more dead bodies of terrorists will be recovered as the operation concludes," Hayyat told lawmakers in a National Assembly debate. He did not identify the terrorists or say whether they were foreigners or local tribesmen.

Meanwhile, Brig. Mahmood Shah, chief of security in Pakistan's tribal areas, said Thursday that authorities were interrogating 163 captured suspects, but were yet to determine their identities. He acknowledged that some terrorists might have escaped at the start of the operation..."

[Full article below]

 

3. "Shed no tears over the killing of the sheikh of hate" (By Michael Gove, The Times (London), March 23, 2004).

"Sixty-two years ago the British Government pulled off one of its most daring wartime coups in the heart of Nazi-occupied Europe. A team of four agents, backed by the Czech Government in exile and trained by MI6, succeeded in assassinating Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia whose brutal rule had earned him the title, "the Butcher of Prague". In January 1942 he had presided at the Wannsee Conference which initiated the Holocaust. But on May 27, 1942 he was ambushed by Czech fighters as he drove out of Prague. The Nazi state accorded Heydrich a magnificent funeral and Hitler mourned a soulmate whom he considered "irreplaceable". The Germans then inflicted a terrible revenge, making an example of the Czech village of Lidice, killing every male over the age of 16.

Targeted killings are, as you can see, morally fraught. The assassination of Heydrich deprived the Nazi killing machine of one of its spiritual leaders. But that strategic gain was secured at the price of a backlash, in which innocent lives were lost.

Like Heydrich, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was the intellectual organiser of a mass murder campaign directed against Jewish civilians...

[Gove, who is not Jewish, and who is a friend of mine, continues] "... I may therefore risk putting myself out on a limb in the media community saying this, but I'm afraid I find the ambition to wipe Israel off the map repellent, the worship of death indefensible and efforts made to halt Hamas's uncompromising campaign of terror completely understandable. I can no more mourn Sheikh Yassin's death, in all conscience, than a Briton could have shed an honest tear for Reinhard Heydrich in 1942..."

[Gove's article, attached below, is worth reading in full.]

 

4. "Israel is not alone in picking off its enemies" (By Marcus Gee, The Globe and Mail (Canada) March 26, 2004).

"Within hours of the Israeli missile attack that killed Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin this week, scolding fingers began to wave. Germany, France, the European Union, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and a host of Arab countries all condemned Israel's decision to kill the terrorist leader. Even Washington, Israel's greatest backer, said it found the attack on Sheik Yassin, whose organization is blamed for 52 suicide bombings that have killed 288 Israelis, "deeply troubling." [Tom Gross adds: Hamas have carried out considerably more bombings than 52 and killed many more than 288 Israelis.]

Gee continues: "That was a classic example of chutzpah unmitigated effrontery. For the fact is that many of the countries now admonishing Israel have themselves targeted their worst enemies for death in time of war or in fighting terrorism.

Among the first to chide Israel was Jack Straw, British Foreign Secretary. As Mr. Straw is perfectly aware, the British security forces often hunted down agents of the Irish Republican Army during their long years of struggle with the IRA. In the most famous incident, 16 years ago this month, the elite Special Air Service anti-terrorism unit shot down three unarmed IRA agents in Gibraltar...

... Extrajudicial killings, as the EU called Sheik Yassin's, are clearly out of bounds in peacetime. But at times of armed conflict, warring nations have always considered it within their rights to do away with enemy commanders. During the Second World War, the United States shot down the plane carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, mastermind of the attack on Pearl Harbour. He was killed.

There are much more recent examples. In November, 2002, the United States killed a senior al-Qaeda agent in Yemen using missiles fired by a Predator drone aircraft, a targeted killing if there ever was one. The Yemen operation closely resembled the attack on Sheik Yassin, who was also done in by a missile fired from a distant aircraft, in his case a helicopter.

... After terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, then president Bill Clinton ordered a cruise-missile attack on a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. Washington would have liked to finish off Mr. bin Laden then and there, but failed..."



FULL ARTICLES

WHY THE UPROAR?

Why the uproar?
Christians, Muslims are defending themselves with the very same measures, moral values as Israelis
By David Pryce-Jones
The Jerusalem Post
March 25, 2004

"Blood will have blood" is the grim observation Shakespeare puts into the mouth of Macbeth. Unlike that character, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin did not kill in person, but he organized murder, a great deal of it. He strove all his life to make a reality of the mind-set of the Muslim Brotherhood, in which good Muslims everywhere at last assert their deserved supremacy over irredeemably bad Christians and Jews. Compromise is excluded. The only available options are victory or martyrdom.

An unlikely figure with several severe physical disabilities, wheelchair bound all his adult years, Yassin nonetheless founded Hamas and thereby gave himself responsibility for the Palestine sector of the wider Islamist struggle. Palestine, he believed, was a land exclusively reserved by God for Muslims. With a consistency that has to be acknowledged, he rejected the existence of Israel in any shape or form and led jihad to eliminate it. His specialty was the recruiting and dispatching of suicide bombers. He wanted to kill Jews and didn't mind how many Muslims died in the process. Israel,he prophesied in a recent interview, would finally collapse in 2007. For him, then, peace meant war, and so he was the victim of his own violence. Blood will have blood.

Far and wide, from Morocco to Indonesia and Nigeria, personalities exactly in his mould are struggling in their sectors to implement the Muslim Brotherhood mind-set. For the likes of Osama bin-Laden, Ayman Zawahiri, and al-Qaida, compromise also means surrender, and peace means war.

At the very moment when an Israeli helicopter was targeting Yassin, American and British special forces, with Pakistani soldiers in support, were engaged in a fire-fight against a substantial unit of al-Qaida on the Pakistan-Afghan border. President George W. Bush has repeated several times that he would like to capture al-Qaida leaders dead or alive. If the opportunity were to arise for any or all of these special forces, Western or Pakistani, to kill bin-Laden or Zawahiri as expeditiously as Yassin was killed, they would take it without hesitation.

Both Christians and Muslims, in other words, are defending themselves with the very same measures and moral values as Israelis. What, then, explains the uproar of indignation and condemnation released by the killing of Yassin? Can British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw really believe that his description of Yassin as "an old man in a wheelchair" is a necessary or sufficient definition? The EU foreign ministers in collective session have declared that the killing "undermines the concept of the rule of law." Did that concept have any meaning either for Yassin or for those who attacked the Madrid railway station? Will observance of the concept be enough to thwart further terror attacks anywhere in Europe?

Beyond the usual humbug of diplomatic discourse, there seems to be an anxiety to pretend to Arabs and Muslims that all is well when evidently it is not. It is as if Arabs and Muslims were children who mustn't hear the truth; that assorted Islamists are destabilizing Islamic countries and dragging them by the scruff of the neck into suicidal wars with the neighbors.

The absolute rulers of the Arab and Muslim world make it difficult for themselves, it is true, by playing to the street in the hope of earning popularity. President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt says that the killing of Yassin is a "completely meaningless and miscalculated Israeli action." In 1998 Yassin had just been released from an Israeli prison after a botched Mossad assassination attempt on another Hamas organizer (and both the attempt and the release really were miscalculated actions). He then toured Arab states collecting millions of dollars for Hamas. At the time, Mubarak had been energetically suppressing his Islamists, hanging them by the hundreds, and he made sure to refuse Yassin an entry visa. His current fury is a pretense.

Similarly, King Abdullah of Jordan speaks of the crime of killing Yassin; but, like his father, he has taken every measure to throttle Hamas in his own country. As for Arafat, he and his men have often shot it out with Hamas and engaged in kidnapping, illegal imprisonment, and other skulduggeries in what amounts to subterranean civil war. In spite of the three days of mourning he has decreed, Arafat is freed, at no cost to himself, from the main rival to his monopoly of power. President Pervez Musharraf is on the front line for the time being because Islamists have several times come close to murdering him, and he knows that he has to kill them before they kill him.

Hamas rhetoric promises to open the gates of hell, and of course it is possible that the death of Yassin will activate the Palestine sector of the Islamist struggle to frenzies of revenge and suicide bombings. Ariel Sharon and most of his government evidently decided that this was a risk worth taking. The implication must be that Israel will indeed be withdrawing soon from the Gaza Strip, to shelter as best it can in isolation behind its fences while the Palestinians sort their society out. The previous withdrawal from southern Lebanon was certainly another miscalculation, not in itself but because it was carried out with slipshod haste. Palestinians jumped to conclude that Israel was on the run, and might run further.

As Sharon resorts to his time-honored tactic of showing strength in the face of violence, Hamas is in no position to claim with any plausibility that withdrawal from Gaza is another step towards Sheikh Yassin's goal of victory through the elimination of Israel. Nor is there anyone of equivalent authority or credentials to succeed Yassin. At least one report of his funeral mentioned a surprising atmosphere of depression in Gaza, partly because of the suspicion that some informer must have provided crucial information to Israeli intelligence and partly out of a general sense that the intifada has run its course.

The Arab and Muslim world is caught between a past that will not release its grip and a future not quite able to come to birth. Sheikh Yassin had no solution to this dilemma. His inhuman passion could only ensure that blood will have blood. Everyone, Palestinians first and foremost, is better off without him.

(David Pryce-Jones is senior editor of National Review. His book The Closed Circle is about to be published in Hebrew by Zmora Bitan.)

 

PAKISTAN: MORE THAN 50 TERRORISTS KILLED

Pakistan: More than 50 terrorists killed
By Munir Ahmad
The Associated Press
March 25, 2004

More than 50 terrorists have been killed in Pakistan's largest military operation yet against suspected al-Qaida fighters and local sympathizers in its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, a top official said Thursday.

Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayyat vowed that the operation in South Waziristan, which began 10 days ago, would continue until the "complete elimination" of terrorists holed up there.

"Over 20 terrorists have been killed in the operation so far and it is expected that 30 to 35 more dead bodies of terrorists will be recovered as the operation concludes," Hayyat told lawmakers in a National Assembly debate. He did not identify the terrorists or say whether they were foreigners or local tribesmen.

Meanwhile, Brig. Mahmood Shah, chief of security in Pakistan's tribal areas, said Thursday that authorities were interrogating 163 captured suspects, but were yet to determine their identities. He acknowledged that some terrorists might have escaped at the start of the operation.

His comments further fueled speculation that a "high-value" terrorist suspect said by some officials last week to be al-Qaida No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahri had escaped.

In the National Assembly, opposition lawmakers chanted slogans and staged a walkout to protest the operation, the largest since Pakistan threw its support behind the U.S.-led war on terrorism in late 2001. Lawmakers protested the government had not "taken Parliament into confidence" over the operation.

"We have plunged into a such a war which has no end," said Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the leader of the hardline religious coalition Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal. "The whole country is in the grip of uncertainty."

On Thursday, a 30-member delegation of tribal elders were on a peace mission in the battle zone, near the main South Waziristan town of Wana, seeking the release of 14 Pakistani troops and officials taken captive by hundreds of militants who have been fighting thousands of army forces.

The elders, who left on their mission on Wednesday, were also trying to convince local supporters of al-Qaida to turn over foreign terrorists to the government to avoid a "massive military onslaught," residents and officials said.

Army spokesman Gen. Shaukat Sultan said he had no information on whether the mission had succeeded. "We have not received any response from them," he said.

Pakistan's military had set a Thursday 10 a.m. deadline for the al-Qaida fugitives to surrender themselves and free the hostages. However, there was no fighting reported in the area immediately after the deadline passed, and Shah said the deadline could be extended.

He also told GEO television network that the government was expecting a positive response from the tribal elders. "People should not take these deadlines so seriously. We can extend it," he said.

It was not clear what authorities would do if their demands were not met, although a senior military official involved in the operation said on condition of anonymity that the army would start "a massive onslaught."

The operation in South Waziristan has angered local tribesmen who resent the military's presence in the region. At least two dozen civilians are believed to have died in army firing on vehicles. The military has declined to give full details about its casualties, but officials says at least 30 soldiers have been killed.

 

SHED NO TEARS OVER THE KILLING OF THE SHEIKH OF HATE

Shed no tears over the killing of the sheikh of hate
By Michael Gove
The Times (London)
March 23, 2004

Sixty-two years ago the British Government pulled off one of its most daring wartime coups in the heart of Nazi-occupied Europe. A team of four agents, backed by the Czech Government in exile and trained by MI6, succeeded in assassinating Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia whose brutal rule had earned him the title, "the Butcher of Prague". In January 1942 he had presided at the Wannsee Conference which initiated the Holocaust. But on May 27, 1942 he was ambushed by Czech fighters as he drove out of Prague. The Nazi state accorded Heydrich a magnificent funeral and Hitler mourned a soulmate whom he considered "irreplaceable". The Germans then inflicted a terrible revenge, making an example of the Czech village of Lidice, killing every male over the age of 16.

Targeted killings are, as you can see, morally fraught. The assassination of Heydrich deprived the Nazi killing machine of one of its spiritual leaders. But that strategic gain was secured at the price of a backlash, in which innocent lives were lost.

The assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin raises its own moral questions. Like Heydrich, the Sheikh was the intellectual organiser of a mass murder campaign directed against Jewish civilians. The organisation he set up in 1988, Hamas, has been responsible for hundreds of civilian deaths, including the killing of at least 20 young people outside the Dolphinarium disco in Tel Aviv in June 2001, the murder of 15 people at the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem in August 2001 and the bombing of a commuter bus in Jerusalem in June 2003 which claimed another 15 lives.

These killings have been in pursuit of an ideological agenda as uncompromisingly anti-Semitic and as spiritually dedicated to violence as National Socialism itself. Hamas believes that Israel has no right to exist, Palestine must be purged of the Zionists from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea and a fundamentalist Islamic state erected on its territory. The Hamas covenant proclaims: "there is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours." The covenant also makes clear who are to be targeted, the Jews, who are held responsible, inter alia, for both world wars, control of the world media and the creation of "Zionist organisations under various names and shapes, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, espionage groups, and others".

Yesterday, the BBC correspondent, Zubeida Malik, described Sheikh Yassin on The World At One as "polite, charming and witty, a deeply religious man". On the same programme the Arab journalist Abdul Bari-Atwan, editor of the influential newspaper Al-Quds, memorialised him as "a moderate man in his way".

Some people in the BBC may consider it witty to call for the elimination of the Jewish people from their homeland. Others might consider it the charming hallmark of a deeply religious man to recruit, incite and inspire young men to kill civilians. And clearly it is no bar to success in Arab journalism to define as "moderate" someone who thought the Jews started both world wars and continue to run the globe through their manipulation of the media and the all-powerful Rotary International. I may therefore risk putting myself out on a limb in the media community saying this, but I'm afraid I find the ambition to wipe Israel off the map repellent, the worship of death indefensible and efforts made to halt Hamas's uncompromising campaign of terror completely understandable. I can no more mourn Sheikh Yassin's death, in all conscience, than a Briton could have shed an honest tear for Reinhard Heydrich in 1942.

But what will the consequences of Israel's actions be? Might this assassination lead to a backlash that could be avoided? It is a question that should weigh heavily on Israel's Government, and on all of us who have a moral stake in fighting fundamentalist terror.

I'm inclined to agree with the view Jack Straw outlined in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday. The Foreign Secretary argued that weakness in the face of fundamentalist outrages was more provocative than a strong counter-attack. Referring to al-Qaeda's activities throughout the 1990s he said, "the evidence was very clear that Osama bin Laden was becoming increasingly emboldened by the lack of reaction". Mr Straw now concludes that "we should have hit al-Qaeda sooner".

The evidence from the Middle East reinforces the point. Whenever Israel has been perceived as irresolute, as when Ehud Barak withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, the terrorists have drawn the conclusion that their violence is working. Perceived Israeli weakness led to an escalation of Palestinian violence, with Yassir Arafat's launch of the second intifada a few months later.

Now that Ariel Sharon is withdrawing forces from the Gaza Strip, the risk is that a similar conclusion, that Israel is weakening and violence is working, will be drawn. In such circumstances the best means of ensuring that terrorists do not feel emboldened is to make sure that those who organise the terror campaigns lose by their actions. And that prompts a final question. What would have been more likely to hearten Heydrich's comrades in arms at his funeral in June 1942? International condemnation of reckless British action and a global demand that Winston Churchill resume talks to tackle Germany's longstanding grievances? Or an implacable commitment to fight democracy's enemies until those bent on genocide laid down their arms?

 

ISRAEL IS NOT ALONE IN PICKING OFF ITS ENEMIES

Israel is not alone in picking off its enemies
By Marcus Gee
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
March 26, 2004

Within hours of the Israeli missile attack that killed Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin this week, scolding fingers began to wave. Germany, France, the European Union, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and a host of Arab countries all condemned Israel's decision to kill the terrorist leader. Even Washington, Israel's greatest backer, said it found the attack on Sheik Yassin, whose organization is blamed for 52 suicide bombings that have killed 288 Israelis, "deeply troubling."

That was a classic example of chutzpah unmitigated effrontery. For the fact is that many of the countries now admonishing Israel have themselves targeted their worst enemies for death in time of war or in fighting terrorism.

Among the first to chide Israel was Jack Straw, British Foreign Secretary. As Mr. Straw is perfectly aware, the British security forces often hunted down agents of the Irish Republican Army during their long years of struggle with the IRA. In the most famous incident, 16 years ago this month, the elite Special Air Service anti-terrorism unit shot down three unarmed IRA agents in Gibraltar. Going back further, to 1942, four British-trained agents backed by the Czech government-in-exile assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia, who was one of the architects of the Holocaust.

Extrajudicial killings, as the EU called Sheik Yassin's, are clearly out of bounds in peacetime. But at times of armed conflict, warring nations have always considered it within their rights to do away with enemy commanders. During the Second World War, Germany shot down a plane it thought contained Winston Churchill, and the United States shot down the plane carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, mastermind of the attack on Pearl Harbour. He was killed.

There are much more recent examples. In November, 2002, the United States killed a senior al-Qaeda agent in Yemen using missiles fired by a Predator drone aircraft, a targeted killing if there ever was one. The Yemen operation closely resembled the attack on Sheik Yassin, who was also done in by a missile fired from a distant aircraft, in his case a helicopter.

Ever since Yemen, Washington has been careful what it says about Israel's targeted killing of Palestinian terrorists, attacks that it used to denounce routinely. This week, American spokesmen would only say that the U.S. position on targeted killing is clear, declining to restate what that policy actually is. It also made clear that it regarded Sheik Yassin as a terrorist, responsible for the murder of many Israelis.

After all, it is clear that the United States would kill Osama bin Laden in a blink if it had the chance. It has tried in the past. After terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, then president Bill Clinton ordered a cruise-missile attack on a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. Washington would have liked to finish off Mr. bin Laden then and there, but failed.

As the commission studying the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks reported this week, Washington often considered killing Mr. bin Laden after that, but always pulled back, either because it feared civilian casualties or because it thought the attempt would fail. In one case, CIA director George Tenet advised that U.S. forces could kill Mr. bin Laden legally only if his death occurred during an attempt to capture the al-Qaeda leader.

Those qualms now look misguided. Richard Clarke, the anti-terrorism official whose commission testimony has been grabbing headlines, [says he] urged his masters to launch an assault on al-Qaeda before it killed hundreds of Americans. They didn't listen. We know the result. How much better it would have been for the world if Washington had killed Mr. bin Laden before he unleashed his horrors.

Israel argues that Mr. Yassin was their Osama bin Laden. He may not have ordered every suicide bombing, but his role as the guiding hand of the ongoing war against Israeli civilians made him a legitimate target.

It is hard to argue with that. Mourned now as a "spiritual leader," a frail holy man confined to a wheelchair, he was in fact the founder of a movement whose purpose was to erase the state of Israel from the slate of history. His glorification of martyrdom and demonization of Israel helped create the cult of death that now drives Palestinians to strap explosives to their bodies and climb on Israeli buses.

Whether it was wise to kill him now is another question. The risks of creating a martyr and provoking revenge attacks are obvious. But Israelis don't need other countries preaching to them about how to fight terrorism.

If those countries were in Israel's place, they might well do exactly the same thing. Some of them already have.


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