Rantissi 2: A minute’s silence by British MPs for Sheikh Yassin

April 19, 2004

* Will the British foreign minister explain why the killing of Uday and Qusay Hussein was justified and "productive," but the killing of Abdel Aziz Rantisi was not?

* Swedish PM - whose government pays for exhibitions glorifying Palestinian suicide bombers - calls killing of Rantissi "disgusting"

* Jenny Tonge does it again: British MPs holds minute's silence for Hamas head Sheikh Yassin

(This is a follow-up to Dr Abdel al-Rantissi, 'the Pediatrician of Death,' in his own words; and other reaction, April 18, 2004.)


1. Swedish PM: Israel's behavior is "disgusting"
2. (London) Daily Telegraph: "Their weeping seems perfectly sincere"
3. (London) Times: "A defeatist West has found an outlet in Israel-bashing"
4. Complete lies in the Arab Press today
5. Ha'aretz: No mean feat for Israel to avoided civilian casualties
6. Jerusalem Post: "Will the British foreign minister explain why the killing of Uday and Qusay Hussein was justified and 'productive,' but the killing of Abdel Aziz Rantisi was not?"
7. Jenny Tonge does it again: British MPs holds minute's silence for Sheikh Yassin



[Note by Tom Gross]

Further to that given in yesterday's dispatch, here is some more world reaction:

Prime Minister Goeran Persson of Sweden - whose government pays for exhibitions glorifying Palestinian suicide bombers - yesterday used language even beyond that used by some Arab dictators when he called Israel's killing of Rantissi "disgusting".

The Japanese Foreign Minister believes the killing of Rantissi was "thoughtless."



The Daily Telegraph, London
April 19, 2004

Barbara Amiel writes [Extract only]:

"Moral indignation over the deaths of Yassin and Rantissi remains impossible to fathom. One would be relieved if the Independent or Robin Cook were shedding crocodile tears but their weeping seems perfectly sincere. The existence of monsters such as Yassin and Rantissi only forces more civilised people into measures that spill blood on decent hands. That is a tragedy indeed, but that is about all one can mourn.

"Trying to serve a judicial warrant on Hamas leaders, deliberately living among the civilian population, would cause scores more innocent deaths than targeting them from a helicopter. None of us likes "extra-judicial" measures, but it is hypocrisy laid on with a trowel to suggest that psychotic beings such as Yassin and Rantissi are anything other than murderers in cold blood."

(Barbara Amiel is a long-time subscriber to this email list.)

(Tom Gross adds: Robin Cook is the former British Foreign Secretary, and even though he is no longer in government, he can't resist attacking Israel regularly.)



The Daily Telegraph, London
April 19, 2004

Mick Hume writes [Extract only]:

"It seems as if a downbeat, defeatist mood within the West has found an outlet in Israel-bashing. When protesters carry those banners declaring that 'We are all Palestinians now', it is not about supporting their right to political self-determination. It is about empathising with Palestinians as the ultimate victims of our victim-centred culture, somehow wanting to purge our guilt by feeling their pain and suffering.

"Jenny Tonge, the Liberal Democrat MP, was sacked for claiming that she could feel where Palestinian suicide bombers were coming from. But her revelling in their feelings of powerlessness and oppression spoke for many today."



Complete lies continue in the Arab media too, as well as the Western media. For example, Ad-Diyar (Beirut) reports today (Monday, April 19, 2004) that since Ariel Sharon met with US President George W. Bush, on Bush's "green light," Sharon has been "bombing women and children" in Gaza.



The Israeli leftist paper Ha'aretz writes today:

"Saturday's assassination of Abdel Aziz Rantisi was the product of intelligence work and operational calculations. The Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet knew exactly when Rantisi would be exposed to an attack that would cause minimal harm to innocent Palestinians near him.

"There can be no lack of respect for Saturday's show of professional expertise and strength by Israel's defense establishment. Knocking off Hamas leaders is not, in itself, policy. If these acts aggravate risks faced by the State of Israel and its citizens, they are wrong.

"Conversely, if they are likely to restrain Hamas and lead it toward the route of a cease-fire and encourage the organization to work out practical arrangements with the Palestinian Authority prior to the withdrawal of IDF troops and settlements from Gaza - then the assassinations should not be ruled out."



Justified and productive
The Jerusalem Post
April 19, 2004

* "They had the opportunity to hand themselves to justice and answer for their crimes. They refused to do this. It goes without saying that we would have much preferred this, but the news that Saddam's sons are no longer a threat to the security of Iraq will be a reassurance to the Iraqi people."

-- Jack Straw, July 22, 2003, on the killing, by US troops, of Uday and Qusay Hussein

* "One has to treat such claims and proposals by al-Qaida with the contempt they deserve. This is a murderous organization which seeks impossible objectives by the most violent of means."

-- Jack Straw, April 16, 2004, on the proposal, by Osama bin Laden, to arrange a truce with Europe

* "Unjustified and counterproductive."

-- Jack Straw, April 18, 2004, on the killing, by Israeli forces, of Abdel Aziz Rantisi

WILL THE British foreign minister explain why the killing of Uday and Qusay Hussein was justified and "productive," but the killing of Abdel Aziz Rantisi was not? All three are, or were, leaders of what the British government defines as terrorist organizations.

Will the minister also explain why it is unthinkable for European countries, including Britain, to negotiate with al-Qaida, while it is not only thinkable, but necessary, for Israel to negotiate with a Palestinian regime implicated in Hamas's terrorism? All bin Laden asks of Europe is what Europe asks of Israel, which is to get out of Arab lands. If that demand is reasonably made of Israel, why is it any less reasonably made of Europe?

And will the minister tell us why, in June 2002, after describing suicide bombers as "misguided and depressed," he went on to say that "behind those people are some very evil terrorist leaders who do not put their own lives on the line when they are making sure that others' lives are ended." Was this not a description of people like Rantisi and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, whose killing last month Straw also condemned in the strongest possible terms?

At least former French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin was consistent when he warned that the killing of Uday and Qusay would contribute to the cycle of violence in Iraq. That's a foolish view, but it is not a hypocritical one. Straw's view, however, is hypocritical. It is also foolish and at variance with his previous statements.

The minister says Israel may act against the likes of Rantisi, but only within the parameters of international law. That suggests that Rantisi ought to have been arrested and tried, not killed.

Well then: Arrested how, and by whom? Maybe we have missed the minister's calls for the Palestinian Authority to meet its responsibilities under the road map to "undertake visible efforts... to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning attacks on Israelis." But if the minister has in fact issued such calls, he hasn't made them with the force and indignation of his denunciations of Israeli action.

Maybe the minister will allow that Rantisi may lawfully be arrested by Israel. But wouldn't that require an unlawful entry by Israeli troops into Gaza City? And would it not also have entailed a much larger loss of life? And possibly the use of military components supplied by Britain? This last the minister is on record as strongly opposing.

To follow the minister's pronouncements to their logical conclusion, Israel may take no measure in its self-defense except to arrest suicide bombers when they reach Israeli soil, which is as good as no defense at all. Alternatively, he believes Israel must resume negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, notwithstanding the failure of the PA to take steps against terrorist organizations and the evidence that it is deeply implicated in terrorist activity.

This is foolishness. Either the minister accepts Israel's right to take what efforts it thinks necessary against terrorism, or he must demand the PA do the same and make it pay a price if it doesn't. So far, the minister's government does neither.

It is noteworthy that after Saturday's killing of Rantisi, Hamas would not name its new leader. The bravado is gone. They are afraid. This will not prevent future attacks on Israel. But it puts paid to the lie that attacks on Hamas only embolden it. In that sense, Saturday's strike has served a purpose.



(This is an update to the dispatch of January 26, 2004, titled For and against: the British MP who would be a suicide bomber.)

Jenny Tonge does it again
Lib Dem MP in fresh Israel storm
The Daily Telegraph, London
April 8, 2004

Liberal Democrat Jenny Tonge was sacked from her party's front bench in January, for saying that, in different circumstances, she might consider becoming a suicide bomber.

Three months down the line, the Richmond Park MP is embroiled in a new row over her sympathy for the Palestinian cause after chairing a meeting in Parliament last week on "The Crisis in the Middle East".

The meeting, which followed the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin, was supported by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and had Left-wing MPs George Galloway and Jeremy Corbyn in attendance.

So far, so unsurprising.

But towards the end of the meeting, Tonge agreed to hold a minute's silence in Yassin's memory.

Her apparent show of support for a terrorist - in the Houses of Parliament of all places - has created a stink among Britain's Jewish community.

"I cannot think of anything more inappropriate than a Member of Parliament chairing a silence in memory of the creator and leader of a terrorist body responsible for hundreds of murders," says Lord Janner, vice-chairman of the British-Israel parliamentary group.

Asked by the Daily Telegraph to explain herself, Tonge said yesterday: "One speaker got up and asked for a minute's silence. I asked the meeting whether they wanted to do it and they backed it by a majority of about two to one."

Was this not insensitive to Hamas's victims? "We don't want to get into that debate here. There are victims on both sides. What was I supposed to do?"

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