≡ Menu

Targeted Killing as a Silver Bullet

avraham stern

Avraham Stern, one of Israel’s first targeted killings

Today in Haaretz, one of Israel’s best columnists, B. Michael, penned a brilliant piece of satire based on a major event in the history of Mandatory Palestine.  In 1942, the rightist Zionist militias Etzel and the Stern Gang had been engaging in a massive terror campaign.  The British authorities decided to strike decisively in order to decapitate them.  They’d been tracking the most wanted Jewish terrorist in Palestine, Avraham Stern.  He’d eluded them every time.  But his luck ran out in a little house at 28 Mizrahi Street in Tel Aviv.  There a British detective, Geoffrey Morton, cornered his prey.  When Stern came out of a closet of the bedroom, Morton shot him twice and he died.  The announcement said Stern had been apprehended and shot in the process of attempting to flee.  Anyone who reads IDF accounts of its murder of cornered Palestinian fugitives will recognize the script.

This was perhaps the first targeted killing in the history of Israel.  But certainly not the last.  One of the latest was the assassination attempt on Mohammed Deif.  It’s in this context that Michael wants us to view the Stern murder.

He portrays a distraught Morton tossing and turning in his bed, unable to sleep because of the enormity of taking Stern’s life in cold blood:

But the days after the [Stern] killing eased Morton’s mind considerably.  They proved to him how effective and blessed was his act [of murder].  The very next day Lehi dissolved itself completely.  Its members gave themselves up to the police and scattered everywhere.  Even Etzel and the Haganah hurried to give up their weapons to the police and they swore allegiance to the British crown.  Within a month all the institutions of the Yishuv were closed.  The Jewish people gave up their aspiration for an independent state.  Even the words of HaTikvah were changed to mark this: “The hope of thousands of years to be a colony in our own land, the Land of Albion and Jerusalem.”

So, the rest is well-known: by dint of that wise targeted assassination on Mizrahi Street the British Mandate continues to rule in Israel-Palestine to this very day.

These are precisely the sentiments I’ve expressed here after almost every Israeli assassination.  But satire brings home the point even more powerfully.  If the assassination of Avraham Stern failed to stem the movement for national independence in Mandatory Palestine, why will the murder of Deif turn back the movement for Palestine?  Of course it won’t.  In fact, Palestine will win just as the campaign for Israeli independence reached fruition in 1948.  The only question is how many bodies will it take before the inevitable is realized?  How many murdered Sterns and Deifs before Israel’s leaders are, like those of apartheid-era South Africa, forced to accept destiny?

Similarly, the U.S. counter-terror policy of drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Somalia will not address the root causes of the success of jihadism.  They are a band-aid placed on a fatal wound.  To fight jihadism you must engage in serious and constructive ways with the Muslim-Arab world.  You cannot send planes by remote control to kill people and believe this is a real policy.  It is policy built on quicksand.

Bufferfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail
youtubeyoutube
{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Herman August 24, 2014, 12:54 AM

    What do you mean by mentioning “jihadism” this way?

  • Oui August 24, 2014, 1:20 AM

    Same sentiment I expressed yesterday about Bush/Rumsfeld/Ms Clinton and Obama. Of course, Bush/Cheney copied urban warfare and treatment of Muslim prisoners from their ally in the ME. Do I see similarity in Homeland security and treatment of concentrated masses in Ferguson. Former St. Louis County police chief did visit Israel for training …

    Clinton’s 21st Century Statecraft and the Land of the Two Rivers

    This information, especially the social media reaction to Secretary Clinton’s brainwave of the ThinkAgain_DOS warfare on the Internet, confirms ISIS has its roots in the March 2003 invasion of Iraq and the hurt this caused Muslims in Iraq, the region and across the globe with 1.4 billion Muslims. This was all too predictable! Ms Clinton is so 20th century with her abrasive tactics on the political scene and in a position of power. I’m glad a young senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, beat her to the job in the White House. An overview of the damage caused …

    I ended with:

    Rumsfeld Likens al-Zarqawi to Hitler

    FORT BRAGG N.C. (AP) May 26, 2005 — In a pep talk to thousands of paratroopers, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld likened al-Qaida’s reportedly wounded chief in Iraq to a cornered Adolf Hitler during the final days of Nazi Germany.

    “Like Hitler in his bunker, this violent extremist, failing to advance his political objectives, now appears committed to destroying everything and everyone around him. … Like the Japanese kamikaze attacks at the end of World War II, the suicide bombings by the followers of al-Zarqawi are a sign of desperation.”

    ##

    Remember President Obama killed Anwar Al-Awlaki by a drone attack in Yemen because of his sermons/broadcasts across the Internet and his magazine Inspire. {In failed attempts the U.S. killed perhaps over 100 Yemenis of the Awlaki tribe, especially by use of cruise missiles on 24 December 2009] Assassinate one and a dozen are inspired. Using Israel’s Sharon/Netanyahu as proof of this futile exercise.

    Remember Hajo Meijer in your prayers today.

    • Oui August 24, 2014, 1:29 AM

      Today’s headline of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Out of Balance
      Few area police forces reflect the community they serve.

      I noted a single exception in the Metropolitan area: University City, a suburb with a large Orthodox Jewish community. I believe that isn’t coincidental and I posted the proud photo of its police force: 43% black, same percentage as their community. That is showing leadership … well done!

    • Elisabeth August 24, 2014, 12:45 PM

      I will. Our youngest son was named Hajo after him.

  • Oui August 24, 2014, 1:37 AM

    Cleansing of words used by Dutch journalist so it’s not seen offensive to Israel …

    “Israel fighter jets dropped two bombs and the 12-story appartement building fell down.”

  • Arie Brand August 24, 2014, 1:59 AM

    “This was perhaps the first targeted killing in the history of Israel.”

    The killing of Jacob Israel de Haan by Avraham Tehomi on the orders of the Haganah (and thus its then chief Yitzhak Ben-Zvi) took place in 1924. In his case too the ideas he stood for didn’t die, neither was there ever a lack of people representing these.

  • Oui August 24, 2014, 4:52 AM

    Before 2001, there were perhaps a handful of young men [pdf] traveling to Chechnya, Yemen and Pakistan. Today in The Netherlands alone, this number has increased into the hundreds. The idiots in The Hague still don’t get it.

    A news broadcast earlier this week:
    Item 1: Today’s TV Journal showed respect for the death of journalist Tm Foley in Syria.
    Item 2: PM Mark Rutte made a strong statement: “we are a nation of civility and will never accept the ideology of murderous terror.” He announced an increased spending for the military [!] and new legislatiom to make it illegal to advocate support for terror groups.
    Item 3: Friday prayers and the sermon by the Imam of a mosque in Rotterdam. Condemning such violence as we have seen by IS in Iraq. The Islam is a religion of peace, charity and mercy. Interview with a young man from the mosque, didn’t quite grasp the intention of the sermon and was on the fence whether Islam terror in Iraq is different from US invaders killing hundreds of thousands of Muslims across the globe.
    Item 4: an interview with former Shin Bet chief Danny Yatom where he explained how efficient Israel has become to assassinate Hamas political and military leaders. It always brings a shock to their organization.

    The Dutch with Geert Wilders and a poor, poor leadership in government have gone absolutely MAD!

    “Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror,” Rumsfeld wrote in a
    memo to his top staff 11 months ago. “Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists
    every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?”

    [Source: Rummy: ‘Long, Hard Slog’ In Iraq – Oct. 2003]

    How many lives have been lost across the globe in the War on Terror from Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Mali, Libya, etc.? The Muslim youth in western Europe can’t get their heads around the hypocrisy. And then Israel, Sharon, Netanyahy, and US Islamophobes added some more hateful ingredients to continue the slaughter.

  • nessim dayan August 24, 2014, 8:21 AM

    any truth abouth iran shooting down israeli drone?

  • Bob Mann August 24, 2014, 7:13 PM

    Can you please give us some more information about the drone story? Iran is claiming to have shot down an Israeli spy drone. What are your sources saying about the accuracy of this?

    • Arie Brand August 25, 2014, 2:17 AM

      Haaretz reports the Iranian claim without deciding on its veracity.

      Just as a reminder – a poll at the end of 2013 found:

      “According to this year’s Worldwide Independent Network (WIN)/Gallup International End of the Year survey, the international community believes Israel is among the top threats to world peace right now.
      The poll, which included over 66,000 people from 65 countries, asked respondents a variety of questions about how they viewed the world, including which country they thought was the greatest threat to peace, reports the BBC. The United States was deemed the greatest threat by a wide margin, garnering 24 percent of the vote. With eight percent of the vote, Pakistan was a distant second, and China rounded out the top three with 6 percent.
      Not to be left out, Israel made the top five, however, ending up in an unenviable veritable tie for fourth place along with Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea.

      This is not the first time Israel has been named an international threat to world peace, of course. A 2003 poll commissioned by the European Union ignited controversy after it showed 60 percent of Europeans see Israel as the greatest threat to world peace, reports the Guardian. That poll, which included a sample of 7,500 people from 15 EU countries, struck a nerve with officials like Israel’s diaspora affairs minister at the time, Natan Sharansky.”

      Yes, you guessed it. This European delusion was all due to anti-semitism:

      “The fact that the majority of Europeans sees Israel as the main danger … is additional proof that behind the ‘political’ criticism of Israel stands pure anti-Semitism,” Sharansky said. “The EU, which shows sensitivity on human rights issues, would do well to stop the rampant brainwashing against and demonizing of Israel before Europe deteriorates again to dark sections of its past.”

  • Laguerre August 25, 2014, 5:53 AM

    The story of the release of the journalist Peter Curtis is a story to follow. Held hostage by Jabhat al-Nusra, he’s been taken to Tel Aviv of all places for a medical check-up. No doubt you’re following the story, but it’s another sign that Jabhat al-Nusra and Israel collaborate. Previous indication is the following story if you haven’t seen it:

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/08/14/375300/fsa-commander-in-cahoots-with-israel/

    • Oui August 25, 2014, 8:58 AM

      Blindfolded, I would say pure propaganda. Statement made under duress while prisoner of the Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham. This Salafist group is sponsored by Saudi Arabia, so what else would a FSA prisoner say and written by the Times of Israel?

      Video was uploaded to YouTube by the Executive Sharia Council in the eastern Daraa Region, an Islamic court established by Al-Nusra. A year ago it was alleged Israel {Unit 8200] worked with the US government in favor of Al Nusra (Saudis) against Assad, Hezbollah and Iran. Al Nusra holds the Syrian border with Jordan and the Golan Heights. See recent article – “Anti-Assad rebels said to seize 95% of Syrian Golan Heights.”

      • Laguerre August 26, 2014, 5:16 AM

        I’m sorry, whose propaganda? I can’t see who is supposed to be benefiting. In any case, you’ve misunderstood the point, O expert. Who is holding Yarmouk? Yes, Jabhat al-Nusra. Now why are they holding Yarmouk hostage against the Syrian government, preventing it being resupplied, when the Palestinians are for Asad? I’ll leave you to guess.

        • Oui August 26, 2014, 11:43 AM

          Palestinians are for Assad is fiction. Hamas is affiliated with MB in alliance with Turkey, [former president Morsi of Egypt] and Qatar. Khaled Mashal left Damascus and makes his home in Qatar.

          “In mid-2011, Yarmouk came to be at the heart of the Syrian crisis. No one imagined it would remain neutral, but no sane person ever figured that much of the camp would raise their weapons in the face of Syria. The camp’s most prominent group is Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis Brigades (Brigades in the Environs of Jerusalem), formed by members of Hamas.”

          The Palestinians of the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus have been under attack by the regime forces ever since. Jordan closed its border for Palestinian refugees because of special status responsibility UNRWA.

          “Mass starvation, disease and hopelessness abound in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus.”

  • Oui August 25, 2014, 3:50 PM

    #OpSaveGaza and hackers hadtaken down the Israeli government website [gov.il] earlier today. Just now the phone system and servers are hacked sending Israeli families the Gaza message “You have ten minutes to get out.” Pls verify.

Leave a Comment