Robert Rosenberg reports in Ariga.com that senior Kadima security official, Avi Dichter, is calling for the imprisonment or assassination of Hamas’ legislative leader, Ismail Haniye:
…Former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter promise[s] to either arrest the designated Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniye, ‘or send him to meet with Sheikh Ahmed Yassin,’ the Hamas founder who was assassinated by Israel…
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has joined in according to Haaretz:
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Tuesday that the pace of Israeli assassination operations would continue, and that Israel could even target Palestinian prime minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh if Hamas renewed terror attacks on Israelis…
“If Hamas as a terror organization faces us with this challenge of the state of Israel confronting a terrorist organization, no one there is immune, not just Ismail Haniyeh, no one there is immune,” Mofaz told Army Radio, echoing comments over the past several weeks by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s security adviser.
“We will continue with this pace of focused preventations [sic],” Mofaz said, using an official euphemism for assassinations…
“The moment Hamas chooses the path of terror, there is no question here of political or non-political (leadership). This would be a terrorist leadership, and therefore none of its members would be immune,” Mofaz said.
Admittedly, these types of bellicose statements from Israelis leaders are always made to score points and we are in an election campaign. Remember that Ehud Olmert himself floated as a trial balloon in the pages of the Jerusalem Post the idea of assassinating Yaser Arafat. But the problem with statements like this is that they take on a life of their own. And once they leave the mouth, they have a habit of activating an itchy trigger finger. Besides, one could argue that no one had elected Arafat democratically as Palestinian leader. The same cannot be said for Haniye, who was elected by the Palestinians to their new parliament and designated by Hamas to be speaker. How can someone like Dichter even think of making such an unbuttoned remark unless he wishes to reveal his utter contempt for Palestinian democracy and the Palestinian people? I’m not naive enough to think that Dichter would feel any such constraints. But someone ought to tell these Kadima gangsters that suggesting that a Palestinian leader ought to sleep with the fishes doesn’t look too good in the eyes of the international community, which generally frowns upon nations which liquidate the elected leaders of other countries.
Rosenberg also notes the problematic nature of Olmert’s recent proposal to unilaterally disengage from some 90% of the West Bank while attempting to fix an internationally-recognized border roughly along the route of the Separation Wall:
There’s an eagerness among Israelis to believe that more ‘unilateral disengagements’ will make their lives quieter, which is about the most Israelis hope for nowadays — peace, as a viable concept is pretty much off the agenda. Olmert’s message is not he’ll bring peace, but that a Kadima government will draw Israel’s final borders. But considering the final borders that Kadima’s spokesmen are talking about essentially carve the West Bank into small enclaves of Palestinian ‘self-rule’ that the Israelis want to call a state, and leave much more than 7-8 percent along the Green Line in Israeli hands, it is highly unlikely that the ‘unilateral disengagement’ will guarantee Israel anything other than more conflict with the Palestinians and more international disapproval.
All Dichter said was that if they shoot Israelis then the Israelis will shoot back, and do it effectively. It’s called deterrence and is a proven method of preserving the PEACE.
Dan Sniderman says
I don’t see a lot of peace being preserved in Israel and Palestine. Especially with the concept of “firing back”. NPR did a decent job covering the Katusha attacks from Gaza to southern Israel. Palestinian militants have upped the level of rocket attacks and the IDF has responded with very heavy barrage attacks. The Israeli family’s were almost as disturbed by the Israeli barrage as the rockets. The “firing back” certainly hasn’t brought ANY peace – both figuratively and literally.
Speaking from the position of the American Jewish Left – I don’t think any of us deny the need for self-defense and sensible security.
But the cycle of violence has continued unabated for over fifty years. Attack, reprisal, attack, reprisal. Both sides look at the other as the instigator.
You can talk about justification, and from a certain point of view I respect (but disagree with) even justice. But it’s delusional to believe that this behavior will lead to peace.
Yeah that’s been working out real well.
That deterrence you speak of works both ways. These statements may be election year posturing but its a little irrational to make threats, ones that are legitimized by past actions, against a democratically elected government and not expect them to feel as though they need to defend themselves as well.
From the BBC:
“Mr Mofaz’s comments came a day after two Islamic Jihad militants and three other Palestinians were killed in an Israeli air strike on a car in Gaza City.”
Can someone please point me to the Palestinian act of violence that prompted this action? Considering HAMAS has observed a ceasefire over the last year it seems downright idiotic to give them justification to start new attacks. Or is that the problem? Not enough blood spilt lately for right-wing politicians to make hay over? Assholes.
Richard Silverstein says
Elemental: I think what the Israelis would say is they’re targeting Islamic Jihad militants & not Hamas for execution. Since IJ hasn’t accepted the ceasefire & continues attacks against Israel unabated, Israel feels their operatives are a legitimate target.
Richard Silverstein says
FredW: You poor deluded soul! Hamas is observing a ceasefire with Israel. It has not engaged in terror attacks in a year. It has never indicated that it would resume terror attacks. So there was no reason other than political grandstanding during an election campaign (in which the bellicose Likud is their chief worry) to issue threats to Hamas about resuming terror.
Israel didn’t merely say it would “shoot back.” It said it would assassinate Hamas’ top elected political leader. Do you understand the difference?