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.