On Saturday, the IDF fired rockets at a truck carrying Muhammad Dahdouh, an Islamic Jihad commander. He died at the scene (see video). Israel accused him of organizing the firing of Grad rockets into Israel. But the IDF rockets also killed members of a Palestinian family driving in a nearby taxi: Fadi Amman, 4, his mother Hanan Amman, 29, and his grandmother, Naima Annan, 45. Another family member was seriously wounded along with four others.
I’m not here to tell you that Israel has no right to be concerned about Palestinian rocket fire; nor to say that this threat is not serious (especially after a rocket just blasted through he roof of an empty Israeli classroom in Sderot). It is. But how can Israel justify the killing of so many innocents in order to kill one allegedly guilty man? Is it worthwhile killing so indiscriminately for the sake of ridding Israel of yet another enemy? After all, Islamic Jihad will only fill its ranks with a new recruit who will easily take his place. Organizing rocket firings isn’t exactly nuclear physics and there will certainly be many lined up to replace Dahdouh’s.
But who will take the place of the poor Fadi, killed today along with his mother and grandmother? How will the father replace the affections of his son, wife and mother, all killed by a rocket aimed at another man? Won’t the family’s bitterness help create another ten Dahdouh’s?
I’m pleased to say there is at least one guilty conscience within the Israeli Knesset. The NY Times reports:
Yossi Beilin, the leader of the dovish Meretz party, called for the government to stop its policy of assassination strikes that kill innocent people as well. He said on Israeli radio that the killing of Mr. Dahdouh was insufficient justification for the killing of a small boy, his mother and grandmother.
I find it interesting that currently neither Haaretz‘s nor YnetNews‘ English-language website are carrying Beilin’s statement. Unfortunately, Beilin doesn’t necessarily have the ear of Ehud Olmert or Amir Peretz. He sits in the minority in Knesset. But I hope to God someone will listen to reason. For the sake of its moral reputation (tattered as it is), the blood of the innocent should be honored by ending this horrible counter-terror policy.
And I have a few choice words for the militants who fired that rocket that landed on an Israeli classroom in Sderot. Luckily, the school was holding a morning prayer session so the room in question was empty. A few minutes earlier or later and there would have been indiscriminate mayhem. Speaking of which, how different is it between indiscriminately killing a Palestinian family via IDF rocket fire and indiscriminately killing Israeli schoolchildren via Palestinian rocket fire? Will someone please tell the idiots on both sides that they’re both despicable murderers of innocents. How does killing schoolchildren advance the cause of Palestinian freedom? When will the militant morons wise up? When will Hamas tell Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees (who provide many of the rocketeers) to wise up and shut up?
After Peretz ordered an investigation into the incident, the IDF released this pro forma statement quoted by YnetNews:
The IDF said it was continuing to investigate the unintended killing of three Palestinian civilians last night. “The IDF is distressed by any harming of citizens uninvolved in fighting, and if Palestinian civilians were killed by IDF gunfire, the operational lessons will be learned with the aim of continuing to decrease the risk of harming innocent civilians in the futures,” an army-issued statement read.
Blah, blah, blah. They’ve been there, done that and said that when innocents have died before. They continue to die. Nothing’s changed. Peretz was supposed to bring a change in IDF policy. He was supposed to help the IDF present a more human face than his bloodthirsty predecessors like Shaul Mofaz. We’ll see if any real change is in store.