Kill Sinwar: Israel Threatens to Assassinate Hamas Chief After Sinwar calls for more terror attacks, Israel threatens to take off the gloves and target him
Business as usual: feeling frustrated? Disrespected? Insulted? Wounded? Go out there and kill someone. Preferably their top guy. Teach ’em a lesson. Make us feel better. But preferably kill someone who can’t do much damage in response.
After Israel repeatedly ransacked the Haram al-Sharif during the holy month of Ramadan, Palestinians have mounted six terror attacks inside Israel in the past six weeks. The most recent was yesterday, in the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad.
Who to blame? After all, we’ve got to blame someone, right? The first, and most likely culprit is Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. After all, he’s responsible for security. When it fails, he fails. There is the added “convenience” of blaming him for betraying Bibi Netanyahu and toppling his government. That’s why yeshiva students in Elad offered blood-curdling chants for Bennett’s blood.
Blame it on Hamas
So Bennett’s government is now seeking to shift the blame off his shoulders and lay it squarely on those of Hamas. We are hearing an Israeli threat to assassinate its leader Yahya Sinwar in retaliation for the attacks. After all, he praised the assailants, urging more such acts of resistance.
It doesn’t matter to Israel that its own Shin Bet, tasked with defending against such attacks doesn’t attribute any of them to Hamas. An attack that killed a security guard in Ariel, was claimed by Hamas. But a security source tells me the only attacks attributed to any terror group were the ones in Hadera and Beersheba, all attributed to an ISIS affiliate. Further, all of the attackers were lone wolves, with no previously known political affiliations. Further, if anyone is to blame, it is the Shin Bet itself, which is tasked with preventing such attacks. The very reason it failed was that the attacks were not inspired or directed by any group or any leader.
Joining with the wolves baying for Palestinian blood are “journalists” like Attila Somfalvi who betray their profession with shameful incitement like this:
This Sinwar clearly needs to be in the crosshairs sometime in the near future. But it’s depressing to think he could end his life in an Israeli jail.
Ex-IDF general and former minister, Yoav Gallant, said:
“Sinwar is a dead man and he needs to be assassinated immediately,” Likud MK Yoav Gallant told Israel’s Channel 13 news. “If it was up to me, he would be dead tomorrow. Assassinate him, no matter what the consequences are.”
A poll whose results were announced this week found that 59% of Israelis said Yes to the question: “Should Israel assassinate Yihya Sinwar.” Only 20% said No. This is a country bathed in the blood of its enemies. It does not consider long-term objectives or strategic interests, It lives by a code of pure vengeance.
But even if Hamas is not culpable, no matter. Pin it on someone. Blame someone. Anyone. Why not blame Hamas? It’s a usual suspect. One of Israel’s punching bags. Prime Minister under pressure? Popularity fading? Corruption trials jeopardizing a political career? Need a boost? Take it out on poor Gaza. It can’t fight back. It can barely defend its own territory.
That takes some of the pressure off. Diverts attention. Rallies the troops and the people to The Cause. So let’s by all means kill Sinwar. He hates us anyway. He’s our demon. The one we all love to hate.
Hamas is a concept onto which Israel may project all its fears. Hamas the terrorists. Hamas the murderers. Hamas the Nazis. Hamas the annihilationists. Say the word, and you invoke the historic suffering of the Jewish people and give it an address. The truth is that Hamas is not responsible for these terror attacks. Israel is: its rejectionism and refusal to recognize Palestinian rights are the cause of the violence. You may not invoke Hamas as Israel’s bête noir.
Got a problem? “Cut off the head of the snake.” “Mow the grass.” Except in murdering Sinwar, they’d be mowing a lawn full of skulls: Sheikh Yassine, Salah Shehadeh, Ghassan Kanafani, Ahmed Jabari, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, Yahya Ayash, and of course, Khaled Meshal (that attempt failed spectacularly). In fact the book , Kill Khaled, recounts the story of the failed Israeli assassination operation. The headline of this post echoes the book title. All these leaders (and many more) murdered in the name of…what? Deterrence? Vengeance? Just for the hell of it?
Israel Prepares for Yet Another “Operation What-the-Hell?”
To prove my point, the prime minister and security establishment are planning an “operation” to “clean out” the “terrorist dens.” They haven’t yet decided whether the “lucky winner “will be Gaza or Jenin, where several of the attackers resided. The goal, if there is anything as coherent as that, is to arrest hundreds of the usual suspects and show the Palestinians who’s boss. In reality, this is doing something just to be seen to be doing something. If you can’t stop terrorists, then do the next best thing. Punish their communities–their families, their neighbors. In international criminal law this is known as collective punishment. There’s a Geneva Convention for that. Not that Israel gives a fig about any of that mumbo-jumbo.
What was the benefit of assassinating Hamas’ leaders? What was the gain? Were any fewer Israelis killed as a result? Were any Gaza Operations (Guardian of the Walls, Protective Edge, PIllar of Defense, Cast Lead, etc.) averted? Were any fewer bullets or missiles fired? Either on Israel or Gaza? Did it break the back of Palestinian resistance? Wipe out their will to fight? Knock some sense into them? Make them wave a white flag and give up?
Or did it serve no rational purpose? Did it rather serve to cycle through new leaders, often even tougher and wilier than their murdered predecessors?
This raises the question: what is the purpose? It’s to give the semblance of action, the semblance of control. It’s to give the Israeli people the impression that its leaders are doing something, without doing anything to address the root cause. To respond to Palestinian violence with a knee-jerk need for vengeance.
This response is not rational, not effective, not strategic. It has no clear goal. It will not get Israel from Point A to Point B. It is merely reflexive. Like the Dutch boy holding his finger in the dyke to stave off the flood. But what happens when the dyke gives way? How long can he hold that finger there before the ocean behind it overwhelms him?
Killing Sinwar allows the Israeli public to feel its security forces are doing something to protect them. But it also distracts everyone from what Israel is not doing: it is not addressing the root causes of the conflict. It is avoiding the compromise necessary to achieve a full just peace for both sides. This is impossible, says Israel. This cannot be. It is taboo. So as long as this rejectionism infects Israeli politics, the Sinwars will continue to die; and the poor Israeli victims in places like Bnai Brak, Beersheva, Hadera, Ariel and Elad will continue to die. An endless cycle of useless bloodshed. A perpetual battle to the death between brothers Cain and Abel.
There are voices in Israel declaring that this emperor has no clothes:
הדיון השטחי והמתלהם על.חיסול סינוואר מגוחך. הטרוריסט הזה אחראי להרבה יותר מפיגוע אחד, והרי אין ספק בדבר *היכולת* לחסל אותו, או בהקבלה את נסראללה. השיקולים, בעד ונגד, הם הרבה יותר רחבים מ”קרא לעשות פיגועים”, והקריאות הפשטניות והשטחיות האלה מעידות בעיקר על מצוקתנו, ולא על כוחנו.
— Nurit Canetti (@Sykocan) May 7, 2022
The superficial, clamorous discussion on the assassination of Sinwar is ridiculous…There’s no question of our ability to kill him or even Nasrallah. The considerations for and against are far wider than “he called for terror attacks.” These simplistic cries mainly testify to our hopelessness, and not our power.
Gideon Levy has, as usual, offered a bracing dose of reason and humanity. Kan’s Palestinian affairs reporter, Gal Berger, weighs in with a great deal of wisdom (Hebrew).
7 thoughts on “Kill Sinwar: Israel Threatens to Assassinate Hamas Chief – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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The sad truth is the sad truth. Israeli leaders consider themselves realists we should learn from; but they do not address realities but their own phantasies and by that willfully create new realities and nightmares that will devour them and their followers. Nothing to add.
“Sinwar made the call for armed action at an iftar gathering in Gaza City on 30 April, warning Israel against harming the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.”
Four days later, terrorists struck in Elad.
Coincidence? We will find out soon enough, as the Elad terrorists have been captured, along with their axe and knives.
The Biden Administration, via Egypt, has let Israel know that America wants quiet, so Sinwar’s head will remain on his shoulders for now.
@ Not Lord Byron-Not Even Close: Suppose Avigdor Lieberman says “Death to Arabs.” And 4 days later a radical settler murders a Palestinian. Is Lieberman personally responsible for the death? Do settlers take direct orders from Lieberman? And would it be reasonable for a member of the Palestinian security service to officially under the auspices of the PA prepare a plan to assassinate Lieberman? Because that’s precisely what Israel is doing. So if you think Lieberman isn’t directly responsible and shouldn’t be assassinated, then you’re arguing in bad faith. But I’m not at all surprised.
The irony is that if the Israelis do behead Hamas, it’ll just make things that much worse for them.
On the one hand, as you note, Hamas isn’t behind the attacks; the organization could vanish tomorrow, and the attacks would continue.
On the other hand, as matters stand, the Israelis could always make a deal with Hamas; throw them a bone, and Hamas could police the radicals to some extent. If Israel gets rid of Hamas, that option vanishes. Do they really want five million Palestinians with no one who can speak for them at all?
@ Colin: Yes, it’s a perverse dance. Both Hamas and Israel in a sense need each other. Each are the other’s bogeyman. Without the other they’d have no reason to exist–or wouldn’t be able to exist. MY hope is that if there is ever a peace agreement between the two sides (unlikely as that is) and a single state, Israel’s right-wing extremists and Palestine’s extremists will no longer be able to exist. They will have to win elections and govern. If the remain extremists they will lose. The only way to win will be forging coalitions across national, religious and political lines.
IF you look at what has happened in South African post-apartheid, you see the absolute disaster of one-party rule. This is another reason why a 2-state solution, were it even possible, would never work. You would have one-party rule in each state and each party would fail each state.
“..A single state.. Israel’s right-wing extremists and Palestine’s extremists will no longer be able to exist..”
Richard: yes they will exist. And they will bring about the very incarnation of Lebanon, Yugoslavia etc. at their worst moments. To the delight of the Evangelists having their dream of Armageddon come true. As both our crystal balls are not perfect – mine says one-state is not feasible and will never happen.
“..a 2-state solution.. would have one-party rule in each state..”
Why would this apply to Israel? If we can have a multi party system now, why not then too? Ever hear of the saying “two Jews = three opinions”?
@ Eli: Beware of anyone who claims to be able to predict the future. Especially, predicting a dystopian future which accords with the brutal status quo he seeks to maintain. There is absolutely no reason to believe that a single state will turn out like Lebanon or Yugoslavia. Lebanon had a tripartite political system which divided the spoils among three religious groups. It was not a true democracy. Yugoslavia was governed by a dictator who, when he died, had done nothing to turn the country into a multi-ethnic state. Nor was it ever a democracy in which various groups learned how to co-exist in a single national entity. That’s what tore it apart.
Israel will be different because it has a functioning democracy (deeply flawed as it may be). Israeli Palestinians already participate in Israeli political life. Even Palestinians have their own political governance which could easily be reorganized within the context of a single Palestine-Israel.
So stop saying the sky is falling. It isn’t. THere are numerous examples of multi-ethnic countries who’ve managed well to include majority-minority communities in political life: Northern Ireland, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium. BTW, Sinn Fein won the recent Northern Irish elections. For the first time a republication nationalist party won a majority in the North, while in the South, Sinn Fein is polling quite well too. None of this has broken the Easter Accords though tensions between Protestants and Catholics remain. What was Northern Ireland like 20 years ago? Something like what Israel-Palestine is now: terror attacks, assassinations, military occupation. Guess what it’s like now? Pretty good, huh? Even India, as troubled as its history has been, has managed to create a democracy that includes the Hindu majority and Muslim minority.
I could care less what your crystal ball says. It’s covered in miasma which doesn’t allow you to see anything clearly.
You don’t have a multi party system. You have a system with a few main right wing parties. Every other party is tiny and weak. Even the so-called centrist parties are versions of the right wing parties. Likud, Kahol Lavan, Yesh Atid: the difference between them is infinitessimal. Especially on the Palestine issue.
First, you’re not talking about “Jews.” You’re talking about Israelis. Your slogan is: Three Israeli Jews, one opinion.
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