Ilana Mercer, March 26, 2004

Nothing about Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas, the Murder Inc. of the Middle East, was divinely inspired. Contrary to the descriptions, Yassin was not the Dalai Lama of Gaza. Yet this wicked bag of bones was – and still is – labeled as a “spiritual leader.”

To call him a “moderate” is no less of a misrepresentation, unless one is referring to unforeseen developments in theology. This (now gratefully) dead yahoo had deigned to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza – only if it were to be used as a temporary base to destroy Israel.

Both al-Qaida and the native Palestinian terror networks are comprised of killers who target innocent non-combatants. Their mission and tactics are identical. Yet al-Qaida is referred to appropriately and almost unanimously in the media as “a terrorist network,” and its capo di tutti capi – bin Laden – is dubbed “Public Enemy No. 1.” Yet, Hamas – the organization that pioneered and perfected the diabolical “suicide attack” – is mostly given a free pass in news reports.

Hamas’ ghastly acts are seldom spoken of as “terrorism,” or its agents of death as “terrorists.” The Agence France-Presse went so far as to finesse a recent Hamas bloodbath as “a joint operation carried out by hardline Palestinian groups” (emphasis mine). When describing Palestinian terrorists, the American media generally prefer such labels as “suicide attacks” or “suicide bombings.” These are invariably committed by “militants,” not murderers – tough guys, not terrorists.

Since September 2000, Hamas has murdered 377 “Israelis,” wounding over 2,000 more. Members of the press like the unqualified term, “Israelis.” It exempts them from reporting that the slaughtered are all innocent civilians. Which is exactly the point.

In The Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz, Harvard law professor and indefatigable civil libertarian, elucidates the moral components of the vortex of terror and counterterror, action and reaction into which the Palestinians have plunged Israel. He observes that the number of innocent Israelis killed intentionally by Palestinians is considerably higher than the number of innocent Palestinians who have been killed accidentally by the Israel Defense Force.

The vast majority of Palestinians killed by Israelis are directly involved in terrorist activity. Those not directly involved were killed accidentally in the course of legitimate military actions against terrorists. ” Israel‘s moral responsibility for these accidental, although often foreseeable, casualties of war,” he avers, “is in no way comparable to the responsibility of Palestinian terrorists who have deliberately targeted every single Israeli civilian victim.”

This distinction, one would presume, is a no-brainer: “Every reasonable school of philosophy, theology, jurisprudence and common sense distinguishes between deliberately targeting civilians and inadvertently killing civilians while targeting terrorists who hide among them” (emphasis mine). Nevertheless, anti-Zionist bigots, who understand the difference between accidental death and willful murder in “other contexts,” embrace moral relativism when it comes to the Jewish state.

Professor Dershowitz makes one other particularly chilling observation:

Israel has nothing to gain and everything to lose from inflicting civilian casualties. The opposite is true for the Palestinian terrorists. Palestinian casualties play in their favor, and Israeli casualties play in their favor.

Indeed, the reason quite a few pundits, the United Nations and other masters of moral equivalence look benignly on those who target Israelis with “anti-personnel bombs made of nails soaked in rat poison” is (partly) that they blame Israel for Palestinian depravity. Thus, when Hamas or the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades kills innocents, the “civilized” world mitigates their monstrosities with root-causes rhetoric, thus nurturing the soil for further flowers of evil.

This is to be expected from liberals. They are, after all, determinists who reject personal responsibility. To such flaming Freudians, traumatic toilet training is a sufficient justification for anything. But what excuse do those on the far right and on the (often far-out) libertarian side have? These factions pretend to have a coherent philosophy, central to which are free will and personal responsibility – except when it comes to their precious Palestinians.

Members of the Jews-Control-America crowd, in particular, have lost their moral bearings completely and go so far as to call Palestinian terrorists “freedom fighters.” In doing so, they have adopted the post-modernist leftist view of morality as a “cultural construct.” Ask any liberal, and he’ll tell you: Historical baggage exempts the “oppressed” forever from being held to the same standards as other (non-murderous) mortals.

In addition to their international exculpators, Palestinians reward their terrorists for the massacres they perpetrate. The residents of the West Bank and Gaza house, hide and canonize killers as “martyrs.”

Conversely, Israeli soldiers who are implicated in the accidental death of civilians face a critical public. Unlike the Palestinians, whose politics are nothing more than genocide, Israel is a moral society. Israeli soldiers must answer to military boards of inquiry. Israel is blessed with a free (and mostly liberal) media. And, incredibly, a great many Israelis are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

Yassin’s ghoulish “spirit” guided many an atrocity. His assassination was not in breach of international law – it was not an “extra-judicial killing.” “Under international law and the laws of war,” Professor Dershowitz reminds us, “it is entirely legal to target and kill an enemy combatant who had not surrendered. Nor need he be given the opportunity to surrender.”

Is the utility of the Yassin assassination a legitimate subject for debate? Certainly. But can we debate its justice? Only if we are prepared to grant the late Sheik Yassin legitimacy he in no way deserves.

   March 26, 2004

CATEGORIES: Al-Qaida, Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism

Leave a Reply