Op-Ed: Just Desserts
Yehuda PochYehuda Poch is a journalist living in Israel.
For years, people have been able to complain that Palestinian terrorists kill Israelis and Jews with impunity. For years, the response of Israel's government has been half-hearted at best. And for years, terrorist groups like Hamas have responded to these half-hearted defensive measures with more and deadlier attacks.
As can be expected, reactions in the Israeli political sphere have been fast and furious. Everyone with a mouth or keyboard has been talking to anyone who would listen. And as expected, some of the reactions have been plain idiotic. Two examples will suffice to show just how morally bankrupt and steeped in the interests of our enemies the Israeli Left has become.
Yossi Beilin, who was elected last week to head the new left-wing extremist Yahad party, built on the ashes of Meretz, criticized Yassin's killing, which is no surprise. In the media reports, Beilin asked, "How many Israelis will have to pay with their lives for this act?" He said the assassination was a "horrendous mistake that will cost Israel heavily." He said that killing Yassin could spark a new cycle of violence, adding that the policy of targeted assassinations is neither legitimate nor effective.
We certainly don't need Yossi Beilin to tell us what every Israeli already sadly knows: that we can expect more terrorist attacks in the near future. Hamas has already proven that they can do this when a terrorist is killed. They have also proven that they need no such pretext to perpetrate such attacks. The double bombing at the Ashdod port last week did not follow the killing of a terrorist leader. Hamas' hatred for Jews and desire to destroy Israel are enough of a reason for them to perpetrate the most heinous of attacks. Yossi Beilin doesn't recognize this. He thinks Israeli measures aimed at exacting justice for spilled Jewish blood are "illegitimate".
What we do need Yossi Beilin for is to show just how blind and nonsensical some people can be. Since when is it illegitimate to kill terrorists? Yassin's own followers claim complete legitimacy when they kill Jews. They trumpet their "achievements" over any available airwave. They "claim responsibility" as if they are putting another notch in their stick, accumulating points in some macabre game of murder. But when Israel finally shows some responsibility to its citizens and kills off their supreme leader, all of a sudden it's not so "legitimate" according to Beilin.
The second reaction that deserves debunking came from Peace Now, long one of Israel's most stubborn nemeses. The killing of Yassin, according to Peace Now, will "turn all of us into Hamas' hostages. The only way to wipe out Hamas and other terror groups is through a diplomatic agreement."
So let's try to get this straight. By granting legitimacy to a terrorist organization intent on killing Israelis ? one recognized around the world as a murderous band of terrorists ? through some "diplomatic agreement", this would ensure Hamas' disappearance?
There is even historical precedent for this opinion. In 1993, when the PLO had all but disappeared from world view, Shimon Peres and Yitzchak Rabin ? at Beilin's instigation ? resuscitated that organization and gave them free entry to Israel and free weapons to begin killing Jews again. Over the next ten years, the PLO really did disappear. It morphed into the Palestinian Authority, which has in turn given Hamas free reign in Gaza and Judea and Samaria to continue killing Jews with greater frequency and severity.
Peace Now applauded that precedent when it occurred, and has continued championing its cause ever since. Now, they suggest that we reach a similar "diplomatic agreement" with Hamas. Perhaps this time, the result will be the strengthening of Islamic Jihad or some other murderous offshoot.
President George W. Bush had it right last week, when he said, "We are a nation at war and utopian ideals of 'justice' have proven deadly." What applies in the US certainly applies at least equally to Israel. Hamas is not an organization that we can or should reach "diplomatic agreements" with, or whose leaders should be left alive because of an Israeli drive for "legitimacy". Hamas is a band of murderers, and it is Israel's national responsibility to eliminate every one of them at the first opportunity.
Yossi Beilin, Peace Now, and all their followers should keep their mouths shut and let Israel get on with defending Israelis properly. Yassin should be just the beginning.
Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. Reproduction in electronic or print format by permission of the author only.