The Two Fronts of the "Targeted Bombings" War

A Knesset committee strongly condemned the 27 rebel pilots who wrote the "letter of refusal" last week - and the Deputy Education Minister wants to root out writings by those who wish to sue Israel for a previous bombing.


The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee issued a strong condemnation today of the 27 rebel pilots who wrote the infamous letter to Air Force Chief Gen. Dan Halutz. The pilots wrote that they will refuse "unethical orders" to bomb terrorists if these involve risking Arab civilian lives. The signatories have been widely criticized for putting the lives of Arabs above those of Israelis who are liable to be killed by the terrorists' murderous schemes.

The committee accepted the proposal of Chairman Yuval Shteinitz to define the phenomenon of "refusal" as an "attempt to rebel during war time, and [as] a blow at Israeli democracy." The MKs resolved that the signatories should be discharged, and that the IDF Prosecutor's Office should try them in court.

A retired Air Force pilot, currently working for El Al Israel Airlines, informed Halutz last night that he retracts his signature from the letter. He explained that he was abroad when he was contacted to agree to the letter, and was unaware that it called to "refuse orders." The pilot explained that he is against the policy of "targeted killings," but opposes just as strongly the call to refuse orders. He was the second pilot to withdraw his signature - although another one joined in the meantime.

Another front in the above "war" was opened this morning when a group of writers, musicians and actors - together with the extreme left-wing group Yesh Gvul [There's a Limit/Border] - filed suit demanding a criminal investigation into last year's bombing of terrorist leader Salah Shehada. The Israel Air Force raid in July 2002 claimed not only the Hamas terrorist, but also nine children, including three of his own, and his wife.

Shehada, slated to succeed Sheikh Yassin as head of Hamas, had been responsible for hundreds of attacks against Israelis in the previous several years, including the attacks in Atzmona (5 students murdered), the Matza restaurant in Haifa (15 civilians), Sbarros (15), the Dolphinarium (21), and many more. This morning's petitioners, however, say that the choice of such a powerful bomb and the decision to bomb a residential building must be investigated.

In response, Deputy Education Minister Tzvi Hendel (National Union) said that the writings of those who brought the suit, such as noted left-wingers Natan Zach, Sami Michael, S. Yizhar, and others, must be exorcised from the Education Ministry curriculum. "These are men of 'un-culture' who have removed themselves from the Nation of Israel," Hendel said today, "and must therefore not be allowed to poison the children of Israel with their writings."