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Israelis will never again be subjected to the shrill ranting of Hamas' founding father declaring the fire and brimstone destruction Islam sees as the Jewish state's ultimate destiny.
Justice has been served. Ahmed Yassin, a man with the blood of hundreds of innocents on his hands, is dead.
But not everybody is happy about Israel's elimination of this mass murderer.
The nations of Europe lined up to individually - and corporately as the EU - condemn Israel for the "extra-judicial" killing.
They raved about Israel's violation of "international law," and expressed their "heartfelt" concern that Yassin's demise would only spur further violence.
This display of duplicitous arrogance can be dismissed when it comes to much of Europe. But one of Israel's biggest critics was British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, whose government's hypocrisy when it comes to Yassin cannot be ignored.
Nor can Washington's muted condemnation.
Not one year ago, Britain and the US launched a full-scale war against Iraq. Their first action in that war was the self-termed "decapitation attack" - which aimed to bring about the war's swift conclusion by killing Saddam Hussein and his senior regime buddies.
And yet, a clearly irritated Straw saw Israel's killing of Yassin as "unlawful, unacceptable [and] unjustified."
Why are Britain and America allowed to assassinate a recognized head of state who poses a distant threat to their nations' assets, but Israel is not permitted to eliminate a known terrorist leader who advocates the mass slaughter of Jewish men, women and children from Israel's own backyard?
Why is it "clear that the free world, those who love freedom and peace, must deal harshly with Hamas and the killers"* when US President George W. Bush is looking to create a tough sound bite, but, in the words of the White House spokesman, "troubling" when Israel finally takes action?
When the US finally captures or kills Osama bin Laden, will Washington for even one second entertain liberal criticism that by doing so the Bush Administration had exacerbated the situation? Of course not.
By denying Israel the same justice they seek for their own citizens, the leaders of these two "Christian" nations are playing a dangerous game with God.
Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! … The Lord is angry with all nations; His wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, He will give them over to slaughter… For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion's cause.It may not happen today, and it may not happen tomorrow, but the God of Israel will not suffer the nations of the world to touch the "apple of His eye."
His year of retribution is coming, and a hundred 9/11's will not compare to it.
* Excerpt from an interview given by US President George W. Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine on June 15, 2003, just days after a "Palestinian" jihadist bomber slaughtered 17 people on a public bus in Jerusalem.
Palestinians poured out into the streets Monday in what the New York Times called the largest demonstrations in a decade—all to honor the memory of a master terrorist, Hamas founder and “spiritual leader” Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. It was a hero’s memorial, not one befitting a thug hellbent on emulating Adolf Hitler.
The reaction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians reveals the depths of a depraved culture created by “spiritual leaders” like Sheikh Yassin.
Political arguments can be made as to whether or not Israel’s targeted killing of Hamas’ chief executive was a prudent tactical move or if governments should be in the business of killing terrorists rather than arresting them.
But no argument can be made that Sheikh Yassin was anything but a bloodthirsty thug.
Sheikh Yassin—as Hamas’ “spiritual leader”—was responsible for “inspiring” 52 youths to blow themselves up for “martyrdom,” preaching that Allah would reward them for killing Jews. Since the start of the intifada, Hamas has murdered 377 Israelis and wounded more than 2,000.
It’s impossible to fathom the profound depravity of a society that could hail as a hero a mass murderer. Imagine if people had taken to the streets to celebrate the life of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy when he was executed in 1989.
That wouldn’t be an entirely fair comparison, however; even the highest estimates are that Bundy murdered fewer than 100 women.
But such is the sorry state of Palestinian society, where everything from the law to children’s textbooks is geared toward the realizing the goal of driving the Jews into the sea.
Although the Palestinian Authority recognizes the crime of murder, it does not apply to those who slaughter Jews. In nearly eight years since Oslo, there is no record of anyone prosecuted by the Palestinian Authority serving a full sentence for conspiring, planning, or masterminding the murder of Jews.
Consider that the four men arrested—and now released—by the Palestinian Authority (PA) for carrying out the bombing of the U.S. convoy in Gaza last October were charged not with murder, but involuntary manslaughter. That they were charged at all, though, is a testament to the fact that the PA, at least on the surface, does not sanction the murder of Americans. (Never mind that 51 Americans have been killed since the start of the intifada.)
Involuntary manslaughter is a charge applied to people who could not have foreseen that their actions could have reasonably led to someone’s death. In the convoy bombing, the PA prosecutors charged involuntary manslaughter because, they contended, the four men had intended to kill Jews—which is not a punishable offense, at least not in the PA.
What PA dictator Yasser Arafat and the likes of Sheikh Yassin have carefully cultivated over the years is not a culture of death, but a cult of death. Palestinians are placed on the indoctrination assembly line at a very young age, feeding a terrorist complex that depends on a steady stream of fresh young, mindless bodies to become human bombs.
No doubt a large contingent at Sheikh Yassin’s memorial service were brainwashed young products of Yassin’s “spiritual” guidance. A New York Times interview with 17-year-old Muhammad Abu Hussa is particularly disturbing: “Asked what would bring peace, he replied, ‘The Jews should be annihilated.’ He made chopping gestures at his throat, hands and legs. ‘They should be turned into parts,’ he said.
The most comforting thought about Abu Hussa to an American is that the teenager is a Palestinian. But given the reaction to Yassin’s death of some so-called “moderate” Muslim groups in the US, it is a fair question to wonder whether Islamic institutions here are producing their own bloodthirsty youths here.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which labels itself a Muslim civil rights organization, issued a press release Monday identifying Sheikh Yassin only as “the most prominent Palestinian Islamic figure.” Similar was the Muslim-American Society, which went with “Palestinian religious leader.”
Legitimate questions can be raised about Israel’s targeted killing of Sheikh Yassin. But a much more important one is what it says about both hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and supposedly mainstream Muslim groups in the US that a mass murderer is hailed as a “religious leader.”
Speaking Tuesday to the congressionally mandated commission charged with investigating the policy failures that led to September 11, former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright said, "I do think, in all fairness, that 9/11 was a cataclysmic event that changed things."
Albright's statement tells the whole story. There was a world before 9/11. And there was a world after the 9/11. They are not the same world.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld concurred with Albright's assessment when he said, "Imagine that we were back before Sept. 11 and that a US president had looked at the information then available, gone before the Congress and the world and said, 'We need to invade Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and destroy the Al Qaida terrorist network.' Based on what little was known before Sept. 11, how many countries would have joined? Many? Any? Not likely."
The commission's hearings this week dwarfed all other news in the US. Even the IDF's successful strike against Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin was sidelined by the media's attention to the public accounting by top officials from the Clinton and Bush administrations for the decisions they made and did not make.
Commission members grilled these officials as to why they did not send in troops to attack Al Qaida and overthrow the Taliban before Sept. 11. Why did they not respond to the October 2000 attack against the USS Cole in Yemen? Why had they not killed Osama Bin Laden after the Al Qaida attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998? Why had they not armed Predator unmanned aerial vehicles to kill Bin Laden in 1999? Why had they not intercepted the flight that took bin Laden and his top lieutenants from Sudan to Afghanistan in 1996?
Again and again, officials from both the Clinton and Bush administrations explained they did not believe it was reasonable or possible to take military action and, besides, they were trying to act in other ways. The Clinton administration attempted to engage the Taliban. They sent top diplomats to Afghanistan to meet with Taliban officials. Taliban officials were brought to Washington to discuss Al Qaida. Attempts were made to encourage the Saudis and the Pakistanis to pressure the Taliban to cease support for Al Qaida.
At the end of the day, it all goes back to the same thing. There was a reality before Sept. 11 and there was a reality after Sept. 11. And they are not the same.
Much of the attention paid to the commission's hearings revolves around charges of politicization. There is clearly much of that. The commission has an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats grill Bush officials aggressively and are relatively mild toward Clinton officials and the Republicans take just the opposite approach.
Yet, in spite of their conflicting party loyalties, commission members are unanimous in their view that the US is at war against Islamic terrorism. So united, the message that emanates from their questioning is that they are all Americans first and foremost and as Americans they wish to work together to learn from past mistakes in order to prevent future attacks against the US and its interests around the world.
Perhaps the main reason that the hearings did not descend into partisan finger-pointing is because after Sept. 11 both sides of the political divide in America understood the new reality. The Bush administration stopped accepting excuses for the Taliban and instead brought down the regime by force. It then invaded Iraq and took down the enemy regime of Saddam Hussein. Congress authorized use of military force to combat terrorists and their state sponsors, passed the Patriot Act and created the new Department of Homeland Security.
Today, all relevant US government resources are being used, both domestically and internationally ,to combat terrorism and to help and indeed force other countries to combat terrorism. Rather than hunkering down behind its oceanic barriers, US forces operate from the Philippines to Uzbekistan. US diplomats engage, cajole and threaten foreign leaders around the world to take action against terror cells. And while actively remaking Iraqi society, the US is laying the groundwork for more concerted action against Syria and Iran.
Osama bin Laden, while an important target, is no longer considered a singular problem by anyone. As Albright put it, "Al Qaida is not a criminal gang that can simply be rounded up and put behind bars. It is the center of an ideological virus that has wholly perverted the minds of thousands and distorted the thinking of millions more. Until the right medicine is found, the virus will continue to spread."
As an Israeli watching the proceedings, I was struck by all of this. I was impressed by what appeared to be an honest reckoning by top US policy makers with what they did and did not accomplish. I was struck by the commissioners' questions. They were intelligent if sometimes belligerent. They were well thought out and stemmed from a clear recognition that the US is at war and must win.
I was equally struck with the sense that Israel, in contending with the Palestinian terror war, is still, after three and a half years, on pre-war footing. Rather than marshalling our military and diplomatic resources to root out terrorists who threaten us wherever they are, we engage in an endless policy of containment geared toward enabling an ultimate Israeli retreat.
On Monday the IDF finally killed Hamas terror chieftain Ahmed Yassin. In commenting on the hit, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that Yassin was "the Osama bin Laden of the Palestinian people." No doubt there is much truth to this statement. But what about Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian Mullah Omar? What about the Palestinian Taliban, the Palestinian Authority?
Before Sept. 11, the Taliban told the Americans and their interlocutors that they had no control over bin Laden and that anyway, he was not a threat to the US. Sanctions on the Taliban, although leveled, were ineffective because the Pakistanis continued to arm them and supply them with oil, the United Arab Emirates allowed them to bank and travel abroad and the Saudis continued to finance them. On Sept. 12, 2001, American tolerance for this state of affairs was over.
Yet here in Israel it seems that our tolerance will never run out. We continue to distinguish Hamas from the PA even as PA security forces participate in Hamas attacks and carry them out themselves. We willingly finance the PA even though we know that they use their money to finance terrorists, run schools where children are taught to murder, and indeed build an entire society around the cause of our destruction.
We talk about engaging the PA in negotiations when its leaders embrace Yassin and condemn us for killing him. We speak of easing restrictions on Palestinian travel at roadblocks when Fatah entices prepubescent children to commit suicide while committing murder at roadblocks with promises of virgins in heaven. We speak of "containing" terrorism, when the Palestinians openly declare that their aim is the genocide of Jews and call on the entire Arab and Muslim world to join their fight against us.
As I watched the commission hearings, I tried to imagine similar hearings taking place in Israel. It was impossible. Here we have all the stars of Oslo, from Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin to Amnon Lipkin Shahak and Ami Ayalon still insisting after three and a half years that they were right and reality is wrong.
We have Prime Minister Ariel Sharon insisting that no concessions will be made in fighting terrorism at the same time that he insists on handing more territory over to terrorists and refuses to order the IDF to bring the sum total of its abilities to bear in destroying the Palestinians' ability to cause us harm.
No battle of ideas has been waged to capture Palestinian hearts and minds by our intellectual elites who still embrace Oslo and think that we are to blame for our mass murder. No sustained initiative to stop international support for the PA has been waged by our diplomats who still insist that at some future date we will wish to negotiate with our Taliban and give them sovereignty.
Describing this state of affairs this week, IDF CGS Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon said, "When necessary – mainly following severe terrorist attacks – it is possible to change the nature of the campaign for a specific time period from a low intensity conflict in which the terrorists have a certain advantage, to a high intensity conflict in which it is easier for a regular military force to employ its power. However even such periods do not ensure a decisive victory."
Well of course not. If an offensive is not sustained until the enemy's forces and will to fight are broken, victory will remain elusive and the fight will go on forever.
This week OC Intelligence Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi Farkash dismissed Hamas's threats of heretofore unseen attacks in retaliation for Israel's killing of Yassin. He noted that to date, Hamas has used all its resources to attack Israel and that there was no reason to believe that these resources will fundamentally change in the aftermath of Yassin's death. That is, everyday our terrorist enemies muster all their capabilities to kill Israelis anyway they can.
It has been said that in Israel, everyday is Sept. 11. The question is, when will our leaders finally take it upon themselves to marshal our resources and move us into a Sept. 12 reality?
Israel’s targeted killing of Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin early this morning quickly drew condemnation worldwide, yet it is hardly justifiable that this militant Muslim cleric should enjoy an immunity from harm which he has denied to so many innocent Jewish children -- not to mention Palestinian mothers and youths.
Sheikh Yassin, the founder and "spiritual leader" of the radical Islamic terror militia Hamas, was killed in an Israeli air strike around daybreak Monday, moments after he left a Gaza City mosque. Seven others were killed in the strike on his motorcade, including two of Yassin's sons and several of his bodyguards.
As thousands of enraged Palestinians marched through the streets of Gaza City today, Hamas and other armed Palestinian factions vowed revenge.
Meantime, a chorus of criticism has been building in world capitals, with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw saying the pinpoint strike "is unacceptable, it is unjustified and it is very unlikely to achieve its objectives."
"All of us understand Israel's need to defend itself against terrorism which affects it - within international law, ... [but this is an] unlawful killing... and therefore we condemn it," said Straw, who was attending a summit of European Union foreign ministers convened to address terrorism in the wake of the recent Madrid train bombings.
"I don't think that it will help Israel that an 80 year-old man in a wheelchair was the target of their assassination," Straw concluded.
Yassin may have been a crippled old man, but he was far from harmless.
Though a sporting accident left him paralyzed at age 12, this has not stopped Yassin from inspiring and orchestrating untold carnage on Israeli streets. Since founding Hamas early in the first intifada in December 1987, Yassin has led its violent campaign to destroy Israel.
Yassin was imprisoned twice in Israel, in 1984 and 1989, and received a life sentence for ordering the kidnapping and murder of two IDF soldiers, as well as for possession of weapons. Since his return to the Gaza Strip in 1997, he has become even more closely involved in Hamas terrorist activities, including directing terrorist operations in the field and raising and providing financial assistance to terror cells.
He is considered the central authority in Hamas for making decisions and determining policy, particularly regarding suicide missions, rocket attacks and other terrorist operations against Israeli targets.
During the current three-and-a-half year-old terror campaign, Hamas has perpetrated 425 terrorist attacks of various kinds, in which 377 Israelis were murdered and 2,076 civilians and soldiers were wounded. Among these were 52 suicide attacks, with Yassin authorizing the dispatch of teenagers and more recently a woman to carry out suicide bombings.
International law in general, and the law of armed conflict in particular, recognizes that individuals who directly take part in hostilities cannot then claim immunity. By directing and instigating armed attacks, Yassin has rendered himself an armed combatant and has forfeited any legal protections afforded civilians.
Israel has had little choice in targeting Yassin and other Palestinian terror leaders, since the Palestinian Authority refuses to disarm them or curb their activities.
In its own war on terrorism, the United States has claimed the same right under international law to preemptively target Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden and others.
Nor is Yassin to be considered a "political" leader immune from assassination.
While Hamas does provide welfare services to poor Palestinians, their main raison d’etre is the elimination of the Jewish state. Their charitable activities are meant to build popular support for their real agenda -- replacing Israel and the Palestinian Authority with a fundamentalist Islamic state in all "Palestine."
The Palestinian political scene is unique in the entire world, in that every political faction has established an armed wing to help achieve its aims, thus making it hard to consider any Palestinian leader solely a "political" figure. The sad truth is that the primary way for any party to build popular support among the Palestinian people is by drawing Jewish blood.
Since governmental elections are rare, the best gauge of public sentiment has become student elections at Palestinian universities. In a heated campaign only four months ago at the leading Beir Zeit University, students from Hamas and the ruling Fatah party of Yasser Arafat focused on which faction had killed the most Israelis.
At one debate, according to The Jerusalem Post, the Hamas candidate asked the Fatah candidate: "Hamas activists in this university killed 135 Zionists. How many did Fatah activists from Bir Zeit kill?"
The Fatah candidate refused to answer, suggesting his rival "look at the paper, go to the archives and see for yourself. Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades have not stopped fighting the occupation."
For Hamas, this is a "fight" against the very existence of Israel, one in which Sheikh Yassin has played a central role, especially by brainwashing children to aspire to martyrdom and then dispatching them to "knock on the gates of paradise with the skulls of Zionists."
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is regrettably bitter and bloody, and Israel does take a risk in eliminating this popular cleric. But if Yassin never extended immunity from harm to Israeli children and even Palestinian youths, why should anyone be exempting him from the sword?
David Parsons is the editor of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) News Service.
“The State of Israel has struck the foremost Palestinian murderer and terrorist. This man’s ideology boiled down to…murdering Jews and destroying the State of Israel. This vile murderer ranked among the enemies of the Jewish People… It is the natural right of the Jewish people, like that of all nations in the world that love life, to hunt down those who rise to destroy it.”—PM Ariel Sharon, justifying the decision to assassinate Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. (Ha’aretz, Mar. 22-23)
"The Palestinian Authority has, however, achieved a rare distinction in international diplomacy: It has become a failed state without ever having been a state."- columnist Paul Greenberg, The death of Abu Abbas -- and hope in the Middle East
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