Sunday, February 17, 2008

Justified, But Not Wise

A recent internet poll in Haaretz asked:

The killing of Hezbollah's deputy leader Imad Mughniyah was:
a. Justified and Wise
b. Justified but Not Wise
c. Targeted Killings Can Never Be Justified
Option (a) won, with over 60% of the votes. Option (c) came second with 28%. And option (b) came last, with just 12% of the votes.

I voted for the least popular (and whats new about that) - Justified but Not Wise.

Justified, because who can argue that a fellow like Mughniyah deserved to be punished with the harshest penalty available. If anyone deserved a death penalty this man did. This is the man who masterminded the bombing of the Jewish Community Centre in Buenos Aires. An anti-Semitic murderer if there ever was one.

But was it wise? Is Israel's security or the security of Jews everywhere increased or decreased by this assassination. Or is this just an act of revenge. Cathartic, and oh so clever.

Time will tell, but I assume that Mughnityah is replaceable in the Hizballah hierarchy. And by striking in Syria, does that increase or decrease Syria's willingness to come to terms with Israel. It certainly isn't likely to make Assad feel very positive about his peace feelers to Israel last summer.

And will Hizballah take this lying down, or will it renew efforts to strike against Israel and Jews around the world. Judging by the increased security warnings, it seems Israel and world Jewry are taking this threat seriously. Will we feel so smart and smug when an Israeli embassy or a Jewish centre is blown up as a revenge for our act of revenge.

So remind me again. Why this was necessary or wise?

For thoughts along similar lines see these articles in Haartez. One by Shmuel Rosner and the second by Gideon Levy.

On the other hand maybe Israel didn't do it at all! Maybe it was the CIA. ... Given their track record lately they would have blown up the wrong guy.


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