March 12, 2012

Cause and effect in Gaza?

Gideon Levy in Ha'aretz on the implausibility of Israeli claims about its attacks on Gaza:

This cyclical ritual of bloodletting always prompts two questions: "Who started it?" and "Whose is bigger?" It's as if both questions were straight from some preschool playground. The response to the first question is always mired in uncertainty, while the answer to the second is always razor-sharp.
Who started it? The IDF and the Shin Bet security service did. The impression is that they carry out the targeted killings whenever they can, and not whenever it is necessary.
When are they necessary? Do you remember the debate on targeted killings sometime in the distant past? Then, it seemed the targets had to be "ticking time bombs" en route to carry out their attacks. In any event, such a vague standard no longer applies. In 2006, in his last court ruling handed down before his retirement, then Supreme Court President Aharon Barak barred such killings when they were meant to be "a deterrent or punishment."
The latest target killed was Zuhair al-Qaissi, the secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza. IDF sources said he was responsible for the terrorist attack on the Egyptian border last August - which would make his killing an act of "deterrence or punishment." But to be on the safe side, it was also noted that he had "led and directed plans to carry out a terror attack within Israel, which was in its final stages of preparation."
This convoluted announcement by the IDF spokesman was enough to get the Israeli public to accept this latest regular dose of targeted killing with automatic understanding and sympathy. And who knows what the late al-Qaissi had planned? Only the Shin Bet does, so we accept his death sentence without unnecessary questions.
Did he really lead and direct plans? And what are "the final stages of preparation"? The military reporters said so, and the military reporters know. Even the question of the effectiveness, rather than the legality of the killings, is no longer a subject for debate. What benefit will it bring Israel, other than more people injured, and additional days of fear in the south? Did this targeted killing really head off a terrorist attack? We won't know. It's enough for the news presenters to know. (And they don't. They just obediently spout what they get from the defense establishment. )
The second question - "Whose is bigger?" - is even more ridiculous and superfluous, of course. It's the best equipped army in the world against a ragtag army of rocket launchers. Nonetheless, this has to be proven to everyone, both to them and us, over and over.
You have the score right here in front of you. As of yesterday afternoon, it was 15-0 in Israel's favor.
And so it goes on.....

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