If targeted killings are "right", why is killing an Israeli extremist "wrong"?

Personally I’m not in favor of either one. But war is war, y’know?

I’ve been told that the Palestinians want to drive Israel “into the sea.” Well, the Tourism Minister wanted to drive all the West Bank and Gaza Palestinians into exile, a process which would have undoubtedly caused untold thousands of Palestinian deaths.

Israel justified the killing of the head of the PFLP because, even if they didn’t have hard evidence linking him to an attack, he certainly “would have” done something. Well, what “would have” the Tourism Minister have done, if he’d had the chance?

Sorry, but my hypocrisy detector is beeping like crazy.

At least the Palestinians didn’t kill a peacenik. Now, that would have been politically dumb.

Better yet, they took out one guy without blowing up any innocent bystanders! Their finesse is improving. They should have done that all along.

Why doesn’t Arafat demand the extradition of the Israeli commander who ordered the killing of the PFLP guy? “Hand him over, or we start bombing.” Where have I heard that before?

Better yet, why don’t we all just agree that targeted killings are wrong?

Sharon, bug off. Your Tourism Minister was not the equivalent of the World Trade Center. No one can stop you from exterminating the Palestinians, but please don’t use my country’s money and weaponry to do it. And remember to hand yourself over to the Hague when you’re finished.

Killing by both sides is wrong, of course.

BUT… I would hazard that killing the head of a group specifically set up to kill civilians is not the same as killing a member of a legitimate government. The head of the PFLP’s primary objective was to wreak havoc on Israelis. The Tourism Minister’s primary objective was to promote Tourism.

The odds of the PFLP head killing civilians are obviously far higher than the Tourism Minister doing it.

Did you really think you could make a statement like that in GD without backup? :smiley:

::drumroll:: cite, please.


Serious?! :smiley:

Are you pointing out my bad use of the English language? Perhaps “primary objective” should have been “primary means”. The primary objective of the PFLP is, of course, the liberation of Palestine.

But, just in case anyone has any doubts about the PFLP’s conduct…

You could check the US government’s list of terrorists

Or the PFLP’s web site (Check the bit about “resistance to the occupation through any means”).

Or a quick look through old news gives pages and pages of PFLP attacks.

Etc etc etc…

On the other hand, if the cites requested are needed to prove the Tourism Ministers brief, I’m afraid I’ve just assumed that his brief was, in fact, tourism. :slight_smile:

Yob tfo yo mat. I was dreading this thread. I wish I had time to answer it.

Sua, I don’t have and English-language cites for you. All I can say is that the head of the PFLP took responsibility for several car bombings and shootings, that he had stated that he would violently oppose any peace agreement, and that the Israeli goverment had requested that he be turned in several times, after presenting evidence to the PA. Israeli Intelligence also believed that he personally was about to send more terrorists - not advocate sending, not incite, but actually send - to kill Israeli civilians and soldiers. So they killed him. And without any collaterol damage, either.

Gandhi was not a nice man, and he did not hold nice views. But he was a democrtically elected member of Knesset and governement, accountable to them, the electorate and the law, and incapable of taking any action without their approval. Abu Ali, OTOH, was accountable to no one, was elected by no one, and commanded armed men who followed his orders while flaunting the law and the authority of his own government. He was as much a “political leader” as John Gotti.

If you can’t see the difference between the two, then you’ve got your heads up your own politics so far… ah, forget it.

Besides, it’s a moot point. No nation in the world can allow its elected officials to be killed by foreign forces. Hell, if the USSR had killed Joe McCarthy in 1951, Truman would have been obliged to start WWIII

To do otherwise sets a very bad precident.

I agree, but but I’m afraid of the consequences. The U.S. is currently involved in strikes that have only tenuous support of Muslim states. Sharon has been hinting at a full scale attack on the Palestinian Authority if the assassins are not turned over. Such an action, I fear, could infuriate the Arab states we now wish to placate and make our job in the region considerably more difficult.


And there are still people today who look up to John Gotti. Hard to believe sometimes. Oh, and I think you meant that he was flouting the law.

The OP (and others) have completely missed the point. Though there are obviously differences between terrorist leaders and right wing government ministers, the distinction goes beyond this.

The real issue is who is at war with who. Let us suppose that the Israeli actions against the PFLP and the PFLP actions against Israel are indeed analogous - that war is war, as the OP says. Sharon’s response is still justified.

The Israelis have not taken such actions against the PA. Arafat and his senior leadership have not been assassinated, despite probable opportunity to do this. So you would have to consider that the “war is war” maxim that might apply to the Israel/PFLP relationship does not apply to the Israel/PA one. Israel has treated the PA differently than it has treated the PFLP.

The question now is the relationship between the PA and the PFLP. If the PA aids and shelters the PFLP in their “war” against Israel, than Israel treating the PA as though they were not themselves at war with Israel makes a lot less sense. In this sense, it is exactly analogous to the WTC bombing, in which the US is holding the Taliban responsible for the actions of Osama BL.

The real hypocrites here are the US, which have one standard for themselves (“those who help the terrorists will share in their fate”) and another for others.

I was actually thinking of starting a thread about this hypocrisy. I may yet.

TC-you mention “extremists” in the thread title. In your post you mention a minister of tourism. I’m having some trouble getting from point a to point b. Maybe, if I compare the two
Man who claims responsibility for car bombs
Minister of Tourism
Nope, I’m gonna need help on this one.

Again, you scoff at the idea that the Palestinians want to kill all the Israelis. Who wants to provide a link to the PLO site this time? As far as exile is concerned, it does not equal death. On the other side of the West Bank is Jordan. People actually live there. In fact, many Palestinians lived there until ejected for plotting to overthrow the government of Jordan. If you drive people into the sea, they drown. If you drive them into Jordan, the Jordanian government will know. What happens to the Palestinians then is entirely up to Jordan.

   I would actually prefer it if Palestinian terrorists switch to targeted assasinations. Their current tactic of bombing malls, pizzarias, discos and beaches tends to result in property damage and the death of civilians. Unless of course, those were their goals.

Alessan, sirjamesp, the "cite request was in response to the “specifically set up” and “primary objective” assertions. sirjames has set the record straight.

I was not contesting the concept that the PFLP are not nice people.

BTW, Alessan, to me the issue here is not targets, but methodology. Quite frankly, if I were an Israeli, I’d probably be, well, happier isn’t quite the word, but less ill at ease, if the people who are going to attempt to kill me and mine target minor politicians rather than indiscriminately attacking pizza parlors and the like.


The fundamental difference is that the WTC terrorists killed Americans, whereas the Palistinian terrorists merely killed Jews.

Yes, I think American middle-East policy is anti-Semitic. At the very least, it’s anti-Israel.

Thanks for that image, Alessan. You can just rock me to sleep tonight.


I think the main point the OP was making is that targeted killings are not a good idea whoever does it.

Israel today killed one of the leaders of another militant group so that group will now feel justified in killing a leading Israeli.

There’s no end to it.

The warring sides in Northern Ireland have a rule: they don’t generally target the leaders of groups however obnoxious they may be. If all parties stick to it then it works quite well.

Israel should stop targetting Palestinian leaders. And they should stop shooting innocent 11 year old schoolgirls as they did today.

Israel’s ability to maintain order in that area is laughable. Someone else needs to go in and show them how to do it properly.

um, site, please?

Blast kills Palestinian militant

Seriously, I totally disagree with this POV. I do not believe there’s any “cycle of violence” in Israel. The Israelis are content with the current status. They have no desire to kill Palistinians.

Many (not all) Palistinians are implacably opposed to the current status. Some want a homeland, Some want to destroy Isreal. Some are demogogues, using hatred of Israel to maintain power. These extremists use killing as a tool. They don’t need any justification for killing Israelis. If they can get a way with murder, they’ll do so.

Israel’s government believes that targeted killing will tend to reduce the murder of their citizens. Setting aside the morality for the moment, I’m inclined to believe that Israel knows what it’s doing. It seems arrogant for xanakis, presumably not living in Israel, to decide that s/he knows better than Israel’s leaders what would be effective.

Morally, it’s easy to condemn targeted killing, but the alternative seems to be general killing of a larger number of Palistinians, most of whom are innocent. (Or standing aside an letting Israelis be killed willy-nilly.) In the real world, targeted killing may well be the best of a poor choice of alternatives.


Are you truly as uninformed about this issue as that? Do you think they go out and target 11 year old school girls? Or could it be that there are Hamas and/or Hezbollah rifelmen distributed among the crowd that includes 11 year old girls because Palestinians like to get their children involved in those kinds of squabbles.

Myth 1) Israelis target children
Myth 2) Children are innocent bystanders in a violent event
Myth 3) The children are not just there to provide as propaganda against the Israelis.


Wow, this is one of the most poorly thought out statements I’ve seen in a looong time. Please explain how our providing millions of dollars in aid to Israel every year for decades and our demands that Israel’s neighbors respect her borders/right to exist is anti-Semitic. This I really gotta hear.


there is no evidence that the terrorists were standing in amongst schoolchildren. If you have some evidence that supports this contention, I’d like to see it.

In any case the correct modus operandi for when you have terrorists standing near schoolchildren is you hold fire rather than fire indiscriminately killing random uninvolved civilians.

Wow mswas. That has got to be a world record in [url=“http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=93538”]changing your entire world view.** I hear heating pads are good for whiplash.