First, a correction. Sheikh Yassin, assassinated on Monday by the Israeli military, was only 67 years old, not 92. That's the last time I take the word of an eleven year old informant! |
Regardless of how old he was, regardless of his responsibility for deaths or his culpability in suicide bombings, regardless of whether you loved or abhorred him, assassinating him was morally, politically and strategically indefensible. If you make assassination a tactic in your political program, you become something vile, something that will taint every good you claim to stand for. However dangerous you might perceive Yassin's ideas to be, you can't destroy his ideas by killing him, you can only strengthen their appeal. You can't kill hate: you can only create more of it by killing. Had Sharon and company hired a PR firm to tell them how to create the ultimate Hamas martyr, they couldn't have done a better job: an old man, in a wheelchair, murdered coming out of a mosque after praying.
In fact, assassinating Yassin was not a program of security, it was a program of deliberate provocation, aimed not at gaining peace and safety for Israel, but at undermining any serious attempts at peace, negotiation, or concessions to the Palestinians. That is his pattern: any time another step toward peace is made, he stages another assassination or a provocation, and that takes care of the threat that he might actually have to give something up or make some meaningful concession.