Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Ahmed Yassin 

I haven't written on Yassin because (i) I'm out of town and pretty busy, and (ii) it seems as though the blogosphere pretty much has this one covered. I just do not have anything much to add.

However, I do want to pass along an observation made by one of Instapundit's readers:

Anybody notice how many people are, almost simultaneously, berating George Bush for not taking out bin Laden, and berating Sharon for taking out Ahmed Yassin?

We all have noticed that. For my part, I have a hard time distinguishing between Yassin and Bin Laden, except perhaps on the basis of effectiveness.

Yassin dedicated himself to the destruction of Israel, just as Bin Laden has vowed to destroy America (and Israel, as a bonus). Israel was within its rights to kill Yassin years ago, and refrained from doing so -- presumably -- so that there would be a leadership inside Hamas with which to negotiate. The strategy of preserving the enemy leadership is quite obviously a failure for Israel.

Now the only question is whether this killing was designed to strengthen the Palestinian Authority, which it surely did by eliminating the leadership of one of the PA's rivals, or whether the Israelis are bent on killing off the PA leadership as well. As much as he might deserve it, killing Arafat would look a more unlawful to the average thoughtful supporter of Israel than killing Yassin -- Israel has, after all, recognized the Palestinian Authority as a lawful entity (somebody out there correct me if I'm wrong on that), whereas Hamas is openly dedicated to the liquidation of Israel and its citizenry.

The timing, however, could have been better from America's strategic perspective. No question about that.


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