Noga Tarnopolsky si interroga sul perchè dello shock causato in Israele dall'eliminazione fisica del mandante di orribili omicidi e stragi.
5 Nissan 5764, Saturday, March 27, 2004 23:55 IST
JPost.com » Opinion » Sharon, the arrogant
Mar. 27, 2004 22:04
Sharon, the arrogant
By NOGA TARNOPOLSKY
Many words have been spilled this past week stating the obvious: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was not a nice man. He may have been pious, in his way. He may have been otherworldly, sainted, somehow. But few are shedding real tears for him.
Yassin taunted Israel and the world before and after his 1997 release from jail like an exceptionally well-armed neighborhood bully trying to get away with worse and worse crimes, rarely checking to see if he ever got caught. So the shock at his death, for those who woke up last week to the shock, is principally at the loss of a familiar figure, the evil image we are used to seeing across the way. He'd be the least surprised at his own death.
Given the extent of Yassin's crimes, it is difficult to muster up much of an outraged response. Israelis – those in favor of the targeted killing and those opposed to it – have responded principally out of fear of reprisals, as if that is the proper measure by which we should measure the acceptability of this elimination.
The look on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's face on the morning the killing was announced was enough to chill one's blood; it displayed fear, pure and simple.
Sharon did not feel moved – or obligated – to provide further insight into the killing, as if offing Hamas's Sheikh Yassin in the Gaza strip were a banality not worthy of serious public pause.
Democratically elected leaders, no matter what pressures they face, should not display so cavalier a countenance when it comes to the elimination of their enemies.
Trading in the killing of terrorist leaders, especially those considered spiritual leaders, is a serious business. Absent a reflective public explanation of the act, the killing of Yassin risks appearing similar to an obvious, expected mafia hit in an especially bad neighborhood.
So what? Who cares about Yassin?
The question begs restating: Forget Yassin. Given the volatility of Israel's democracy, how outraged should our response be?
On the morning Yassin was hit, the IDF issued a fairly slick e-mailed press release – their new format involves color displays of both the IDF's emblem and the spokesman's badge – alerting us all: "The leader of Hamas terror organization Ahmed Yassin, and his aides, killed in an IDF attack.
"The Hamas leadership, led by Yassin, was directly involved in planning directing and launching terror attacks carried out by the organization," the announcement went on to explain. "The Hamas leadership is also responsible for cooperation with the other terror organizations."
Well, yes, we knew that. Still, it is more than a little odd to receive this type of advisory over this type of killings.
If not addressed with suitable gravitas by our leaders, the elimination of enemies in this way –even the legitimate elimination, in such cases where that is possible – risks becoming just another avoidable aspect of life.
So the question should perhaps not be: "Did Yassin deserve it?" but "Do we?" Is this who we want to be?
A nation issuing brief and dismissive press releases about just the next elimination ordered by a political caste that feels no need to explain its actions to us?
Ahmed Yassin almost certainly deserved his end, but we, the Israeli electorate, deserve considerably better. Someone in this government should be hauled before the cameras to answer the most important question we now face: What do we get out of this?
HAMAS HAS without doubt not been eliminated from the Gaza Strip, and it is a stretch to assume that Sharon wishes to strengthen Yasser Arafat's hand by eliminating his potential rival from the area he is about to receive under his control, if indeed Sharon follows through with his announced evacuation from Gaza.
If the government sincerely believes Yassin's elimination from the political arena will bring about fewer deaths, they should stand up and say it.
So far, Sharon's stance transmits the very shaky "I hope we did the right thing."
Israel's left-wing parties lost the last elections – and deserved to – because of what has variously been called Ashkenazi elitist arrogance, autism, and a lost soul, all of which amount to the fact that the Labor party and Meretz did not believe they owed their voters a serious explanation for the failure of Oslo.
Sharon seems to have learned the worst lesson in non-accountability from them, leaving us to sit at home at night, many, at least for the next few weeks, afraid to go out, and ponder what, aside from an eruption of spleen, we may have gained from this.
The writer is a Jerusalem-based author.
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