The Spectacle Blog

Israel’s Debate Over Targeted Killings

By on 8.28.06 | 10:12AM

A great article in yesterday's Washington Post described the internal debates in Israel over targeted killings of terrorists, specifically the conflict over risking Palestinian civilian casualties to kill terrorist leaders whose deaths would mean saving Israeli lives. The article focuses in on one specific incident in 2003, in which a "who's who" list of Hamas leaders (including current Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh) was meeting in one house. The dilemma? "A half-ton bomb wouldn't finish the job, the air force chief said. A one-ton bomb would blow out the neighboring apartment building, which was filled with dozens of families." Eventually, the Israelis found out that the curtains were closed on the top floor of the house, so they decided to take a chance that the leaders were meeting on that floor. They used a quarter-ton bomb to destroy only that floor, but it turned out that the terrorists were meeting on the ground level, and so the terrorists escaped.

It's hard to think of another country -- other than the United States -- that would go to such lengths to protect civilians' lives even when their own security is on the line. Yet Israel is still the pariah of the world.

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