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Israeli Airstrike Kills Hamas Founder


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Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and leader of the Hamas militant group that targeted Israelis in suicide bombings, was killed by missiles fired from Israeli helicopters as he left a mosque at daybreak Monday, witnesses said.

His death could spur violent protests not only in the Palestinian areas but in the wider Arab and Islamic world, where he was well-regarded as a symbol of the Palestinian battle for independence.

Thousands of angry Palestinians gathered minutes after the attack, calling for revenge against Israel.

In announcing Yassin's death, Hamas said, "(Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon has opened the gates of hell and nothing will stop us from cutting off his head."

Coincidentally enough, Sharon's Likud government was facing four non-confidence votes in the Knesset today.

It's becoming abundantly clear that the corrupt Ariel Sharon is not interested in the safety of Israelis, nor in peace in the region. Instead, he seems driven to create a state of total war between Israel and the Paleistinians to purge the occupied territories of Palestinians andd completes his long-held dream of a massive population transfer of Israelis into the area.

While Yassin's death is no great loss, his death will be yet another rallying point for terror groups. Many Israelis and many more Palestinians will pay for Sharon's hubris with their lives. Not to mention that Hamas is no considering targets outside Israel and the OT.

This helps nothing.

More...

Militants vow to "send death to every home" in Israel

UK condemns "illegal" attack

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Does anybody know whatever happened to Bush's "roadmap for peace" ?

Blown to smithereens.

The dirty secret of all this is that the U.S could easily bring Sharon and the PA back to the bargaining table and leverage a settlement that would lead to a viable two-state solution. However, Bush has shown no interest in bring Sharon to heel and now a lot more innocents wil pay the price.

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The strike on Yassin was a mistake because it will do nothing to help the situation on the ground. But I find it disingenuous of you to lambaste Bush for not bringing peace to the conflict. Peace is simply not possible while suicide attacks on Israeli citizens continue.

Does anybody know whatever happened to Bush's "roadmap for peace" ?

Blown to smithereens.

...By another round of fanatical homocide bombings. How do expect the Israeli's to negotiate in the face of this kind of terror? Regardless of your attempts to make the occupation look like nothing more than front for a land grab, that simply isn't the case. Every clear thinking person knows that the occupation is a direct result of Palestinian terrorism. The new wall is a direct result of Palestinian terrorism.

It is simple, if the bombings stopped, so would the occupation, but it has become evident that the radicals among the Palestinians won't be satisfied with a rational two state solution, they want nothing less than the eradication of the state of Israel.

a settlement that would lead to a viable two-state solution
You don't get it. Hamas won't allow it, and the only ones who can put an end to Hamas are the moderates among the Palestinian people. But as long as the terrorist Arafat refuses to release his grap of power, there will be no move against the terror organizations and innocent people on both sides will continue to die. A key condition of the road map requires that the PA crack down on and dismantle the terrorist organizations carrying out attacks against Israel. That hasn't even begun to happen.
U.S could easily bring Sharon and the PA back to the bargaining table and leverage a settlement
You seem to see the solution so clearly. Please let me in on it.
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It is simple, if the bombings stopped, so would the occupation, but it has become evident that the radicals among the Palestinians won't be satisfied with a rational two state solution, they want nothing less than the eradication of the state of Israel.

That's mighty disingenuous of you, in that you seem to be implying the occupation is the result of Paletinian terrorism, and not vice versa.

Oh wait. You say it.

Every clear thinking person knows that the occupation is a direct result of Palestinian terrorism

Come again? That's a fairly fantastic interpretation of events. Israel occupied the west bank and Gaza Strip after the Six-Day war. How many suicide attacks were there prior to 1967? According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs statistics, 35 Israelis died as a result of militant activity in the period between 1967 and 1999. Since Israel re-invaded the West Bank in 1999, they've been dying ta the rate of 200 per year. So we have a direct link between increased Israeli activity in the OT and increased terrorist attacks. As well, there has been a corresponding decrease in militant activity during periods of peace negotiations. But let's go back for a sec:

By another round of fanatical homocide bombings. How do expect the Israeli's to negotiate in the face of this kind of terror? Regardless of your attempts to make the occupation look like nothing more than front for a land grab, that simply isn't the case.

What prompted the current intifada? We can trace the roots of this round of violence to Sharon's now-infamous walk on the Temple Mount and the failure of the Camp David talks (where Israel refused to compromise on Palestinaian claims on east Jeruselum and Arafat rejected the vision of a massivly divided palestine). Since then settlement building has increased, extrajudicial killings continue to cause massive civilian casualties and Palestinians continue to die at a rate of four per day. All of which would stop if Israel were to immediatly evacuate the settlements, tear down the portions of the wall that stray from the pre-1967 borders and withdraw from the OT completely.

You don't get it. Hamas won't allow it, and the only ones who can put an end to Hamas are the moderates among the Palestinian people. But as long as the terrorist Arafat refuses to release his grap of power, there will be no move against the terror organizations and innocent people on both sides will continue to die. A key condition of the road map requires that the PA crack down on and dismantle the terrorist organizations carrying out attacks against Israel. That hasn't even begun to happen.

As you can see from the above stats, the PA has clearly done a better job of keeping a lid on terrorism than the IDF.

That said, I remember a time not too long ago when the PA'as central compound was surrounded by israeli tanks and troops. Kinda hard to crack down on terrorism when the IDF keeps wrecking your infrastructure.

You seem to see the solution so clearly. Please let me in on it.

Easy. Demand Israel cease operations in the OT (like the extrajudicial killings), disband the settlements and dismantle the portions of the wall that annexes Palestinian land or else suspend aid. Offer the PA assistance in establishing a workable anti-terrorist infrastructure (uh, actually, maybe someone else could do that...) in exchange for Arafat's resignation.

To conclude: you're labouring under the impression that terrorism is a result of sheer irrational hatred for the state of Israel. While that is an element, it is not the sole motivation. The occupation and annexation of Palestinian land, the poverty, starvation, humiliation and death facing the almost 2 million residents of the OT allows such views to flourish. Israel's tactics do nothing to halt the cycle of violence and serve to inflame anti-Israeli sentiment.

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The dirty secret of all this is that the U.S could easily bring Sharon and the PA back to the bargaining table and leverage a settlement that would lead to a viable two-state solution.

If you believe that BD, you are crazier than I thought. (And why did you say the U.S. this time and not Bush?)

Does anybody know whatever happened to Bush's "roadmap for peace" ?

I liked Mubarak's answer to the question, "And what does this attack mean for the peace process? He said, "What peace process?"

Look, the Israelis and the Palestinians (and many of the Lebanese) are peas in the same pod. I hope I don't sound frivolous but they love attention. 1/10 of 1% of the world's population can command everyone's attention. They grandstand, and love doing it.

But true, they both want the same land and have X, Y, Z reason for saying they're right. Makes for a dramatic story.

What else? Israel is the only democracy in the area. But I have to admit nothing's more fun than arguing with a Palestinian. (If you like argument...)

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If you believe that BD, you are crazier than I thought. (And why did you say the U.S. this time and not Bush?)

Oh? Can you elaborate? Do you have anything to counter? As for the "U.S. not Bush", well, this matter goes back to 1967, so Bush is hardly responsible for U.S. policy vis a vis Israel and the OT. And if I were to point fingers at a particular president with regards to the current round of violence, it would be Clinton, who let the opportunity for real discussion and compromise slip away at Camp David. Bus, however has had almost four years to make a differnce. Instead, things continue to get worse.

Look, the Israelis and the Palestinians (and many of the Lebanese) are peas in the same pod. I hope I don't sound frivolous but they love attention. 1/10 of 1% of the world's population can command everyone's attention. They grandstand, and love doing it.

Yeah, people are blowing themselves and those around them to bits on buses, soldiers are gunning down children, people who have lived on the land for generations are being shoved off by religious zealots with Brooklyn accents, orchards are being burned to the ground and hate and fear reign, all becaus ethe people want attention. That is the stupidist assesment of the situation I've seen in a while.

However, you do skirt a good point, which is the almost symbiotic relationship between exteremists on both sides. Sharon and his ilk need Hamas and other militant groups and vice versa. For Israeli hawks, terror attacks allow them to use promises of increased security to maintain power in the face of economic failures and scandal. Terrorism also justifies a bloated military budget and massive aid from the U.S. Meanwhile, Hamas et al thrive on repressive Israeli tactics to raise money, bolster their ranks and maintain their grip on Palestinan society. Same coin, just different sides.

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An excellent article here which illustrates both the pattern of assasisnation and retaliation and how thi slatest incident is being used by Sharon to distract from his domestic problems.

Israel's Assassinations Will Only Fuel Suicide Bombings

Israeli assassinations of a senior leader of a Palestinian militant group inevitably result in a rash of suicide bombing attacks on Israeli civilians, often within a week. And there was no one more senior than Sheikh Yassin. "Today Ariel Sharon ordered the killing of hundreds of Zionists in every street, city and centimeter of the occupied lands," a statement by the Hamas military wing said.

This predictable and deadly pattern first emerged following Israel's assassination of the Islamic Jihad's local leader Hani Abed in Gaza on November 2, 1994 and then of its founder Fathi Shikaki by Israeli operatives in Malta on October 28, 1995. Each was immediately followed by a wave of suicide bombings. The pattern was solidified when Israel's 1996 assassination of the Hamas bombing mastermind Yehiya Ayash, known as "the Engineer," led Hamas to respond with a horrific series of suicide attacks on Israeli buses in the following weeks, leaving nearly 100 Israelis dead and many more injured.

Since then, the Islamic militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad appear to have adopted a routine policy of responding to civilian massacres and especially assassinations with suicide bombings.

Indeed, this striking pattern has become even more frequent and predictable since Ariel Sharon became Prime Minister in February 2001 and escalated Israel's assassination campaign against Palestinian militant leaders, particularly when the militant groups were involved in negotiating or upholding cease-fires on attacks on Israeli civilians.

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However, you do skirt a good point, which is the almost symbiotic relationship between exteremists on both sides. Sharon and his ilk need Hamas and other militant groups and vice versa. For Israeli hawks, terror attacks allow them to use promises of increased security to maintain power in the face of economic failures and scandal. Terrorism also justifies a bloated military budget and massive aid from the U.S. Meanwhile, Hamas et al thrive on repressive Israeli tactics to raise money, bolster their ranks and maintain their grip on Palestinan society. Same coin, just different sides.

Then we are in agreement. Many Israelis never want to make peace. Does this not mean that it is the leaders of Hamas and Israel that are to blame?

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Yeah, people are blowing themselves and those around them to bits on buses, soldiers are gunning down children, people who have lived on the land for generations are being shoved off by religious zealots with Brooklyn accents, orchards are being burned to the ground and hate and fear reign, all becaus ethe people want attention. That is the stupidist assesment of the situation I've seen in a while.

I have to agree, BD, I sound frivolous.

But the Lebanese Civil War lasted from 1975-92 and killed 20,000 people. The war in El Salvador, 1980-92, killed 100,000. Which war attracted the most attention? Why?

It took 20 years to destroy Beirut, 2 years to destroy Sarajevo and 2 months to destroy Grozny. Which city is best known in the world? Why?

Is it because Jimmy Carter is a fundamentalist and believes the Middle East has some "end-of the-world" significance that Cambodia, Rwanda or global warming doesn't?

I suggest we all ignore the suckers. Let them kill each other if they want. I suspect if we didn't watch, without an audience, they'd get quickly bored.

Am I frivolous?

PS. I'm sure they'd still argue like all get out.

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I suggest we all ignore the suckers. Let them kill each other if they want. I suspect if we didn't watch, without an audience, they'd get quickly bored.

If history has shown anything, it's that people don't require an audience to perform horrible acts against their fellow man. We should never, ever turn away from these actions. Blindness and silence is the same as complicity.

Yes, you are being frivolous. :(

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I have to agree with you BD. If we ignore them, then all hell will break lose. Just look at what happened when the world ignored Hitler, Stalin and their ilk in the past. Some of the worst atrocities this world has ever seen. We as a whole have to keep voicing our opinons no matter what they may be so the powers that be might actually listen and try to do something about it. If we turn a blind eye, the death toll will just rise a lot quicker and bloodier than it is right now.

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As long as Arafat and his gunmen control the Palestinians there can be no road map to anywhere. If, as and when he is removed (one way or another) a possibility exists for progress.

What ever the merits of their cause, they are negated by terrorist acts and until these cease, there can be no rewards, no peace, no settlements. Rabid dogs are put down, not petted!

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As long as Arafat and his gunmen control the Palestinians there can be no road map to anywhere. If, as and when he is removed (one way or another) a possibility exists for progress.

Arafat and the PA control squat. Yes, he's as crooked as the day is long, but the PA as a whole lacks the resources and infastructure to govern Palestinian society and clampdown on groups like Hamas (which Israel helped create in the first place) and build a functioning civil society.

What ever the merits of their cause, they are negated by terrorist acts and until these cease, there can be no rewards, no peace, no settlements. Rabid dogs are put down, not petted!

Notwithstanding the fact that, histiorically, it is Israel that has precipitated escalations of violence through assassinations and military incursions, nowhere else in the world has it ever been incumbent on the occupied to end their own occupation. Israel holds the cards here.

(By the way, the last comment of yours could easily be read as implying that Palestinians are rabid dogs that need to be killed. I'm pretty sure that's not what you meant, but nonetheless, that's dangerous ground.)

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Arafat and the PA control squat. Yes, he's as crooked as the day is long, but the PA as a whole lacks the resources and infastructure to govern Palestinian society and clampdown on groups like Hamas (which Israel helped create in the first place) and build a functioning civil society.

So what would be a starting point then? If, as you say, they are incapable, then they are standing in the way of progress in the form that they are.

Maybe strengthening the PA ?

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BD:

If history has shown anything, it's that people don't require an audience to perform horrible acts against their fellow man. We should never, ever turn away from these actions. Blindness and silence is the same as complicity.

Yes, you are being frivolous.

You're right, BD. We shouldn't turn away from these actions. Instead, we should turn away from more atrocious actions in Yugoslavia or Nigeria or on Canadian native reserves (about which we could do something) because, the Middle East, well you know, "It's the Holy Land!" And some young guy sniffing gasoline is just not the same as some young chick with C4 moulded to her body.

BD, it's sad to say, but we can't do everything. We have to choose. What do you advise?

PlayFullGuy:

I have to agree with you BD. If we ignore them, then all hell will break lose. Just look at what happened when the world ignored Hitler, Stalin and their ilk in the past.

Hitler and Stalin were genuine threats. Maybe Saddam and Ossama were threats (thank God one is accounted for). According to BD, "Arafat and the PA control squat." IOW, Arafat is no threat.

All hell break loose? Hell, it already has. Palestinian: "We will push them into the sea." Israeli: "If someone tries to take my land, I will kill him."

These guys have a very serious contested divorce, labour relations dispute, hostile takeover to negotiate. Furthermore, they are all Semites! Do you know how long these palavers can go on for? (Do you know how much fun they'd be to watch if they renounced murder? These Semites - Lebanese, Jews, Palestinians - these original Mediterraneans - they understand Life itself! I think it has to do with the mild winter and the long spring.)

Well, frankly, thank God the Buddhists, Hindus and Confucians of the world form a wise majority who know better than to get involved. (They also see Jerusalem as another point on the map - no more relevant than Quito.)

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So what would be a starting point then? If, as you say, they are incapable, then they are standing in the way of progress in the form that they are.

Maybe strengthening the PA ?

Well, to me, the obvious starting point would be a complete Israeloi withdrawl from the OT and the dismantling of all settlements outside the pre-1967 borders. The question of how to build a cohesive civil society in the Palestinian areas is a little diceier. I'm afraid I don't have the answer to that, save for the idea that if Israel put half as much energy into working with the Palestinians as they currently put into the occupation, things would be a lot further ahead

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