By DENNIS PEACOCKE, The Bottom Line - September 2001
World opinion, at least publicly, is increasingly directed against Israel's recent policy of targeting known terrorist leaders and sending out assassination teams to destroy them. To the international community, it seems that killing specific people for specific crimes is not as kosher as killing random people for the simple purpose of terrorizing the general population.
Civilized nations, for thousands of years, drew a distinction in times of war between targeting an enemy's soldiers for death, and for targeting the innocent populations of the opposition. Indeed, such a distinction was a major criterion for differentiating between "civilized" and "barbarian" people. War had codes of general agreement even if those codes were often violated. Terrorism as such was viewed as a cowardly act by sick people who deserved the worst of deaths themselves. Protecting and excluding children, the aged, and women from battle was the publicly agreed upon virtue of civilized or Christian nations.
Even today the provisos of the Geneva Convention are upheld as the minimum standard of wartime conduct. Pinochet, and other dictators, especially in the Balkan Wars, are frequently in the news as people demand justice for their alleged "war crimes."
Why then is Israel being evil-spoken of for following a policy wholly consistent with these widely accepted values? I completely agree that the Palestinians have some strong merit to their cause for just settlements of the land disputes with Israel. However, their unofficial policy of randomly blowing up civilians is cowardly and unconscionable. It makes Aarafat appear to be as slimy as the Israelis would like us to believe, and the Palestinians as unworthy of holding out for "justice" as child-molesters demanding the right to express themselves sexually. Terrorism is totally a self-defeating policy for them: stupid, brutish, and wholly undercutting the credibility of their cause.
Until the Palestinians put an end to their unofficial policy of terrorism, Israel's wisest response is to go after the cowards hiding in dark, secret places, who send their young men to die in self-immolation as they also plot the death of Israeli innocents. This madness must come to an end. These schemers and their loved ones should be no less targeted for destruction than the Israeli noncombatants who were destroyed while out shopping. Cowardly killers need to meet openly the consequences that which they secretly press upon others, and that is the bottom line.