By: Yuval Nemirovsky
Unfortunately, Israel is experiencing another wave of attacks by mortars, missiles, and kazamim, against its population and cities. This time (May 2023) those responsibles are the Palestinian Islamic JIHAD in the Gaza Strip.
Israel had used the method of selective elimination of terrorist leaders in the past. It happened with Sheikh Yassin of Hamas in 2004 and many other cases.
There is a big discussion about this method and whether it is truly a tool in the fight against terrorism.
For many, it doesn’t change much if these terrorist leaders are eliminated or not. It is said that for every terrorist killed, there are three others waiting to take his place.
So why is Israel using this tool if it is not even a deterrent to others taking the places of these terrorists?
Nevertheless in some of these operations, finely planned and elaborated with maximum precision, Palestinian civilians were also killed.
Israel is the most ethical and moral army in the world. Each soldier has the obligation to ask himself if the order he is carrying out is ethical. But it is clear that uninvolved civilians are likely to be killed in these targeted killings anyway.
So, should we support them? Why does Israel do them?
There is a great consensus in Israel on this method.
Mainly, I think, for two reasons.
The first speaks fully of the tactics of the intelligence agencies and the Israeli army: Being able to reach that level of information about the localization, plans and doing of terrorist leaders is amazing. Not only does Israel eliminate the leader who makes decisions, but it harms and destroys the “modus operandi” of terrorist cells and brigades, which will need a long time to rebuild themselves..
The second reason, I believe, is that the Israeli people need to “identify” their enemies. Israel has a war against terrorist groups and not against “the Palestinians.” There is an Israeli consensus about our enemies. Also political parties of the Zionist left and also from the Zionist right will see the Jihad as enemies. The tactics used in operations can be criticized but there should be no discussion about the true face of these Palestinian terrorist groups that do not accommodate the existence of the state of Israel and call for its destruction as well as that of the Jewish people. We have no partner!
In short, we must ask ourselves if as Zionists and educators we are comfortable with these decisions and tactics.
In my view, knowing firsthand the ethics of our military and understanding the tactic of eliminating terrorist leaders, we should support it.