Political assassinations dissonate in democracies

Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has taken the extreme measure of ordering the assassination of the spiritual leader of the Hamas terrorist organisation. This ill-considered action does not befit Israel, a democracy. Furthermore, it is bound to create more insecurity than it was designed to counter.

The worst result of the Israeli action is elevating a criminal into a martyr. Terrorists do not deserve this promotion, even in death. The vaccuum resulting from the departure of the Sheikh Yassin is bound to throw up terrorist fragments which will pose a greater security risk. As Shiekh Yassin himself was not a armed combatant, it would have made a lot more sense to have arrested him and have him put him to trial. Israel has rule of law, and its laws are tough, Sheikh Yassin would not have gotten away in the manner of the terrorist queen bees in Indonesia and Pakistan. It is necessary to expose and discredit the terrorist creed, which cant be done by giving them the respectability of martyrdom.

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Killing of Yassin a turning point: Some Israeli strategists apparently hoped that, at the very least, it would be severely weakened. As Prime Minister Ariel Sharon continues to float his “disengagement plan,” which would entail a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from most of the Gaza Strip – including the 17 Jewish settlements there – and some of the West Bank, the Israeli military has grown concerned with the threat of Hamas capitalizing on the moment of retreat to declare a victory. The worry that Hamas would “win” in the withdrawal from Gaza – similar to the way Hizbullah scored a self-declared victory when Israel withdrew from South Lebanon in the spring of 2000 – has unleashed an Israeli military drive to truncate the power of Hamas.[Christian Science Monitor]

Yassin Instilled Passion for Glory of ‘Martyrdom’: Whenever Sheik Ahmed Yassin was asked if he feared assassination at Israel’s hands — an often-posed query in his final months, as one lieutenant after another was targeted for fiery death by Israeli helicopter gunships — the white-scarved cleric would fix his questioner with a piercing gaze while a half-smile played across his waxy features.

“All my life,” he would declare in his high-pitched voice, “I have dreamed of martyrdom.” In killing the spiritual leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement, known as Hamas, Israel may have granted him his greatest wish — and made him the ultimate symbol of the violently self-immolating ideology he propounded.[Los Angeles Times]