Israel Threatens to Murder Palestinian Prime Minister
Israel has threatened to murder Palestine’s Prime Minister unless terrorists release Corporal Shalit.
ISRAEL last night threatened to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh if Hamas militants did not release a captured Israeli soldier unharmed. The unprecedented warning was delivered to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a letter as Israel debated a deal offered by Hamas to free Corporal Gilad Shalit.
It came as Israeli military officials readied a second invasion force for a huge offensive into Gaza. Hamas’s Gaza-based political leaders, including Mr Haniyeh, had already gone into hiding. But last night’s direct threat to kill Mr Haniyeh, a democratically elected head of state, sharply raised the stakes.
This move is stupid beyond words. Not only will it ensure that Israel loses the handful of friends it still has in the international community–I can’t imagine even the United States countenancing this move–but it plays right into the hands of the terrorists. The Hamas renegades who kidnapped Shalit would love for Israel to murder the PM, ensuring that a state of war will be made permanent.
The irony here is that Israel had international sympathy, with even Arab states like Egypt pressuring for Shalit’s release. But this moronic threat will surely change that.
Michael van der Galien disagrees. “Instead of giving in to the blackmail, Israel is now making crystal clear what’s at stake for the Palestinians: they caused this mess, if they want to save themselves they’d better return Shalit now.” But this isn’t a playground; it’s international politics. One doesn’t murder a head of state and launch a war because terrorists have kidnapped a soldier.
Don Sensing believes the move “shows that the Israeli army is running the show. Israeli PM Ehud Olmert is not a strong leader, and the country’s minister of defence isn’t, either.” Nor particularly bright, apparently.
AllahPundit thinks this a political ploy:
It could be that Shalit is already dead and Israel knows it, and they’re putting the letter out to give themselves political cover to target Haniyeh (i.e., he had fair warning). If not, expect them to deny having sent the letter in the morning; confirming it would be tantamount to daring Hamas to kill him, which isn’t the most prudent move when dealing with a wacko jihadist honor/shame culture.
The latter is certainly true. Again, though, the propaganda value to Hamas and the Palestinians of an Israeli murder of an elected head of state would be tremendous.
UPDATE (Greg Tinti): BREAKING: According to witnesses in Gaza City, an Israeli helicopter launched a missile attack on the office of the Palestinian PM Ismail Haniyeh, who was believed not to be in the office at the time.