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Unformatted text preview: tit for tat Salah Shehada lived a violent life. During his last two years, the senior Hamas leader directed up to 52 terrorist operations against Israel, killing 220 civilians and 16 soldiers. And on July 22, 2002, Shehada died a violent death: an Israeli f-16 dropped a 2,000-pound bomb on his apartment building, obliterating it with him inside. Before deciding to kill Shehada, Israeli o⁄cials had first gone to the Palestinian Authority and repeatedly demanded his arrest.When the pa refused, the Israeli government then sought to apprehend him directly. But they gave up after realizing that Shehada lived in the middle of Gaza City and that any attempt to grab him would probably spark a general melee. It was then that the Israelis decided to kill Shehada. But things still remained complicated;according to Moshe Yaalon,then the chief of staª of the Israel Defense Forces, Israel had to call oª its first eight attempts because Shehada was always accompanied by his daughter. Only when Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, learned that he would be in an apartment building with no innocents nearby did the operation proceed. But the intelligence turned out to be incomplete: Shehada had his daughter with him after all, and the buildings surrounding his own were occupied. When the massive bomb demolished the target, it also damaged several of these other buildings. Shehada was killed—but so were at least 14 civilians,including his daughter and eight other children. [ 95 ] Do Targeted Killings Work? Daniel Byman Daniel Byman is Director of the Center for Peace and Security Studies and of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. The reaction to the attack was overwhelmingly negative. Hamas called it a massacre and said it would fight until “Jews see their own body parts in every restaurant, every park, every bus and every street.” Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians turned out to mourn the victims. World leaders condemned the attack, and even the Bush administration called it “heavy-handed.” Israel temporarily became more cautious.When, two months later, its intelligence services learned that many of Hamas’ surviving senior leaders (“the dream team,” some analysts called them) had assembled for a meeting, the Israelis struck with a much smaller bomb, hoping to avoid civilian casualties this time. They did; but they also failed to kill the targets, who went on to plot further attacks. These events highlight a few of the many dilemmas that a liberal democracy encounters when it finds itself at war with terrorists. Ques- tions abound:By what rules should the democracy play? How far should it go in taking the fight to the enemy? And what standards and metrics should it use to judge the propriety and eªectiveness of its actions?...
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- Spring '12
- Hamas, Killings, ign affairs