The policy of targeted assassinations was immoral and illegal in the first place. It really had little to do with the prevention of terror. The real intent of targeted assassination was to legitimize the employment of political murder as an instrument in the execution of crimes against the Palestinian people, from collective punishment up to politicide -– the denial of their national rights. In the present context, these are also crimes against peace and the people of Israel.
Sharon has opted to include political assassination as a weapon to defend his crumbling authority. His coalition is falling apart, his ministers openly defy him, his party is in disarray. Even more important: his prestige with the broad public is in a state of disintegration. Just weeks ago he had massive support from the public who believed that he was trying to get us out of the current mess. But he has also squandered this last vestige of prestige by bumbling inconsistency and refusing to tell anyone what he is exactly trying to do. Adventurism always came naturally to Sharon, he still feels more comfortable in battle dress. So we learn that the aging general, frustrated and more isolated by the hour, personally directs the "heroic" helicopter raid on a civilian convoy of a religious leader on his way to worship.
There is method in this madness. If ever an act was designed to deepen the hostility of the Arab and Moslem world against Israel, its people and its friend, this was it. Sharon is betting the future of Israel on the clash between civilizations. His hope for Israel's survival is pinned to the banners of George Bush's kind of Christendom and its battle against the Arab and Moslem world.
The Bush-Sharon alliance will weather the present storm. The two need each other in their hour of adversity. Even so, Sharon's present infatuation with political murder, may cause problems in Washington, where things like this are farmed out to proper departments of dirty tricks. In the capitals of this world, leaders do not usually brag about killing other leaders.
Reuven Kaminer is a prominent Israeli activist and writer. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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