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Why the Assassination of Sheikh Ahmed

Yassin Must Be Condemned
by Ozlem Alt‎ok

September 11 did
not
mark the beginning of a new world. Not everything is different now. For a great majority of the planet's people, things are as before. (That is, if you don’t count the waiting lines at the airports--which are not a big concern for most of the world’s people, who do not fly anyway.)
 
Terrorism is not a new phenomenon. Terrorism, according to the French government, was what the Algerians did startingfrom 1860s up until 1960s. The term terrorism was used by the British to describe resistance movements in Burma and Malaysia.
Since its inception in 1948, the state of Israel has been fighting terrorists! Could there be a link between colonization and terrorism? Are states automatically immune from deserving the label ‘terrorist’ by virtue of their institutionalized and diplomatic status?
 
There is much talk of terrorism, and there is the "war on terror," whose end even the most enlightened, including G.W. himself, cannot foresee. What is terrorism anyway? Broadly speaking, it is "the use of indiscriminate violence (meaning that which possibly harms innocent civilians) as a means to achieve political ends." It is important to point to "innocence" as a concept, yet defining it may be more difficult. Are adult Israeli settlers in Gaza and West Bank (all illegal under international law) innocent just by virtue of being civilians?
Do they not bear any of the guilt, given the state subsidies they receive to settle lands whose previous inhabitants are more impoverished and humiliated with every passing day?
 
Some progressives are uncomfortable speaking out against Israel’s assassination of Hamas’ spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The United Nations--which, thanks to deliberate and consistent hindrance from the United States, has failed to protect the Palestinian people--has already condemned the attack. On the morning of March 24th, Condoleezza Rice reminded the nation: "Let's remember that Hamas is a terrorist organization and that Sheikh Yassin has himself, personally, we believe, been involved in terrorist planning."
 
The operative clause here is "Let’s remember that." Whenever a government official, especially a member of a criminal government such as the one ruling the United States at the moment, tries to remind people of something, we as progressive people must try to remember other things that
they want us to push aside. Those other things, consigned to oblivion by active propaganda on the one hand, and our compliance on the other, serve to tie our consciences in knots, diminish our ability to think critically, and reduce us to comfortable little beings. Some may prefer this, and say "That s.o.b deserved it; he is responsible for the killing of so many innocent people." The problem with this outpouring of compassion for Israelis who lost their lives, this humanistic catharsis, is that it omits an analysis of the root causes of the problem and thus is misdirected. (Not to mention the hypocrisy of the same people's silence in the face of
Palestinian deaths.)
 
The logic in such complacency is based on the oft-heard claim that Israel is acting in self-defense, and avenging its own dead. This argument is easily refuted, though, simply by reference to a Zionist leader, head of the Jewish Agency’s Colonization Department, who stated as early as 1940 that:
There is no room for both peoples in this country . . . . There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries. To transfer all of them, not one village,
not one tribe should be left. [1]

The self-righteous spokespeople for the criminal activities of Israel have claimed again and again that whatever Israel does, it does in self-defense. This seems to fly well only when fed by our incapacity to remember or do a little factchecking on our own. Here is a more recent quote, this time from the infamous "Koenig Memorandum" (named after then Minister of the Interior, Israel Koenig) that was meant to remain secret, but was leaked to the press in 1976: "We must use terror, assassination, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population."[2]

If these seem still too ancient to have any bearing on Israeli policy, take a look at how Ariel Sharon when he was Foreign Minister, addressed a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, as reported by Agence France-Presse on November 15, 1998: It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonialization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands. The point here is that the recent assassination is not a retaliatory action
. It is part of a bigger, deliberate and hardly secret plan. So how does the State of Israel go around uprooting people, killing them, building walls where their trees blossomed one year ago, electing as prime minister a war criminal whose pleasure is compounded every time the Palestinian resistance strikes back – for that will give him a further pretext to quench his thirst for blood? [3]

The answer is simple: the United States, the world’s sole superpower, permits, feeds, and sustains it. To help picture the extent of this activity
, let us compare federal aid to each New Jersey resident ($976 a year) with the direct US aid received by each Israeli citizen ($657). [4]
 
So, you ask, why should the assassination of an Islamic fundamentalist like Ahmed Yassin be condemned?
First, assassination of anyone must be condemned. Seven people were killed along with Yassin in the attack. Condemning such attacks is not tantamount to mourning for Yassin’s death personally. Condemning such attacks does not make you a staunch supporter of Hamas, or anti-Semitic. This form of an extrajudicial death penalty is not acceptable. It is, even as a result of judicial proceedings, inhuman. Second, Israel has made it clear that it is serious in crushing rightful resistance to its brutal colonial occupation, and aims to stir up more resistance to justify more brutal attacks. Third, the Israeli Defense Forces have an irrefutable tradition of collectively punishing Palestinians, and they will use the aftermath of the assassination as reason to harass and kill randomly. Fourth, even though Hamas does not enjoy a majority of Palestinians’ support, the newly found support it has is thanks to Israeli policy of leaving Palestinians nowhere else to turn.

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جميع الحقوق محفوظة لموقع الشيخ أحمد ياسين - القاهرة 2006