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Media Critique #29 - No Quarter To Terrorists

Media Critique #29 - No Quarter To Terrorists

The world jumps on Israel for its campaign to eliminate the Hamas terrorist threat. What alternative option would they recommend pursuing?

Israel's attack against senior Hamas leaders in Nablus on July 31 led to a spate of newspaper editorials, which in some cases echoed the criticism of the U.S. State Department.

The missile attack "undermines any chance of the cease-fire with the Palestinians that the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon claims it wants," charged a Washington Post editorial entitled "Israel's Escalation." "Sharon has now escalated Israeli attacks from targeting alleged Palestinian bomb makers and street fighters to their political leaders."

The claim that the Hamas leadership is "political" is false. In the Arab world in general, and particularly among radical Islamic groups like Hamas, there is little separation between the religious, political and military divisions.

Hamas is officially classified by the State Department as a "terrorist" organization. The department's description of Hamas does not differentiate between the goals of the military and political arms: "Various Hamas elements have used both political and violent means, including terrorism, to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel."

Hamas has never accepted any cease-fire with Israel. Hamas and other Palestinians have never ceased shooting at motorists, the mortar shelling of Israeli communities, or the planting of anti-personnel bombs on Israel's streets.

The Hamas leaders targeted by Israel were responsible for terrorist bombs that killed 37 Israelis and wounded more than 370 in the last nine months, including the gruesome carnage at the Tel Aviv disco. And for every "successful" terrorist bomb, there were many more that were intercepted or exploded miraculously without injuring civilians.

Two Palestinian children died in Israel's raid against the Hamas commanders. That is truly regrettable, and Israel's leaders expressed sorrow over their deaths. However, as Hamas plans more carnage like the Tel Aviv disco bombing that killed 22 Israeli teens, it makes sense that removing the terrorist threat means in the long run fewer innocent children will die.

Did Israel use excessive force? Excellent insight comes from an American military officer reflecting on the 1989 American invasion of Panama. "The lessons I absorbed from Panama confirmed all my convictions over the preceding 20 years, since the days of doubt over Vietnam. Have a clear political objective and stick to it. Use all the force necessary and do not apologize for going in big if that is what it takes. Decisive force ends wars quickly and in the long run saves lives."

The author, of course, is Colin Powell, writing in his autobiography, "My American Journey," page 421.

An important axiom bears repeating: When fighting terrorists, there is no such thing as "excessive force." Ronald Reagan followed this principle in attacking Libya in 1986 after a terrorist bombing killed Americans in a Berlin disco. Colin Powell followed this principle in the 1989 American incursion into Panama. And Bill Clinton struck hard against Bin Laden's infrastructure after the bombings of American embassies in Africa on August 8, 1998 -- now nearing its third anniversary.

Israel must continue to protect its citizens, despite the condemnations. When Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, the condemnations were swift and harsh. But as history vindicated Israel for its actions back then, it will undoubtedly do so again in the fight against Hamas terror.

Several newspapers followed The Washington Post editorial line. But breaking from the pack, the Chicago Sun Times proclaimed in an editorial entitled, "Don't knock it; U.S. may try it":

"The State Department condemned the Israelis. It's hard to understand why... What Foggy Bottom seems to be saying is that the Israelis should, essentially, do nothing. But there can be no time-out in the war on terrorism. Groups committed to the destruction of Israel boast that they have suicide bombers ready to act. Israel cannot sit by in hopes of foiling an attack at the last minute."

If you wish to commend the Sun Times, email to:

Letters to the Washington Post can be sent to:

How did your newspaper spin this event? Take a role in the battle against media bias and use the points in this article to write a response.

August 4, 2001

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 9

(9) Robert Marchiselli, September 13, 2001 12:00 AM

U.S. MUST WAGE WAR on terrorism NOW!!

The U.S is known to be a country that doesn't take @!!!@@@! from anyone. We need to show these terrorists that they will not survive. Get the facts on what happened with the Pentagon and World Trade Center bombings then side with our allies and wipe these groups off the face of the Earth!!! PERIOD....NO MORE TERRORISM!! THE BASTARDS WANT TO MEET ALLAH? LET's help them do it now!!

(8) Eric, August 11, 2001 12:00 AM

my cat could have written a better article

The article seems to me an rambling of degenerated mind. Rehashing old lines to fill a page. The truth of the matter is that Israel has the right to live. As every attack is directed to prevent it to live, it is only self-defense to try to stop the attack when you can and/or to dissuade another at the same time.
The psychological "meanders" that the author uses for his discourse are just that, psychological meanders.

Israel is there to stay and its enemies had better understand it. If they do, there will be peace; if they don't, G. help everyone.


(7) Anonymous, August 11, 2001 12:00 AM

I stand proud with Israel!

If President Bush were truly smart, he would stop condemning Israel and stand with them. He would join up with them and form a true alliance. This, however, could never happen because Israel does not have the one thing the U.S. wants from the Arab countries--oil. It is sad that as always monetery gains take precedent over principles, values, and right from wrong. I believe you are handling these suicide bombers the only way one could, and that you have done a marvelous job containing yourselves and the bloodshed. You have the intellence and the capability to overtake the Palestinians, yet you restrain yourselves. You economically support the Palestinians, yet they continue to breed hate and irrational resentment toward you. I am behind you, Yerushalayim, as long as you never give yourselves up to them. You are truly a remarkable people, and I wish you peace with all my heart.

(6) Howard Cooper, August 6, 2001 12:00 AM

puzzled somewhat

I agreed with the bulk of your analysis. Nevertheless, you and the IDF say that the Hamas people who were killed were responsible: "for terrorist bombs that killed 37 Israelis and wounded more than 370 in the last nine months." What is the source for these statistics?
Next, wouldn't it be better to capture these people and give them a trial. What ever happened to the rule of law? I thought that in a democratic state that everyone is entitled to a fair trial.

(5) Shira Levin, August 6, 2001 12:00 AM

Israel's against Hamas terriorists

Israel needs to do whatever it takes to
protect our people. It is tragic that 2
children were killed unless they would
have been future Hamas terrists. Terriorism needs to be fought.

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