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Scene of a targeted hit in Gaza Photo: AP
Scene of a targeted hit in Gaza Photo: AP
 
 

The tale of the targeted killing

Op-ed: Operational strategy vis-à-vis Gaza doesn’t work and is unfair, immoral; there must be another way

Uri Misgav
Published: 12.13.11, 21:11 / Israel Opinion

A nation is waiting, waiting with bated breath to receive an unequivocal miracle – that of the targeted killing. Like the deus ex machina of the Greek theater, that higher power which is independent of time, space and circumstance; like an axiom – an absolute proposition that needs no proof or explanation; like a celestial element, free of rationale or, heaven forbid, morals, which seems to wreak security and political havoc, but in fact introduces order to a chaotic world. The targeted killing is here again.

 

Reality as we know it is so convenient. The language is familiar: The “target” is always a “senior member of a military wing.” They have many senior members – apparently it's an army of generals. He is always taken out moments before launching a terror attack (“a ticking bomb”) or moments afterwards (“retaliation”). It always follows an “imminent threat” and an “operational opportunity,” and the consequences be damned.

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There is no resisting the temptation of the “targeted killing,” even if the target's focus is a little murky. A “surgical strike” may be executed at the heart of a residential area or on a school's doorstep, and we'll leave the innocent casualties to the surgeons at the Shifa Hospital. Just as long as the IDF “settles the score,” as if this was a dusty noontime western and not the defense force of a sovereign state, which is supposed to consider the overall interests of its citizens.

 

Ambiguous routine

“High alert in the southern communities” will follow: A million Israeli citizens, who are just as important as those living in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, will be called to stay near “bunkers” and “secure areas.” “Qassams” and “Grads” will follow next, landing in “open areas” for the most part or somewhere within the “Sha'ar Henegev Regional Council limits.” The Military Censor trumps everything – one mustn't help the terrorists with their aim. And the tangible price of the sacred assassination becomes more and more ambiguous along the way.

 

The defense establishment will declare the fire a “breach of the understandings,” the media will quickly report that “the terror is back” and a “strike” will scramble along. First, a drone will hum, an aerial strike of “terror hubs” or “training facilities” will follow; babies and their parents from the building next door will be rushed to nearby hospitals or cemeteries, and the IDF will “regret” that innocent people were hurt, but will stress that “Hamas is responsible.”

 

Anyone who dares question the political, strategic, tactical, operational or moral logic of the events will immediately be labeled as a “leftist,” and mostly as a pest. Silence – there's shooting in progress. Meanwhile, another “escalation” will be brewing: More rockets, more strikes, more targets and more victims. Eventually, with Egyptian “mediation”, a “lull” will be achieved. Until the next round.

 

Where does this cycle of blood draw its strength from? How has an entire nation, the descendants of the wisest people in history, become subjected to its bizarre rules and language? How could it have miraculously hypnotized Israelis, while simultaneously imposing mind-numbing paralysis on their common sense?

  

And the most important question of all: When will someone in the chain of command – an operations NCO, or a pilot, or a squadron commander, or the Air Force commander, or the IDF chief, or a minister without portfolio, or a defense minister, or the prime minister, ever get up and say – either whisper or shout: “Enough.”

 

We've been here before. It doesn’t work. It's not beneficial. It's immoral and unfair – to the children and parents in Gaza and to the children and parents in the Gaza vicinity communities. There has to be another way.

 

 

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