Targeted Killings: Good for the U.S.; Good for Israel
On November 14th, Israeli President Shimon Peres visited a school the town of Sderot in southern Israel. Sderot is the closest border town to Hamas-controlled Gaza and has sustained over 120 rocket attacks in just the prior four days.
"We were born as 'the code red children'", said Chen Malkiel. "Code Red "is the name of the siren that blasts giving residents no longer than 15 seconds to run to shelter."We are children who live in fear and anxiety that at any moment we will hear the code red siren, have to leave our games, our friends and enter the safe rooms", continued Malkiel.
There have been one million people, extending from Ashdod to Sderot who have been receiving a steady barrage of rocket attacks and have fifteen seconds to run for their very lives. Israel has endured over 800 of these attacks from Gaza in the last year.
Could you imagine how the United States would respond if San Diego were receiving this sort of an onslaught from Mexico, or Buffalo from Canada?
According to article 51 of the United Nations Charter, every any nation has an inherent right to defend itself.
Hamas, which is on the official State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, was swept into power in free and open elections on January 26, 2006. It is the group that has been behind much of the suicide bombings which Israel has endured since 1996.
On Wednesday, Israel embarked on Operation "Pillar of Cloud" or "Pillar of Defense" in English, immediately conducting a surgical air strike that killed Ahmed Jabari in a pinpoint strike as he was driving along a Gaza street. Ahmed Jabari is the terrorist mastermind who had orchestrated the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and was behind many of the bloody suicide bombings.
This targeted assassination is very much like what the United States has conducted in Yemen. Anwar al Awlaki, the US born radical cleric who was identified as chief of external operations of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also killing his teenage son. The successful killing of Osama Bin Laden in May of 2011 by Navy SEALs is another example of targeted assassination.
Since September 11, 2001, the United States has adopted a policy of targeted killing as a crucial tactic to pursue those responsible for terrorism. In recent years, both the CIA and the Pentagon have utilized this measure with increasing frequency as part of their general strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in their counterterrorism efforts in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
Since President Obama's election in 2008, the United States has escalated its policy of targeted assassinations, primarily through the use of unmanned drone attacks, much like the strike on Ahmed Jabari.
This sort of tactic has become necessary Jihadi practices that defy the accepted norms of warfare.
Nonuniformed Islamist combatants, often hiding in heavily populated civilian areas, have been waging a war against Israel and the United States, using any means necessary.
The civilized world cannot stand for this.
The U.S. Department of State should be strongly applauded for standing with Israel. Yesterday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, "There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We support Israel's right to defend itself, and we encourage Israel to continue to take every effort to avoid civilian casualties."
Israel has always been the canary on the coal mine. The longer Israel, known by radical Islamists as "the Minor Satan", continues to allow its civilian population to endure this sort of suffering, the more encouraged those Jihadists become to attack America, "the Great Satan", and the rest of the civilized world.
The radical Islamists see this as a civilizational war. Whether or not we want to believe it, they feel that this is their moment in history, after being dormant for fourteen centuries, and watching the ascendance of the West. They resent us and they despise us. They despise our values, they despise our freedoms, and they despise our very way of life.
The entire free civilized world should be applauding Israel right now, for finding the courage to do what it has to do to defend its own people.
Sarah N. Stern is Founder and President of EMET, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, an unabashedly pro-Israel and pro-American think tank and policy shop in our nation's capital.