April 19, 2004


The legacy of Lebanon (Leader, April 19, 2004, The Guardian)

When the Israeli military carried out its "targeted killing" of the wheelchairbound Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin just 28 days ago, there was a degree of puzzlement over why it had chosen that moment to assasinate him, when it could have done so many times previously. Now, following the killing of Sheikh Yassin's replacement as Hamas leader, Abdel-Aziz Rantissi, using the same deadly method of helicopterlaunched missile, it appears that Israel's prime minister Ariel Sharon is clearing the way for Israel's withdrawal from Gaza - and in doing so aims to decapitate the leadership of Hamas.

Etched deep within the collective memory of Israel's policy-makers is the image of its withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, and the triumphal scenes in the Arab world that celebrated its pullout as a victory for Hizbullah's guerrillas. The Israeli army was seen as humiliated and harassed into retreating back within its borders - and the subsequent morale boost it gave to the Palestinian cause is offered by some observers as a reason behind the outbreak of the second intifada. Debatable though that claim may be, Mr Sharon's government is determined that there should be no repeat of Lebanon, and that the pull-out from Gaza, so generously backed by the US administration last week, will be resolutely wrapped within an iron fist.

They can't really just be figuring that out now, can they?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 19, 2004 7:49 AM

The amazing part is that they figured it out at all. The fact that they deem the link between the second intifadah and the victory of Hezbollah in Lebanon "debatable" indicates that they still can't believe what they mysteriously discovered.

Posted by: Peter at April 19, 2004 9:02 AM
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