Israel's assassinations raise questions
Jerusalem, Nov 19: The Israeli missile tore into Ahmed Jabari's car, incinerating the occupants inside as they drove in the Gaza Strip, igniting the worst violence in years in the occupied Palestinian territories.
"Ahmed Jabari: Eliminated," the Israel Defense Forces later posted on Twitter.
The assassination of Hamas' military commander last Wednesday was launched in response to Jabari's "decade-long terrorist activity", the Israeli intelligence service claimed, confirming it carried out the strike.
The attack sparked the escalation of the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Jabari's killing - one of several recent extrajudicial killings in the Gaza Strip - has also raised questions about Israel's long-standing policy of assassinating Palestinian leaders, in what the Israelis call "targeted killings".
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told Al Jazeera the Jabari assassination was legal. He noted NATO countries "around the world have used this method against terrorists".
"You're talking about people who are combatants. You're talking about people who have declared war on you, people who are terrorising your civilian population, people who are directly responsible for countless deaths. They are a legitimate target under international law," Regev said
HISTORY OF ASSASSINATIONS
Research by the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found between the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000 until the end of June 2008, the Israeli military carried out 348 "extrajudicial execution operations" in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The attacks killed 754 Palestinians; 521 individuals specifically targeted and 233 civilian bystanders, including 71 children and 20 women.
"These premeditated executions are carried out with the explicit approval of the highest ranking Israeli political and military officials, who claim these executions are 'targeted killings' of Palestinians who allegedly threaten the security of the State of Israel," the report says.
Shawan Jabarin, director of Palestinian human rights group Al Haq, told Al Jazeera that Israel's policy of "targeted killings" only triggers more violence, and increases Palestinian resistance.
"Israel, since the beginning, knows well that when it carries out this kind of killing, a reaction will come directly to that and the civilians will pay a high price," Jabarin said. "But Israel feels that it is not accountable and because of that, it continues with the same policy."
In one of the most high-profile Israeli assassinations, Ghassan Khanafani - Palestinian writer and member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - was killed by a car bomb in Beirut in 1972. One year later, Israel killed three high-ranking Palestine Liberation Organisation leaders, also in Beirut.
Most recently, after almost 25 years of denial and secrecy, Israel admitted killing former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's second in command, Khalil al-Wazir, in a 1988 raid in Tunisia.
While Israel has yet to publicly admit its culpability, Israeli intelligence agents - reportedly using falsified, foreign passports - are suspected of assassinating Hamas leader and co-founder of its military wing Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room in 2010.
According to a report released in 2010 by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Israel refused to admit carrying out "targeted killings" for decades.
"There is no policy, and there never will be a policy or a reality, of willful killings of suspects … The principle of the sanctity of life is a fundamental principle of the [Israeli army]," it quoted the Israel Defense Forces as saying.
However, in November 2000 Israel admitted conducting assassinations.
Israel has argued its use of assassinations was legal under international humanitarian law because they are carried out in self-defence, and because the Palestinian Authority wasn't properly investigating and prosecuting acts of "terrorism", including suicide bombings in Israel. Al Jazeera
Lastupdate on : Mon, 19 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 19 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST
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