Whoa, talk about opening a Pandora’s box.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has decided to tell the world that those Palestinians who attack Israeli soldiers are NOT terrorists. In another interview, she added that attacks specifically against soldiers could be seen as “more legitimate” than attacks on Israeli civilians.

This is not a small issue. I recently watched the propaganda film, Paradise Now, wherein two suicide bombers are sent on a mission. The filmmakers lie to the poor, naive audience by having the recruiters tell the bombers that they should target soldiers. Of course, we know from years of watching civilians getting murdered and maimed by these pigs, not to mention prison interviews they give proudly, that they are not sent out to target soldiers but to target civilians. In another scene in the movie, the filmmakers show a city bus laden with soldiers, implying of course that this makes the bus a legitimate target.

One of the arguments that cynical pro-Palestinians out there use when defending (!!!) suicide bombings is that there are soldiers in the restaurants or buses being exploded. Alternatively they might say that just as Israel creates “collateral damage” when targeting Palestinian terrorists with missiles from aircraft, the suicide bombers are doing the same. Never mind that Israel really targets specific terrorists and then strives to minimize additional casualties, which is the opposite of the modus operandi of the suicide bombers, they will claim that if a bus has a single soldier on it, or a mother bearing a male baby who might become a soldier, then blowing it up is legitimate.

Some people will now claim that Livni has opened the door to treating Palestinian terrorists as combatants in a war instead of as terrorists. This is not a small matter and one that will probably be investigated by the powers-that-be, unless the Israeli government retracts her remarks or makes it clear they do not represent official policy.

But these are details. If one eliminates the cynical use of the soldier sitting on the bus as an excuse for blowing up all the other, civilian, bus-riders, one is left with an interesting question: is a terrorist not a terrorist if he targets soldiers?

My answer is, yes. In my mind, when the King David Hotel was blown up by Jews in 1948, it was a justifiable attack because it was a military headquarters and the bombers gave several advance warnings to those in the building. In a war, soldiers are fair game. Even civilian casualties around them are legitimate as I understand international law.

Soldiers are soldiers and their job is to fight when they are in a war or a battle. As such, they are also legitimate targets. Those who attack them are playing by the rules of war very often. What is unacceptable and in fact makes them into terrorists is that they take their war and target others who are not soldiers. Civilans are off limits, and exploding a bomb in an area where they may be, is unconscionable. In order to preserve the current model of who is perceived a terrorist, perhaps Ms. Livni needs to expand on her remarks and make sure to express that the presence of a soldier at an attack, does not open the door to any form of moral justification for the terrorist.

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9 Comments

  • Lets just remember that to a good muslim (or potential terrorist) all jew is a good target (por all non-muslim)… But then, they know they need some support from all thoes peace loving left wing people in occident, so they give 2 very different speeches. One that clearly says kill for us, and the other that says they are just trying to survive in this oh so unfair situation. What shocks me is to see an israelie tries to justify this. Terroriste have no respect for life whatesoever, not even for the poeple on their side. Palestinian kids have been denied the right to a childhood, and are only taught hatred. Peace isnt on the way -at least for a while.

  • The thing which Ms. Levine fails to realize is that each terror attack is not an isolated incident. If this is a war (which is the only time attacks on soldiers can be on some level legitimate) than each attack is a battle on the same front in the same war. It doesn’t matter that some attacks target soldiers and others target civilians, the Jihadists view both in the same light, attacks against the enimy. As long as they target both civillians and soldiers, then all attacks are illegitimate. If they only attack soldiers, it would be a different story. To say nothing of the fact that they same terrorists who target solidiers still use their own civilian population as a shield,if only by launching their attacks from civilian areas or by seeking refuge among then, thus involving cevilians nonetheless.

  • good post,however Israel already treats captured terrorists like enemy combatants.They are held in good conditions and can defend themselves in a trial.

  • Livni’s correct. Middle, this is one of the salutary effects of the Hamas victory. What may have been written off in the past as the work or ‘militias’ or ‘factions’ or ‘terrorists’ must now be ascribed to the Palestinian leadership.

    This is part of democratic accountability, and accountability within the international system. When the French engaged in terrorist-style attacks in Algeria, such attacks were imputed to France.

    There’s no hiding for Hamas anymore. This is a good thing. A very good thing.

  • Ah, the big question of Who and What is a Terrorist? I’m in an Arab-Israeli Conflict class right now in University (betcha can’t guess what side of the story the teacher is teaching… oh ok, your right, she’s Jewish, so she supports the Palestinian cause and makes a lot of appologies…)

    Anyway, in the class the other day we decided to define terrorist, and the question of civilian attacts came up. Don’t worry though, there was a brilliant responce given using logic a Talmudist would be proud of. “Terrorism requires attacks on civilians, attacks on soldiers do not count, but in Israel, where everyone has either been a soldier, is an active soldier, or will be a soldier because of their draft laws, it can be argued that ther are no civilians in Israel and that everyone is a military target.”

    Everyone’s a military target, gee that makes it much easier to kill indescriminatly and get away with it.

  • Purim Hero, this is a classic Hamas propaganda line. You need to revisit the issue in the class because only about 70% of all males in Israel serve in the military at some point. If your apologetic professor considers this little detail, in effect it means that she and the class concede that all terror attacks in Israel are illegitimate if they involve citizens.

  • Why define terrorists in terms of their targets, rather than what motivates them, or who supports or sends them?

    Maybe Himmler was just a terrorist, for whom the German government was not responsible.

  • i think a good response to the “all israeli civilians are soldiers” is “well all Pals are potential suicide bombers.”And since their culture glorifies it, the potential is high.

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