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Exodus: Chapter 15: "The Nations have heard of it and are enraged. Panic and shuddering have seized the denizens of Philistine Gaza. The leaders of Edom are frightened, while the champions of Moab tremble. And the courage of the pagan Canaanites melts away. Fear and Panic have fallen upon them. For Your might arm crushes them like a stone, while your people proceed ahead." (Editor's Note: For editorials on the Yassin assassination, please go to the Commentary page at http://www.israelfaxx.com)
Arch-Murderer Dead in Israeli Missile Strike
Yassin Reviled as Terrorist, Admired as Hero
By VOA News, IsraelNationalNews.com & Ha'aretz
Estimates of 150,000 Palestinians poured into the streets of Gaza Monday in a
demonstration of anguish and rage following an early morning Israeli missile attack that
killed Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, the Palestinian terror
organization responsible for scores of suicide bombings and hundreds of attacks on Israeli
civilians and soldiers.
Normal life was suspended as Gazans mourned the loss of a man who was one of the
best-known and most easily recognizable Palestinians in the world. Polls of Palestinians
consistently ranked Yassin, 67, as the second most popular and trusted Palestinian leader
after Yasir Arafat.
Yassin, who had been paralyzed from the neck down since an athletic accident at age 17,
was killed early Monday, along with two of his sons, two other Hamas terrorists, and three
others, by a barrage of three Israeli missiles about 100 yards from his house as he was
being wheeled home from morning prayers at a local mosque.
Hamas is now calling for continued attacks against Israeli targets as well as calling
upon the international Muslim community to strike out against the "Zionists" wherever they
From his wheelchair, Yassin, 67, held great sway over the members of Hamas, which the
State Department includes on its list of terrorist organizations. He also occupied a
position of respect among millions of other Palestinians, and other Muslims, as a man of
learning who refused to compromise his principles, even after eight years in an Israeli
Although the Palestinian Authority routinely condemns attacks by Hamas, Palestinian
Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said Monday Israel would regret killing Yassin. "It's a
cowardly, criminal act against a prominent Palestinian leader who devoted all his life to
the favor of the independence of his people. Therefore we strongly condemn this act and we
warn everybody of reaction that may happen."
Arafat echoed these thoughts, declaring three days of official mourning for a man he
called one of the Palestinian people's greatest martyrs. But Israel said it only did
something it should have done long ago. Since 1994, Israelis have buried their dead from
Hamas suicide bombings and other terror attacks, inspired and guided by Yassin.
Israeli Army spokeswoman Ruth Yaron said the area was better off without him. "Ahmed
Yassin was the chief of a terror organization, who was aiming at Israeli civilians, and
his killing this morning is an action that will save many lives of Israelis who were his
Yassin was born in 1936 near the city of Ashkelon in British Palestine, now Israel,
where a childhood accident left his arms and legs paralyzed for life. Still, he went on to
become a scholar in Islamic studies at the al-Azhar University in Cairo. Through his
studies, he became convinced that the area that is now Israel is Islamic land, and he
committed himself to destroying the Jewish state in favor of a new nation under Muslim
Sheikh Yassin first gained the attention of Israel after becoming a main founder of
Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, in 1987. Two years later, Israel arrested him for
ordering the execution of Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel. An Israeli
court sentenced him to life in prison. He was released eight years later as part of a
prisoner exchange with Jordan.
The sheikh received a hero's welcome when he returned to Gaza, although he sometimes
had strained relations with the Palestinian leadership. Arafat placed him under house
arrest twice following Hamas terror attacks.
On Monday, as he does routinely every day, Yassin went to a mosque near his home in
Gaza City for morning prayers. As he emerged from the mosque, helped in his wheelchair by
several assistants, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile that killed him and several other
When he died, Yassin was almost blind and hard of hearing, and he could speak only in a
soft, high-pitched whisper, due to his paralysis. But he retained enormous influence,
providing spiritual and theological justification for attacks on Israel.
Since the beginning of the Oslo War in September 2000, Hamas has perpetrated 425 terrorist attacks of various types, killing a total of 377 Israelis and wounding 2,076 civilians and soldiers. Of these, 52 were suicide attacks, murdering 288 people. A full list of all deadly terrorist attacks during this period, including those perpetrated by Hamas, can be seen on the Foreign Ministry website at http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0ia50.
Likud MK Ehud Yatom said that Hamas could be expected to try to retaliate for the
killing, but that this should not deter Israel from killing terrorist leaders.
The United States called on both sides to show restraint, while Great Britain's Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw condemned Israel for what he called the "unlawful killing." France,
the European Union in general and The Vatican also condemned Israel for killing its
archenemy. "Violence is never the answer," read the statement from Paris.
The IDF imposed a complete closure on all of Gaza and the West Bank following Monday's
operation, with all of Israel's cities placed on heightened alert. Security forces have
taken up positions inside and outside of the Knesset plenum, and general security has been
increased in the Knesset building. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon instructed
his forces to respond with "maximum restraint" to various phenomena of "active" mourning,
protests and even rioting, although live fire was not permitted.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was directly involved in the strike against the Hamas
chief, supervising the operation personally from his Shikmim Farm in the Negev.
Yassin was the author of suicide terrorism in Israel, encouraging the murder of Jews
wherever they were found, and recently proposed that Israel be replaced by a Jewish state
in Europe. Speaking with Der Spiegel in Germany, Yassin said that the purpose of the
"Palestinian struggle is so that all Palestinians can live on their homeland... I am
against a Jewish state on Palestinian land. The Jews should found a state in Europe."
Israel targeted Yassin six months ago, firing a missile at his house where he was
meeting other Hamas leaders. He escaped from that attack with only minor injuries.
Hamas Vows Revenge After Israel Assassinates its Founder
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
Hamas vowed to launch revenge attacks against Israel. Senior Hamas official Abdul Aziz
Rantisi said his organization, which has carried out dozens of deadly attacks against
Israeli soldiers and civilians, will now attempt to assassinate Israeli political and
But Israeli officials met that warning with defiance. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
called Sheikh Yassin the mastermind of Palestinian "terror" and a "mass-murderer who was
among Israel's greatest enemies." Sharon also said Israel's fight against terrorism would
Israeli Government spokesman Avi Pazner says the killing of Sheikh Yassin was
completely justified. "Israel has eliminated the biggest threat to peace and stability in
the region," he said. "Sheikh Yassin was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds
and hundreds of Israelis. Justice has been done."
Following the attack, senior Hamas official Abdul Aziz Rantisi said, the killing of
Sheikh Yassin means that Hamas will now start targeting Israeli political figures. "The
road is opened. It is an open war, I know that they [Hamas members] will succeed in
assassinating the political leaders [in Israel]."
Report: Shin Bet Chief Argued Against Assassinating Yassin
Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter was opposed to assassinating Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh
Ahmed Yassin, who was killed in an Israeli missile strike early Monday morning in Gaza,
Channel Two TV reported Monday evening. At last week's security cabinet meeting, during
which the decision was made to target Yassin, Dichter argued that the costs of killing the
Hamas leader outweighed the benefits to Israel, the report said.
However, a top Military Intelligence official said Monday that Israel's assassination
of Yassin could motivate revenge attacks in the short term, but will ultimately leave a
leadership vacuum in the movement. Hamas, Hizbullah and Yasir Arafat's Fatah-affiliated
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade have all vowed revenge for the assassination.
Yossi Kuperwasser, head of the Military Intelligence research department, said Monday
that the absence of leadership could harm Hamas activities. He said there were no other
leaders in the organization who possess Yassin's leadership qualities.
In Palestinian eyes, said Kuperwasser, Israel crossed a red line with the assassination of
Yassin. He said the Palestinians are now bothered by the possibility Israel might cross
the line again.
Yussef Haddad, 35, a taxi driver, said he saw the missiles hit and kill Yassin and the
bodyguards. "Their bodies were shattered," he said. Ambulances and fire trucks raced to
the scene, sirens wailing, and rescue workers were gathering up parts of the shattered
bodies. Cars drove through the streets blaring calls for revenge over loudspeakers. Some
aired recordings of Yassin, saying, "We chose this road, and will end with martyrdom or
Sharon: Jewish Nation has Natural Right to Defend Itself
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon justified Monday the assassination earlier in the day of
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, leader of the Islamic militant Hamas organization, saying the Jewish
people had a "natural right" to pursue those who would destroy it.
Yassin's ideology, Sharon told a meeting of his Likud Party parliamentary caucus, "was
killing and murdering Jews, wherever they were, and the destruction of the State of
Israel." He said Yassin was an "arch-terrorist."
"The war against terror has not ended and will continue day after day, everywhere,"
Sharon told legislators from his Likud Party. This is a difficult struggle that all the
countries of the enlightened world must participate in. It is the natural right of the
Jewish people, like that of all nations in the world that love life, to hunt down those
who rise to destroy it," Sharon said.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the caucus meeting that since the outbreak of the
current Israeli-Palestinian violence in September 2000, Hamas has carried out 425 attacks,
which caused the deaths of 377 Israelis and wounded 2,076 others.
Interior Minister Avraham Poraz (Shinui) warned Monday that many Israelis could pay
with their lives for the IDF's assassination of Yassin. "Certainly those who are
perpetrating terrorism, preparing a bomb which we know they are about to place somewhere
have to be targeted. But Yassin was not a 'ticking bomb'," Poraz told Israel Radio. Poraz
said he and Justice Minister Yosef Lapid, both of the centrist Shinui party, voted in the
security cabinet last week against assassinating Yassin.
"I fear we have opened up a cycle here and that many will pay for it with their lives,"
Poraz said. "I am afraid that Hamas's motivation will increase. [Yassin] will become some
sort of martyr... a national hero for them and I'm very sorry to say, this won't prevent
Hamas from continuing its activities." Saying "every leader can be replaced," Poraz
questioned the wisdom of targeting a Muslim cleric, even one "involved in terrorism. The
result can be very dangerous."
Peace Now said killing Yassin would "turn all of us into Hamas's hostages. The only way
to wipe out Hamas and other terror groups is through a diplomatic agreement." Leader of
the left-wing Yahad Party and former justice minister Yossi Beilin criticized the
assassination, asking, "How many Israelis will have to pay with their lives for this act?"
He said the assassination was a "horrendous mistake that will cost Israel heavily."
Israel Welcomes a Special New Immigrant
It was no routine welcome ceremony last week when Simon Clyne arrived in Ben-Gurion
International Airport from his native England.
The 100-year-old immigrant explained that he is attached to Israel and wants to
complete his life here. He will be moving into a senior citizens complex in Ramat Rachel
to be near his daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.
Hamas: You Can't Kill Our Killers
By Emanuel A. Winston (a Middle East analyst & commentator)
(Editor's Note: Other OP-Eds may be found on the www.israelfaxx.com commentary page. We invite your response.)
It's instructive to observe Arab terrorists claim the right to plan terror, murder
innocent civilians but, when their leaders are attacked, they cry "unfair". Israel's
pinpoint bomb killed the Palestinian counterpart of Osama Bin Laden, the Sheikh Ahmed
Yassin, founder and spiritual leader of the prime terrorist organization of Hamas on
Monday morning March 22. Arab Muslims are threatening bloody revenge - which would ironic
if the facts of their unremitting terror were not irrefutable facts.
Hamas in their hysterical frustration, screams it will take revenge against Israel and
America. Here again, terror speaks as they use any excuse to kill any non-Muslims who
oppose them. It is true that America, like Israel, is fighting terror. But the terrorists
want a one-way street, that is - to kill but not to be killed.
Yassin was in every way the Arab Palestinian twin of Osama Bin Laden in terms of his
responsibility for planning and promoting more deaths than any other terror group. Yassin
cynically used the religion of Islam to send women and children (as well as boys and men)
to blow themselves up in order to kill hundreds and maim thousands of Israelis.
Hamas means "zeal" in Arabic and is responsible for more homicide bombing deaths than
any other terrorist groups.
Some of the news pundits are trying to soften his image with an appeal for sympathy by
portraying him as a quadriplegic in a wheel chair. Do they believe him less of a terrorist
because he had debilities from a childhood accident? Besides hundreds of dead Israelis (as
well as Americans, Arabs and Christians) hundreds more will live in wheelchairs for the
rest of their lives and many have nails in their bodies from the bombs Yassin sent.
It is true that America is trying to kill Osama Bin Laden and his second-in-command
Ayman al-Zawaziri for planning and enabling terror, especially at 9/11. This is what the
nations must do to fight terror.
Hamas, echoed by Fatah, called for vengeance against Israeli and Jewish targets
overseas, because their typical Muslim killer was himself responsible for hundreds of
killings and wounding of thousands more. Hamas called on Muslims the world over to join
battle against Israel.
So, why isn't it 'OK' for Israel to seek vengeance on their killers or to pre-emptively
prevent more violent terrorist attacks? Not so - according to Egypt's President Hosni
Mubarak who says killing Yassin was a "cowardly act." This is the word from Mubarak who
has personally allowed Arab Palestinian smuggling tunnels to include terrorists transiting
Egypt into Gaza unimpeded.
Yassin said publicly in a FOX NEWS interview with Jennifer Griffin: "All Israel from
the Jordan to the Mediterranean is Islamic land. I issued a "Fatwa" (Islamic religious
edict) to resist Americans in Iraq. Legal and right to fight the Americans". (Taped
earlier, rebroadcast March 22)
Muslim terrorist leaders are saying this is an attack on Islam. Perhaps these Muslims
have forgotten that it was Yassin who issued "Fatwas" for Islam to war on Israel and
America. This was followed by homicide bombings and suicide attacks, further proving that
Islam was at war - not only against Israel and America but, the entire non-Muslim
For a brief moment we have seen the old warrior, Arik Sharon, emerge to protect his
people. Will he continue? No one knows.
Israel has rid the world of a terrorist murderer. American should be proud if she can do
Yassin Embraced as Martyr by Arafat, Much Like Jogger Khouri
By Michael Widlanski (Commentary)
Yasir Arafat's Palestinian National Authority publicly embraced the slain Sheikh Ahmad
Yassin, leader of the Hamas movement, as a "brother warrior," following his fiery death by
helicopter-borne Israeli missiles.
Yassin, who was crippled in a soccer game in his youth, had been the active spiritual
leader of the Hamas (an abbreviation in Arabic for Harakat al-Muqawwima al-Islamiyya: The
Islamic Resistance Movement), which calls for Israel's destruction and has taken
responsibility for more than several hundred murders of Israelis.
"Today is a bloody day in Gaza" declared Palestinian State television from Gaza only
minutes after Israeli missiles caught
Sheikh Yassin in his wheel chair as he emerged from the dawn prayers, known as al-Fajr,
from a mosque in Gaza. "This is a day that has bought the red blood and the pure body of
the Sheikh, the crippled sheikh, who had led the Islamic resistance
movement," proclaimed Arafat's state television, which called Yassin a "shaheed"-Arabic
for "martyr" or "witness to Allah's greatness."
It was the second day in a row that Arafat's PNA and his Fatah movement publicly
identified themselves with a policy of terror attacks against Israel. In Sunday's
programming, the Palestinian state broadcasting media opened with an elaborate public
apology from Arafat and his colleagues to the parents of George Elias Khouri who had been
shot down by Fatah gunmen in a Jerusalem neighborhood on Friday night while he was
Arafat and his colleagues, speaking through Voice of Palestine Radio, made it clear
that their actions were an innocent but
tragic mistake not because they had murdered an unarmed man in Jerusalem but because the
man turned out to be an Arab and not a Jew. The murder of Khouri, a student at Hebrew
University, was doubly embarrassing to Arafat because the 20-year-old student was the son
of Elias Khouri, a wealthy lawyer who has defended PNA and FATAH members in Israeli
The Voice of Palestine radio and PA TV emphasized that the Fatah declared George Khouri
"a shaheed"-a martyr, but lawyer Elias Khouri, a Christian rejected the Islamic-tinged
complement even as other PA officials sheepishly acknowledged their discomfort. "Mistakes
happen," admitted Ziad Abu-Zayad, one of the PNA's top officials in the Jerusalem
Arafat's Fatah movement originally bragged about the killing of the "settler" in the
"settlement" of French Hill at the foot of Mount Scopus, the original campus of the Hebrew
University which had been Jewish-owned territory even before 1948.
Rather than dissociate itself from terror actions or condemning or hemming in the Hamas or
the Fatah "Martyrs' Brigades," Arafat's state media have returned their programming to
incessant incitement, playing martial music, songs of martyrdom and showing film montages
of bloody clashes between Palestinians and Israel. "This is another example of the state
terror and the assassinations of Israel," declared PA television from Gaza shortly after 7
The Palestinian media gave great stress to the Israeli reports that Israeli prime
minister Ariel Sharon, who is facing severe political and legal problems, personally
directed "the cowardly assassination operation." The tone of the broadcasts suggested that
a personal revenge attempt against the Israeli leader was actually being encouraged.
"These are the actions of a crazy state that does not care about inflaming the entire
region," declared PA television.
(Dr. Michael Widlanski teaches at the Hebrew University's Rothberg School. He recently
completed a seven-year research project on the Palestinian broadcast media.)
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