In the aftermath of Israel’s assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, many people have made reference to Hamas’ “extensive social network” and all the wonderful things it does for the Palestinian people. Manish over at Damn Foreigner (whose civilized style and thoughtful viewpoints I greatly respect) notes:
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, 90% of Hamas’ approximately $70 million budget goes to “an extensive social services network, which includes schools, orphanages, mosques, health care clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues.” Hamas has two divisions, a political and a militant. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was the head of the political division. He definitely had blood on his hands, there is no doubt, but he had little involvement in planning terrorist strikes. His charitable work made him extremely popular in the Occupied Territories. In fact, the US and other countries didn’t put Hamas on terrorist organization lists until after Sept. 11.
Maybe I’m just crazy, but I see this as a non-sequitur. Even if Hamas gave billions to charity and cured cancer, it wouldn’t counteract the violent deaths of innocent civilian women and children specifically targeted by their terrorist operatives.
In fact, the social network can be viewed as nothing but a way of building political support for their terrorist activities. Quite a brilliant idea, really. Provide food and medical care to Palestinians with one hand while blowing up people with the other.
Does it really matter how directly involved Yassin was in planning terrorist attacks? I think not. He was the longstanding leader of an organization whose primary mission is the obliteration of Israel. They specifically rule out any kind of peace, negotiation, discussion, or compromise. They want one thing: to see as many dead Israelis as possible.
Israel was as justified in removing Yassin as the United States will be in getting bin Laden.