March 25, 2004
The Guardian

Palestine Is Now Part of An Arc of Muslim Resistance

Across the Middle East, western-backed occupations are fuelling terror

by Seumas Milne

Ariel Sharon's decision to incinerate a 67-year-old blind quadriplegic cleric outside his local mosque will certainly go down as one of the most spectacularly counter-productive acts of violence in the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Quite apart from the morality of assassinating Sheikh Yassin, it is the Israeli people themselves who will suffer from certain retaliation. Israel has the right to defend itself, President Bush declares, while apparently denying the Palestinians the same luxury. But the killing can have no military value at all. Whatever his authority as the founder and figurehead of Hamas, the idea that Yassin was involved in planning armed attacks is preposterous. When Israel rocketed the apartment block he was visiting last September, the ailing sheikh was reported not to have even realised that an attack had taken place. And regardless of the domestic political calculations of the Israeli government, such attempts to destroy a popular movement by decapitation are doomed to failure.

From Algeria to Vietnam, the past century is littered with evidence that such strategies invariably come to nought.

. . . the Sharon government is deliberately undermining the basis for a two-state solution by carving up the occupied territories with its electrified fences, closed zones and ever-expanding settlements. . . .

The most dangerous delusion of our time must surely be the notion - trotted out by all manner of public figures, from George Bush to Clive James - that Islamist terror is motivated by hostility to freedom and the western way of life. . . .


Eric Margolis, "Mideast Murder, Inc.," The Toronto Sun, October 14, 1997

Robert Fisk, "The Chilling Implications Of This State Killing," Independent, March 23, 2004

"US veto on Yassin draws criticism," BBC News, March 26, 2004

[Sharon doesn't want peace, . . . his strategy is to make peace impossible so that he can impose unilaterally his own settlement--Charley Reese, "US Complicity in Israel's Misdeeds," CounterPunch, March 27, 2004]

Tanya Reinhart, " Justice and the Yassin Assassination: As in Tiannamen Square," CounterPunch, March 31, 2004

back button