Israel: July 24, 2002


: 10.0pt"> Israel has been condemned by most world leaders for it's bombing attack in Gaza. Although civilians have long been casualties because of military attacks, going after senior leaders is considered bad manners. This sort of attack came to be called "decapitation" during the Cold War and, for obvious reasons, was not popular among leaders on either side of the Iron Curtain. In the post Cold War world, there has been increased enthusiasm for prosecuting former heads of state for real or imagined transgressions. But killing senior military or political leaders is still not popular and this is another example of how that works. 

The Palestinians have made the most of the attack, calling it a "war crime." But the Palestinian terrorists have long sought safety among civilians, and Israel has most often killed terrorist leaders by hitting them with missiles when they traveled by car from one place to another. The terrorist leaders move frequently and it requires a massive intelligence effort to locate any of them accurately enough to justify an attack. In the past, bombing attacks on senior terrorist leaders have been called off at the last minute because civilians were around. Apparently the Israelis became convinced that they either had to risk civilians casualties or never get a shot against the men who are organizing the terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.  The Palestinians do not consider their attacks on Israeli civilians to be "war crimes."


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