Israel is attempting to equivocate the assassination of Rehavam Zeevi by the PFLP with the attack on America on 9/11, and thus justify their attempt to topple the Palestinian Authority as being morally equivalent to our efforts to oust the Taliban to get to Osama bin Laden. This despite the fact that the “targetted killing” of Zeevi was a direct outgrowth of Israel’s own policy of “targetted killings” of what Palestinians refer to as activists and what Israel refers to as terrorists. Clearly the killing of Zeevi was wrong and unjustifiable, but to compare it to the unprovoked murder of thousands of innocents is disgusting.
This turn of events should also serve as a warning to those in the U.S. government who would seek to eliminate the law banning assassinations. The extra-judicial killing of non-combatants is not only barbaric, but also gives the other parties involved license to assassinate as well. Going back to a world where we simply kill those political figures around the world who we don’t get along with leads us right back to politics based on the law of the jungle. Examining the fact that Israel is already using our actions in Afghanistan to justify escalating their attacks on Palestinians should illustrate pretty well what sort of conduct American assassinations would inspire. I imagine that in every corner of the world, governments would treat assassinations by Americans as carte blanche to behave however they wish.
Someone wrote that the thing that makes Superman interesting is that he’s just a man, but because he’s so powerful, he must behave better than other men. I see the United States as being in the same position. Whether we like it or not we weild more power, and more importantly, more influence than any other country in the world. Other countries really do gauge their own actions by ours. At the same time, we face all of the same stresses that other countries do — we have our own domestic problems and our own domestic threats. Even so, we must strive for real justice and perceived justice. It’s our responsibility.