"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Falling Out of the Basement 

Yesterday, I linked to a story from the Middle East which scared the bejeebers out of me. Today, I read this:
Israel last night threatened to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh if Hamas militants did not release a captured Israeli soldier unharmed.

The unprecedented warning was delivered to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a letter as Israel debated a deal offered by Hamas to free Corporal Gilad Shalit.

It came as Israeli military officials readied a second invasion force for a huge offensive into Gaza.

Hamas's Gaza-based political leaders, including Mr Haniyeh, had already gone into hiding.

But last night's direct threat to kill Mr Haniyeh, a democratically elected head of state, sharply raised the stakes.

So far, only the Australian seems to have the story - I checked, and even al Jazeera hasn't confirmed it - so this may just be bad reporting. But if it's accurate, the story is an absolute nightmare. In the event that Israel follows through on such a threat, the result would be unimaginably bad; even making the threat represents a sharp break with international law (arguably) and normal standards of decency (certainly). It appears that my father may have been overly optimistic when he said (as he often did) that it was impossible to fall out of a basement.




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