I must admit that my reaction upon hearing that Sheikh Yassin, the spiritual head of the Hamas who is responsible for the murder of countless Israelis, had had an altercation with IDF helicopter gunships this morning, was euphoric. Just as Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are and were, primary targets, I see no earthly reason why fanatics amongst the Palestinian leadership who glory in sending suicide bombers to indiscriminately murder men, women and children, should not also be high on the hit list. There seems no logic to targetting the 'foot soldiers' whilst leaving those who indoctrinate, recruit and arm them, to go about their daily business.
My feelings are tempered somewhat by the uneasy feeling of waiting for the inevitable response. Action leads to reaction and with a personality as huge as Yassin to avenge, my fear is that the days ahead will be filled with blood and carnage. I, along with every other Israeli, am deemed a legitimate target by an enemy that does not discriminate when is comes to killing non-combatants.
The potential trade off is contained in the statement of intent that taking out such a high profile target makes. Israel has sent a clear message to the Palestinian leadership - "the gloves are off". Those who encourage and foment terrorism (with the possible exception of Arafat) are legitimate targets in the eyes of the Israeli government. The outcome of the attack will have been coldly weighed by the Government and the Military; the knowledge that Israelis will be murdered as a result of the attack is a horrific burden to bear but their conclusion must have been that it will lead to a reduction in future attacks. Mustn't it.......?