Good for Israel....
I hope it was Israel who killed that Hamas operative in Dubai...
It is an unfashionable thing to say, but I have a considerable admiration for the Israeli way of doing things. They want something, they get it. They perceive someone as their deadly enemy, they kill them. They get hit, they hit back. They don’t waste time explaining or justifying or agonising; nor do they allow their detractors to enter their country and then afford them generous welfare payments. They just act. No messing. No scruples. Not even a shrug and a denial, just a rather magnificent refusal to debate anything.
This absolutism, based on their history, carries its own moral weight; one that is rather electrifying in a Western world grown flabby with niceties. Clearly, the Israelis could defend their policies if they wanted to, but they quite simply can’t be bothered. It’s a waste of breath. One admires them for that, too.
I’ve felt this way ever since the Entebbe raid in 1976, an occasion when the Israelis showed Hollywood a thing or two. After two Palestinians and two Germans had hijacked an aircraft on a flight that had originated in Israel, the Israeli army simply swooped in, killed the hijackers and freed all but three of the hostages. It was decisive, bloody and clever. Lieutenant-Colonel “Yoni” Netanyahu, the older brother of the present Prime Minister, Binyamin, was the only commando killed in the fighting.
They also outdid fiction after the massacre at the Munich Olympics in 1972, when they hunted down 11 Palestinians who were responsible and eliminated them wherever they were in the world. Aided by fake passports and disguises, Mossad agents employed methods including a booby-trapped telephone, a bomb planted in a bed and a raid in Beirut in which the present Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, dressed as a woman. Nobody caught it on CCTV, but on the ground that human nature can never resist this kind of stuff, Steven Spielberg made it into the Oscar-nominated 2005 movie Munich.
Maybe, as the West becomes increasingly gentle and polite, and pays those monthly direct debits to Amnesty International, we need the Israelis to remind us that the world is not made according to our template. Maybe that is why we are drawn towards tales of uncompromising, ruthless derring-do. How else to explain the veneration of the SAS, the worldwide glut of books and movies on covert operations?
One last point. Usually, in comedy heist movies, no one gets killed. Somewhere a family is weeping at the death of Mr al-Mabhouh and no one takes any pleasure from that. But the people who die in Mossad operations tend to be, like the Hamas leader, morally compromised. There’s a side to us that acknowledges that some assassins’ victims may have had it coming to them. So we’re appalled, but not so appalled that we don’t look forward with relish to the sequel. Ultimately, this is less about siding with the Israelis than loving winners.