Opinion

Israel’s 007 Fixation

The frightening message is that the world is a legitimate scene for mutual hits – Palestinian, Israeli – and each will cut down others according to its intelligence and operational capabilities

Malaysian forensic police cordon off the area where a Palestinian scientist was assassinated in Kuala Lumpur on April 21, 2018.
-/AFP

Another body held hostage has joined Israel’s list of necrophilia: Fadi al-Batsh, a lecturer in electrical engineering at a private university in Malaysia. And the Israeli looniness is at it again.

It’s not us who murdered him – we were quick to announce this as we did in similar cases in the past. And yet the murder was translated in most media outlets as a “liquidation” – the word we reserve for the mafia and the murder of senior Palestinians, or those we say are senior.

The journalist Ronen Bergman wrote on his Twitter account Sunday: “The #Mossad assassinated Fadi M. Albatsh, 35, in Kuala Lumpur, this morning. A member of the military wing of #Hamas ....” In Bergman’s article in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, in which he described in detail the role Batsh supposedly played in developing Hamas’ drones, he didn’t link the murder directly to the Mossad.

Although it wasn’t us, we still asked Egypt not to let Batsh’s body into the Gaza Strip for burial, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said. That request is the opposite of political wisdom. We’re willing to embarrass Egypt in front of the Arabs and the Muslims. If Egypt agrees to Israel’s request, it won’t be the worst thing that Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has done, but he’ll be depicted as under the control of the Jews. If Egypt turns down the request, to where will Education Minister Naftali Bennett and the Goldin family bring their demand to condition Batsh’s burial on the return of the bodies of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul?

Hamas is an organization that dared enter into an armed conflict with one of the strongest armies in the world, even at the cost of bringing its civilian population under the Israeli army’s hellish fire. Do people in Israel really expect that the Palestinian families’ longing to bring their sons to burial will bend Hamas? Here too, Israel is demonstrating a kind of fixation and amnesia: Israel is the one that rearrested dozens of released prisoners from the Gilad Shalit swap – living hostages, a deceptive breach of agreement. That’s the immediate reason Hamas doesn’t return the bodies of the two soldiers.

Bergman, who is very well connected, wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth that there is symbolic value in the “message inherent in the assassination attributed to Israel. It is: All enemies of the state, no matter where, Israel will find you – and kill you.”

Enemy is a very broad term and it begets a persecution complex. Is Natalie Portman also an enemy of the state? Roger Waters? After all, “anti-Semitism” has been ascribed to both of them. And perhaps Jewish Voice for Peace, a BDS supporter, will soon be declared an enemy?

If Batsh really helped develop drones for Hamas, he probably wasn’t the only talented person who did. Others will take his place and their motivation and that of their organization will only grow stronger. Hamas has rallied better than any other Palestinian organization from the assassination of senior political and military figures. It hasn’t collapsed and scattered as a political and military institution, and its delusional ambitiousness to arm itself (also as a tool for political empowerment) has not weakened.

Israel has assumed great liberties in the past; if Bergman’s statement on Twitter is to be believed, this time as well – in fielding armed agents in foreign countries to kill Palestinians. Israelis don’t see the cumulative price of the assassinations. They’d be surprised to know that the Palestinians don’t accept our logic that what Israel may do, others may not.

The real message of this assassination is that every Israeli working on weapons development, and thank God there are many, is a legitimate target. Israel’s frightening message is that the world is a legitimate scene for mutual hits – Palestinian, Israeli – and each will cut down others according to its intelligence and operational capabilities. Stricken with a superiority complex as we are, we continue to be impressed by the adventures of James Bond, Israeli style.