In Terror Fight, Israel's Hands Still Tied

Ben-Yishai goes on to note that Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani American who attempted to bomb Times Square last May, said in his interrogation that he wanted to avenge the deaths of Muslims in the drone attacks in Pakistan; and that the terrorists now seeking to leave Pakistan for Europe want to target American tourists there out of the same motivation.

That the very frequent U.S. drone attacks -- a highly technologically sophisticated form of “targeted killings” -- now meet no vociferous objections either in the U.S. or from its European allies in the NATO contingent in Pakistan can only be regarded ironically from an Israeli perspective. Not long ago, when it was Israel carrying out the targeted killings against terrorist leaders in Gaza, the Bush administration typically called them “unhelpful,” while Europe reliably erupted each time in moral outrage.

For example, in 2004 Israel’s targeted killing of Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin was called “extremely terrible” by then-EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, and denounced by most EU foreign ministers. As late as 2008, the European Parliament demanded that Israel “cease ... extrajudicial targeted killings.”

The U.S., Europe, and Israel now all face large-scale terror and the need to fight it. Only in Israel’s case, though, does a further factor come into play that can be epitomized with the word “Goldstone”: the expectation that, in fighting its enemies, Israel will get censured by those who are increasingly in the same boat.

In large operations against the terrorist concentrations on its borders -- like the 2006 offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the 2009 offensive against Hamas in Gaza -- Israel encountered Security Council demands that it stop the fighting, and in the latter instance, the libelous Goldstone Report that encouraged Israel’s enemies to continue their most heinous methods of exploiting civilians.

It would be more pleasant to write, as the terror threat to the other democracies gets more and more immediate and “Israel-like,” that something like a “we are all Israelis now” perception is emerging. Yadlin’s warning about Israel’s hands being tied suggests that day is yet to come.