OPINION

Wall of blood

As the descendant of an imperial tradition accustomed to unlawful score-settling, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw was pragmatic rather than ethical in describing the assassination of the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, as «unacceptable» and «unjustified.» Notwithstanding his cynicism, not even Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the orchestrator of this lethal act, would ever attempt to justify a rocket strike against a wheelchair-bound, old man. Sharon has a tainted political record (and a more tainted criminal one). But a plan is not something he lacks. He probably knew that dead, Yassin would be a tougher enemy (being a martyr) than he was alive. However, this was exactly his aim – that is, to hurt the Palestinians (and not just Hamas) more than he has hurt them by raising his wall, pushing them into more, and deadlier, suicide protests. Besides, he knows (and this was confirmed by the ease with which he raised the wall) that apart from being desperately divided, the Palestinians are also desperately alone: UN resolutions are powerless before the Israeli tanks, while nothing undermines their cause more than Al Qaeda, their «dearest supporter.» Sharon, an amoralist, believes that the coming wave of suicide attacks will once again turn – the easy-to-influence – public sentiment in his favor. Exploiting the Palestinian movement’s slide toward Islamism, the Israeli leader has systematically undermined all communication efforts. The wall that he has raised between Israelis and Palestinians is made of blood, not stones. The only people who can tear it down are his fellow Israelis, as domestic resistance to government war plans that tarnish Israeli national pride grows.