Mar. 28, 2017
- Targeted Killings as Calculated Risks – Col. (res.) Dr. Shaul Shay
While Israel has not responded to Hamas’ accusations that it was behind the death of Hamas senior commander Mazen Fuqha, targeted killings have been used over the years to ravage terrorist organizations at all levels. By eliminating single terrorists, future attacks can be prevented; terrorists are forced to focus on personal survival, stunting their ability to attack Israel; and the method helps minimize unwanted collateral damage.
Opponents argue that every killed terrorist has a replacement, and that killing a terrorist will lead to an escalation in hostilities and revenge attacks. The answer is that terrorist groups, by their very nature, try attacking regardless of any desire to avenge the death of one operative or another; and generally, a terrorist attack dedicated to avenging a comrade would have been carried out anyway.
It is correct to say that every terrorist has a replacement, but often the death of a senior terrorist disrupts the preparations for an attack, while all his valuable operational knowledge and experience are lost to the organization. The writer, former deputy head of the Israel National Security Council and former head of the IDF military history department, is a lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. (Israel Hayom)