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Argument: Assassinating terrorists only breeds greater resentment and terrorism

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The official position of the Bush administration as conveyed by both White House and State Department spokesmen has been that "Israel needs to understand that targeted killings of Palestinians don't end the violence, but are only inflaming an already volatile situation and making it much harder to restore calm."[1]

Gal Luft. "The Logic of Israel's Targeted Killing". Middle East Quarterly. Winter 2003 - "Although Israel has gained more sympathy abroad for its tactic since September 11, not all Israelis are entirely convinced that the method is worth pursuing. Critics of the "selective targeting" policy point out its self-destructive aspect. After each targeting, the Palestinians promise—and in most cases deliver—a hard and painful response. Assassination victims are automatically hailed as martyrs, and vengeful Palestinian admirers of the deceased volunteer to take his place. Following ‘Ayyash's death, Arafat publicly proclaimed him a martyr and a hero; streets in Palestinian cities were named after him; and a wave of suicide bombings resulted in fifty-nine dead and 250 wounded Israelis. Following the January 2001 assassination of the Fatah leader in Tulkarem, Ra'd Karmi, the Tanzim and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for attacks that took the lives of fifty-seven Israelis. Hizbullah is also a vindictive organization. ‘Abbas Musawi's killing was soon followed by the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Argentina. The price was heavy: twenty-nine killed and 242 wounded."

Steven R. David. "Fatal Choices: Israel's Policy of Targeted Killing". John Hopkins University. September 2002. - "A much stronger case can be made that targeted killing actually increases the number of Israelis killed, by provoking retaliation, than it saves lives by eliminating key terrorists. Four examples of targeted killing that produced a murderous response are especially compelling. First, as mentioned above, the Israeli killing of "the engineer" Yehiya Ayash in January 1996 provoked four retaliatory suicide bombings of buses, killing more than 50 Israelis. Second, the first-ever killing of an Israeli cabinet minister occurred in October 2001, when members of the PFLP killed Rehavam Ze'evi. The PFLP stated it killed Ze'evi in retaliation for the Israeli killing of its leader, Mustafa Zibri, two months earlier. Third, the January 2002 targeted killing of Tanzim leader, Raed al-Karmi ended a cease-fire declared by Yasir Arafat the previous month. During that tenuous ceasefire, the violence of the intifada had been reduced to its lowest point since its inception. Following the slaying of Karmi, however, the Palestinians unleashed an unprecedented wave of suicide bombers, killing large numbers of Israelis. Both Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and senior Israeli military officers agreed that Karmi's killing transformed a situation of relative calm into one of murderous violence. Even more important, Karmi's death reportedly caused the Al-Aksa Brigades—a secular group owing allegiance to Fatah—to engage in suicide bombings. Previously, only Islamic Jihad and Hamas employed this weapon. The result was record casualties among Israelis combined with the added complication of having to confront women suicide bombers (which Islamic Jihad and Hamas have not employed) as well as men.22 Finally, the Israeli killing of Hamas leader, Sheik Salah Shehada, in July 2002, derailed what many believed to be promising negotiations. Only days before Shehada's death, Israel had been engaged in serious talks with Palestinian leaders. The Palestinians put forth a proposal that called for a cease-fire and Palestinian promises to provide for Israeli security in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank cities. The Palestinians also pledged, "From this moment forward, we will end attacks on innocent, noncombatant men, women and children." It is impossible to know whether these talks would have amounted to anything because the Israeli killing of Shehada (and 14 innocent civilians) derailed the negotiations, after which renewed violence (including a suicide bombing attack on Hebrew University) quickly followed."

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