The Corner

Yassin and Justice

Jonah, returning to our earlier topic, your correspondent’s point (that “strategic” considerations in Yassin’s case should be subordinated to the simple requirements of justice) was echoed by many, many of the people who emailed me. It’s a powerful argument. As I’ve written before, Yassin got what was coming to him. Nevertheless in the context of the Middle East, strategic considerations are, alas, always relevant, and no-one understands this better than the Israelis. After all, let’s remember Yassin’s biography. In 1989 he was arrested for ordering the murder of Palestinians who he believed had collaborated with the Israeli army. This “spiritual leader” was also accused of ordering the kidnap and killing of two IDF soldiers. He was, quite rightly, sentenced to life imprisonment. Israel’s Netanyahu government released this murderer only eight years later. Why? Well, for an interlinked, and complex, series of reasons, including a prisoner exchange and the need to patch up relations with Jordan. Strategic considerations, in other words.

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