Oxblog's David Adesnik has countered my arguments in defense of Israel's strikes on Hamas leaders by invoking the issue of civilian casualties. Now, I've already conceded that this is a legitimate issue--although not for the reasons Adesnik cites. Rather than expressing moral qualms, he worries about the effect of Palestinian casualties on their willingness to countenance a ceasefire. As I've already pointed out, current Palestinian opinion strongly favors the use of terrorism in any event, and Israel therefore hardly needs to worry about further "provocation". On the other hand, if terrorism appears not to be working--that is, if it leads to Palestinian civilian deaths, rather than Israeli ones--then it's possible that at least some Palestinians will become disillusioned with it.
Regardless, almost as if in response to Adesnik's concerns, Israel has just killed the senior Hamas official in Hebron, during an arrest attempt--and without any civilian casualties. I look forward to seeing if Adesnik sticks to his position, and concedes that this attack is therefore unexceptionable.
Interestingly, Ha'aretz reports that "[i]n recent weeks, ....in the Hebron area [the Israelis] encountered difficulties gathering
intelligence on the cells operating there." Hmm...I wonder who might have tipped them off, then?