Israel relies on a deadly specialty

Reporting from Jerusalem –
When Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman faced
questions Monday from European diplomats over Israel’s suspected role in
the Dubai assassination of a Hamas militant, he responded with familiar
indignation: Why is Israel always the first to be blamed, he asked.

Perhaps no other country’s use of assassinations has been more
scrutinized, condemned and celebrated than that of Israel. The policy is
not likely to change, analysts and diplomats say, because such
killings, from Israel’s point of view, have proved effective in fighting
a nonconventional enemy. And despite legal questions and international
backlash, Israel has usually emerged unscathed.

Confronting a hostile region, Israel sees targeted killings as an
essential tool in decapitating militant groups or putting them on the
defensive, experts say.

“They seem to be extremely focused on this kind of tactic,” said Aaron
David Miller, former U.S. negotiator in the Middle East and now scholar
at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

“This is the price of living in the neighborhood,” he added. “It’s a
symptom of the ongoing confrontation and their perceptions about the
long war. Both sides perceive that acting, even with the negative
consequences to image and public diplomacy, is still effective and it’s
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