Skip to comments.President condemns Israeli attack that killed Hamas leader and 14 others
Posted on 07/23/2002 7:59:23 AM PDT by RCW2001
SCOTT LINDLAW, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
©2002 Associated Press
(07-23) 07:41 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --
President Bush denounced as "heavy-handed" an Israeli warplane's missile attack on a Gaza City apartment building, which killed a Hamas leader at the top of Israel's most-wanted list and at least 14 other Palestinians, including nine children.
"This heavy-handed action does not contribute to peace," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Tuesday, pointing to "the loss of innocent life."
"This message will be conveyed to Israeli authorities, and the United States regrets the loss of life," the spokesman said.
Fleischer rejected comparisons between the missile strike and American attacks in Afghanistan that have killed civilians.
"It is inaccurate to compare the two, because the United States, because of an errant bomb, a mistake in a mission, has occasionally engaged in military action that we very regrettably included losses of innocent lives," Fleischer said.
"This was a deliberate attack on the site, knowing that innocents would be lost in the consequences of the attack," he said, adding that Bush still remained a strong backer of Israel.
With his condemnation, the White House joined European and Arab nations who called the strike irresponsible and denounced the civilian deaths.
The Israeli Embassy responded to the White House criticism with a defense of the targeting of the leader of Hamas' military wing.
"Like the government of the United states, the government of Israel regrets the loss of innocent civilian lives," spokesman Mark Regev said. "However, out military action against one of the most dangerous Hamas terrorist leaders was a justified action of self-defense."
Palestinians vowed revenge as they dug through wreckage from the strike, which obliterated a three-story building and destroyed or badly damaged several adjacent ones.
The attack killed Salah Shehadeh, 48, a founder and the top commander of Hamas' military wing, known as Izzadine el-Qassam, the group said. The group has carried out scores of attacks, including more suicide bombings than any other Palestinian faction in the current Mideast conflict.
"This operation was in my view one of our biggest successes," Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Cabinet ministers. "We hit perhaps the most senior Hamas figure on the operational side," Sharon said of Shehadeh, who was jailed first by Israel, and then by the Palestinians, from 1988 to 1999.
But by firing a powerful missile into a densely packed neighborhood in the middle of the night, civilian casualties were a certainty, Palestinians said.
©2002 Associated Press
If you are living in an apartment building with a Hamas leader, I would highly suggest that you move ASAP!
Sigh. Bush must have heard a hint of a rumor of a story that someone, somewhere, is unhappy with Israel for this.
Well, he can't help it. He's a Republican.
Pres. Bush, I voted for you, I donated to you....but I will not oppose God regarding His clear guidance about Israel.
At least the Israelis have the stones to do what needs to be done. Unlike us.
His tut-tut is just a sop to the Arabs. He knows they plant killers among the innocent as a matter of course.
I'm skeptical whenever the PA puts on a dead baby show. How do we know they haven't been saving up all the dead babies who died of disease, SIDS, left too long in the hot car, etc. for special events just like this one?
If the intent of Israeli operations were kill all of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PLO etc. and damn World opinion - then small tactical nukes would be an answer. However, that is not their aim, for they recognize that they must still operate in the world after peace breaks out or hostilies subside. Therefore, "Heavy Handed" moves like last night are not helpful in the long-term politicial goals arena.
Bush has to condemn this publicly due to the death of children. However, if you don't think we are making high-level calls to Israel congatulating them on killing a very high level Hamas leader, you don't jack.