Friday, June 13, 2003

Apparently it's terrorism when American and Saudis are killed by Al-Qaeda but not when Israelis are killed by Hamas, according to Adel al-Jubeir, adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, in a Reuters story today.

``Our view has been and remains that we are against targeted assassination of individuals. We believe it is morally wrong,'' he told a news conference. ``They do not achieve any objective other than further fueling hate and provoking reactions and responses, which in turn provoke more reactions and responses, which in turn keeps the cycle of violence going and accelerated,'' he said.

. . . .Al-Jubeir denied the Saudi government gave money directly to Hamas, saying it provided assistance to impoverished Palestinians through the United Nations, the International Red Crescent and the Palestinian Authority -- just as the United States does. But he acknowledged Hamas may run some institutions receiving the aid and that individual Saudis may help finance the organization.

Saudi government aid to Palestinian families, including relatives of suicide bombers, was justified, he insisted. With more than half of all Palestinians living below the poverty level, ``we give money to Palestinian families in need. . . Are some of those families, families who have had a suicide bomber? Yes. But do we give the money because their son or daughter was a suicide bomber? No. Is that money an incentive for them to commit acts of terrorism? No,'' he said.

Al-Jubeir said families in need should not be punished because a son did something people disapprove of, arguing: ``I think morally, guilt should not transfer.'' Most of the Saudi aid is in the form of blankets and food, not cash, and ``there is an accounting of it,'' he said.

. . . .Hamas claimed responsibility for the Wednesday suicide bombing on a Jerusalem bus. Asked if he condemned Hamas, Al-Jubeir, said: ``We condemn terrorism in all its forms...whether it's perpetrated by one side or the other.''

While I am not in favor of the Israeli policy of assassinating Hamas leaders, because I don't believe that it leads to any weakening of the organization, and because the attacks also kill innocent Palestinian civilians, I do not think that the suicide bombing of a bus full of civilian passengers is morally equivalent to killing the leaders of a terrorist organization.

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