- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2007

A history of terror

The article “Blamed for Hamas control, security chief quits” (World, July 27) contains a serious omission. The article refers to Mohammad Dahlan, the “former chief of the Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security Service in Gaza” as having “close ties to the U.S.,” having been “mentioned as a candidate to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as leader of the Fatah party” and considered “a moderate capable of cementing peace with Israel.”

However, the dispatch fails to note that Mr. Dahlan was implicated in anti-Israel terrorist attacks, including three against school buses in the Gaza Strip. One, on Nov. 20, 2000, killed two teachers and wounded nine others, including three children who had to have limbs amputated. Then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon blamed Mr. Dahlan for the attack.

Mr. Dahlan’s men reportedly were involved in other deadly attacks. In addition, he was said to have helped hide Hamas’ master bomb maker, Mohammed Diff, in the Gaza Strip during the Palestinian Arabs’ “second intifada” earlier in this decade.

Previously, Mr. Dahlan was instrumental in the first intifada. He helped lead the Fatah youth movement (Shabiba), which contributed significantly to the violence. Arrested by Israel 11 times for his activities, he was deported to Jordan in 1988.

To omit Mr. Dahlan’s past involvement in terrorism misinforms readers. An article about Mr. Dahlan’s downfall should not have sanitized his ascent.


Washington director

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America


Forge ahead like the founders

Denis Ables’ Tuesday letter, “Peace at any price,” fails to distinguish between the lawful use of force where the level of force doesn’t infringe on the life, prosperity and rights of innocent people, and the use of lethal force in war, in which collateral damage (the loss of innocent lives) is an accepted cost of maximizing the effective killing of suspected enemy targets.

In today’s world, we cannot escape war after war after war because there are no enforceable rules to serve as a just basis for settling global disputes. To achieve global peace and justice, we are in desperate need of just and enforceable global law. If and when we can achieve a degree of civilized behavior, of course there will still be need for enforcement, and for that matter, there will be a need for adjudication as well. However, it won’t any longer be every “sovereign” nation-state for itself under the law of “might makes right” under which our current global anarchy operates.

There always will be the need for the use of force to capture a criminal or stop a crime in process. However, we don’t use law enforcement to pre-empt drug dealers by bombing the homes or street corners of suspected dealers.

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