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Hooray for Israeli Strategic Surgery

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A short memory test: Who can name the head of the army’s southern or northern command, right off the top of their head, without Googling. In an informal poll I conducted Tuesday morning, all seven respondents failed. But everyone knew the name of the commander of Islamic Jihad in the northern Gaza Strip, Baha Abu al-Ata.

He’s the newest Israeli hero, who burst suddenly onto the scene. Not for his deeds, his terror attacks and his battles with the Islamic Jihad leadership, but for the rocket sirens that disturbed the residents of Tel Aviv, as well as Ashdod and the Gaza border communities, and also for the day off from work that in his death he bequeathed to hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

We shouldn’t rejoice, though. The IDF spokesperson promised the country’s frightened civilians that “we are not returning to the policy of assassinations.” He is correct. Not because there won’t be more targeted killings, but because there is no policy. There’s shooting from the hip, there’s political score-settling, and above all there’s the need to show the Israeli public that........

© Haaretz