A Condemnable Response to Suicide Bombers

To anyone who has even given a cursory look at contemporary Israeli-Palestinian history, it’s obvious there’s plenty of blame to go around. Before there were Hamas, Islamic Jihad and suicide bombers, there were the Stern Gang and the Irgun. Before there was Arafat, there was Begin. After a while, the point is moot and counterproductive as to who did what first and who is just retaliating, albeit an eye for a tooth.

However, the recent “Local Voice” piece in the Tampa Tribune penned by Saleh A. Mubarak underscores the most fundamental problem in coming to grips with this seemingly intractable conflict and resultant carnage.

When asked by a friend if he would condemn suicide bombing, Mubarak couldn’t do it. Instead, he answered the question — which should, by the norms of civilized society, have only one answer — with a question. He said, “The real question should be: ‘How can these bombings be stopped?'” No argument with that priority, to be sure, but an amoral rhetorical response is not the right answer to the question posed.

And neither is “You cannot make cessation of violence a precondition for negotiation.” Thanks for nothing.

If you can’t bring yourself to condemn murderers who target kids in pizzerias, your moral high ground is a bloody ditch. If you can’t condemn those who recruit, subsidize and eulogize those who target wedding reception celebrants, your views on valid subjects — such as Jewish settlements — are compromised beyond credibility.

So, was that your final non-answer, Mr. Mubarak?

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