Did Israel Consider Assassinating Hamas Leaders in 2008?

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On Tuesday night, WikiLeaks announced a fresh release of over 55,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. Among the revelations found in the cables so far is this from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. The memo was sent to the Secretary of State in December 2008, following a meeting between U.S. Congressman Robert Wexler and Israeli Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin, who went on to retire in 2010:

Congressman Wexler asked why Fayyad wants to send money to Gaza. Yadlin said Fayyad fears that if he does not, Hamas will bring in money from Iran, but Yadlin added that this concern was misplaced. Hamas' control of Gaza provides an opportunity. Since the terrorists are now the government, Israel knows which terrorist is sitting in what office and where their homes are. They have come out of hiding and into the open, so the IDF can identify and find them. Yadlin warned that if the shelling of Israeli communities from Gaza continues, Israel can "use this card" against Hamas. It will "change the paradigm," he concluded.

Comment. While Yadlin did not use the phrase 'targeted assassinations,' it was clear from the context that he is advocating this approach to countering the threat from Hamas.

Read the full cable here.

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Lois Farrow Parshley

Lois Parshley is an assistant editor at Foreign Policy magazine.

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