Interviews with Daniel Pipes
The aftermath of attack in Gaza
Translations of this item:
The following is an edited transcript of a segment from Monday's edition of "CNN Newsnight with Aaron Brown." Daniel Pipes, Mideast scholar and director of Mideast Forum, a think tank, speaks with CNN anchor Aaron Brown about the recent bombing in Gaza. In the attack, an Israeli F-16 warplane fired a missile that destroyed a house in which Salah Shehadeh, a leader of the Islamic extremist group Hamas, was believed to be living. Shehadeh and a bodyguard were killed - along with nine children and four other civilians.
Aaron Brown: We're joined from Philadelphia by Mideast scholar Daniel Pipes... . What do you make of the events today? This is... going to be difficult, I would think, for the Israelis to deal with.
Daniel Pipes: It certainly is. The Israelis have clearly made a mistake, and need to be more careful. It's a tragedy. We must all urge the Israelis to approach these problems more carefully.
That said, it is also important to realize that the Palestinians have the moral opprobrium here in having the leaders of their military in civilian areas. There is no distinction, and they are making it - I think on purpose - a target for the Israelis so that when the Israelis do strike, it's likely that they will have civilian casualties.
So, the Israelis have got to be more careful, but the Palestinians are not playing fair. You don't put your military men in houses with children.
Brown: I want to understand this because this strikes me as a bit of a stretch. You got a guy apparently at home with his wife and children. Now, other than walking around the streets with a target on his back, what is it he's supposed to be doing?
Pipes: Military installations in the Palestinian areas are consistently found in civilian areas. So, what one finds all the time is the Israelis are trying very hard to avoid... inflicting casualties.
You remember, a few months ago, some 13 Israelis were killed because they fell into a booby trap. So, it happens both ways. I mean, I'm in no way apologizing for what the Israelis have done... I'm just saying there's a context, and it's one which is tragic.
But it's one in which this man, Salah Shehadeh, had a very important role. He is one of the founders of the military wing of Hamas. He was in an Israeli jail for 14 years, from 1984 to 1998. He was a close associate of the leader of Hamas, Ahmed Yassin. He was, as was indicated earlier, on the top of the Israelis' most wanted list for some months now. The Israelis did blow up his house actually in December of last year. He was their target and... I think it's fair to say, he made sure that he was surrounded by his wife, his children and other civilians.
Brown: Would you agree that the end result of this - whether it was a good move, bad move, stupid... - is simply going to be more violence on both sides, that that is the natural outcome of this sort of event?
Pipes: No. I think I disagree, Aaron. Because I don't think it's a state of peace that's interrupted by the occasional, spasmodic event of violence. I think there's a war taking place and there are occasional lulls in that war. And the key question is not "When is the next act of violence going take place?" The key questions are "Who is winning this war? Who is losing this war? What are the implications of that?"
This is war. And we should expect more violence. It's a war that has been going on now for almost two years, since September of the year 2000.
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