A spokesman for the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, said on Tuesday that Israel’s threat to assassinate Palestinian prime minister-designate Ismail Haniyya was a form of state terrorism.
The Hamas spokesman made the remarks shortly after Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that Israel’s policy of extra-judicial assassination has proven effective and would continue (despite the fact that three children were killed in an ‘assassination by missile’ on Monday). Mofaz said that if Hamas were to renew its attacks on Israel, Hamas leaders, including Haniyya, would not be immune from such extra-judicial assassination.
"Mofaz’ statement represents a clear and formal policy of state terrorism," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told reporters in Gaza. Vowing commitment to Palestinians people’s rights and interests, Abu Zuhri said that Hamas would not be deterred by Israeli threats.
The policy of extrajudicial executions by Israel of suspected Palestinian militants, has been declared a "war crime" by Israeli human rights group B’tselem.
The Hamas party, currently the majority party in the Palestinian Parliament, and charged with forming a new government by the end of this month, has been called a ‘terrorist group’ by Israel and the US due to 60 attacks against Israel since 2000. The Hamas party has held up its end of a ceasefire since last February when the truce was declared. Human rights groups and the United Nations have documented hundreds of violations of the ceasefire by Israeli forces.
In the past two years, two Hamas leaders, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdelaziz al-Rantissi, were killed in Israeli targeted airstrikes. While Israel has said that the policy is effective, debacles like Monday’s attack on a crowd of pedestrians in which three children were killed and dozens injured, have called that into question. Indeed, extrajudicial assassinations in any form, including by dropping missiles into crowded streets as is Israel’s habit, are illegal according to international law. Such assassinations violate the Geneva Convention and the International Convention on Human Rights, to which Israel is a signatory.