Among the critics of the Yassin assasination, apparently, is the head of the head of the Shin Bet, who argued, based on his mandate to protect Israelis, that this move would only make it more difficult:

Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter was opposed to assassinating Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Channel Two TV reported Monday evening. At last week’s security cabinet meeting, during which the decision was made to target Yassin, Dichter argued that the costs of killing the Hamas leader outweighed the benefits to Israel, the report said.

Given the largely symbolic nature of Yassin’s role in Hamas, there’s reason to see his assasination as a largely symbolic act , the brainchild of Israel’s political establishment rather than its military one, framed to build support from an increasingly skeptical Israeli public by offering a symbolic victory which on the ground is likely to inflame further violence towards Israelis and further distance the potential for a real settlement that would offer both sides real security.

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