Bad news from Israel today where there was a bus bombing in Tel Aviv that injured a number of innocent, non-combatant civilian Israelis. What I find monstrous is that individuals in Gaza are apparently celebrating the attack. And here is what the Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said about the incident:
“Hamas blesses the attack in Tel Aviv and sees it as a natural response to the Israeli massacres…in Gaza,” he told Reuters. “Palestinian factions will resort to all means in order to protect our Palestinian civilians in the absence of a world effort to stop the Israeli aggression.”
Another case of political actors failing to discriminate between legitimate targets of political violence (such as soldiers and other government actors) and innocent non-combatant civilians. Attacking the former can be morally and legally acceptable; intentionally targeting the latter with physical violence is never morally acceptable since it denies that these individuals are ends in themselves whose moral dignity is worth respecting and that individuals should not be treated as mere means to the ends of others.
Although I have problems with some Israeli policies and I sympathize with the plight of regular Palestinians (and the Israelis too) in a very depressing situation, I have absolutely no tolerance for organizations that intentionally use violence against the innocent for political ends. If Palestinian groups like Hamas have a problem with the Israeli government, it should focus its attention on that government – not on the people in Israel. This is a case where discrimination is absolutely necessary – the discrimination at the heart of just war theory between innocent civilians and others. And in the cases of the attacks on Hamas members in Gaza, news reports of the situation suggest that the Israelis are discriminating in their attacks (which doesn’t mean that they aren’t killing innocents, which is acceptable according to the doctrine of double effect as long as they are meeting the proportionality requirement).