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Poll: If Israel did assassinate a Hamas official in Dubai, was it right to do so?

February 18, 2010 | 10:29 am

Hamas I'm hooked.

It's hard not to be riveted by this account of senior Hamas official Mahmoud Mabhouh's killing in Dubai: Alleged Israeli Mossad agents, donning disguises and using forged passports, slip into a Mideast emirate, methodically stalk their target before quietly killing him in his own hotel room, and escape to safety before the victim's body is even found. Israel reportedly believed Mabhouh traveled to Dubai to broker an arms deal between Hamas and Iran (there's also the intriguing theory that intra-Palestinian rivalry led to the killing). Had Tom Clancy penned an account of the assassination, no one would've believed him.

Though the story provides a thrilling read, it's mostly a sideshow to the unfolding diplomatic drama between Dubai, Israel and the European countries (Britain most notably) whose passports were used fraudulently by the assassins. Also in play are the Israelis whose identities were stolen -- and, consequently, whose lives were endangered -- for the forged passports. There's also a far more fundamental question: Is it OK for a country to carry out extrajudicial killings in the name of state security? It's a question that may be taken up on our Op-Ed pages in the coming days, so in the meantime I'll ask you for your thoughts. Take our poll, leave a comment or do both.

-- Paul Thornton

Hamas militants stand in front of a photograph of late senior Hamas military commander Mahmoud Mabhouh during a Feb. 17 rally in the Gaza Strip denouncing his killing. Credit: Ali Ali / EPA

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