By Daniel Luban
From yesterday’s New York Times story on Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, the Jordanian doctor who killed 7 CIA agents (as well as his Jordanian handler) in Afghanistan last week:
He [Balawi’s brother] described Mr. Balawi as a “very good brother” and a “brilliant doctor,” saying that the family knew nothing of Mr. Balawi’s writings under a pseudonym on jihadi Web sites. He said, however, that his brother had been “changed” by last year’s three-week-long Israeli offensive in Gaza, which killed about 1,300 Palestinians.
The brother said that Mr. Balawi was arrested by the Jordanian authorities after volunteering with medical organizations to treat wounded Palestinians in Gaza. The family is itself of Palestinian origin, from a tribe in the Beersheba region.
While hawkish supporters of Israel in the U.S. often urge us to “let Israel decide on Israel’s security needs,” this story is yet another reminder that Israel’s actions do not have consequences for Israel alone. It is depressing to think about how many Muslims are being turned against the U.S. at this very moment by the belief (a correct belief, as it happens) that the Obama administration is complicit in the siege of Gaza.