While most Israelis were not sorry to hear about the death of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, MK Muhammad Barakei (Hadash) on Sunday denounced the Saturday execution, saying that the US had not acted appropriately regarding Saddam. "If he did improper things and he's carrying a can of worms on his back, I think human society shouldn't use the same methods as legitimate against him," said Barakei in an interview with Army Radio. "From every side, this is a view that has no place."
MK Tibi denounces 'sadistic' execution
Barakei was the second Arab MK to denounce the execution after Balad MK Ahmad Tibi on Saturday called it a "sadistic act and a mark of Cain on the American occupation [in Iraq]" and added that "even dictators deserve humanitarian treatment."
Meanwhile Sunday, Vice Premier Shimon Peres expressed satisfaction with the execution, saying at the weekly cabinet meeting that "historic justice" had been done by killing Saddam.
However, Israel had no official reaction to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's execution on Saturday, even though the "Butcher of Baghdad" posed a strategic threat for more than two decades, and his nuclear ambitions, Scud missiles and handsome payoffs to suicide bombers caused Israel no small amount of trauma and pain.
Neither the Prime Minister's Office nor the Foreign Ministry issued a formal statement following the execution.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokeswoman Miri Eisin, responding to a question about Saddam's hanging, said only, "Iraqis have made their choice, and we hope for the Iraqi people that they establish a stable country for Iraq and the Middle East."
"Retroactive justice was done," Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh told Israel Radio. "We need to remember that there was an Israeli angle. He sent 39 missiles to Israel [during the 1991 Gulf War], paid $20,000 to the family of each suicide bomber at the height of the Intifada and tried to prepare nuclear weapons to be used against us."
While Israel destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad in 1981, there was genuine concern here in 1991 and again in 2003 that Saddam might react to the US attacks by firing missiles containing chemical or biological warheads at Israel.
Sneh said Israel now needed to be concerned "about what is liable to happen in the future," namely the increase of Iranian influence both in southern Iraq and in the central government in Baghdad, and the fact that Iraq had turned into a "volcano of terror" with "destructive energies" that could spill over into Jordan and Israel.
Vice Premier Shimon Peres issued a statement saying, "Saddam Hussein brought about his own demise. He was cruel and evil to his own people and represented a threat to his neighbors."
National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, in a radio interview, called Saddam "an enemy to his own people," and said that although his death was a "historic turning point for Iraq," it would worsen Iraq's Sunni-Shi'ite violence.