Julia Gillard's lopsided statement on the conflict in Gaza and Israel leaves an open question about Australia's support for assassination.
The missile attack that ended the life of Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari was not the beginning of this latest round of violence - but it is most certainly a dramatic escalation.
For Gillard to urge ''both Hamas and Israel to exercise restraint'' but not even mention the attack appears disingenuous. The government does no favour to Israel by giving tacit support for an act Australia itself views as contrary to international law.
That is assuming Gillard has not changed Australia's position, which is to oppose assassinations.
Israel does have a right to defend itself, as Gillard said - but that does not mean Israel is always right.
There is a dangerous and slippery slope here that should not be ignored. Killing without trial - and at a distance - can be portrayed a ''surgical'' but it raises messy ethical questions about due process and trust in secret intelligence information that cannot be tested.
The same questions are also raised by drone strikes in the Pakistan badlands and in the deserts of Yemen.
The Obama administration last year deployed a drone to kill a US citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, without trial and on dubious legal standing.
The raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, by contrast, at least had the prospect of taking the al-Qaeda leader alive and bringing him to trial.
Jabari, the Hamas military commander, was himself an accused killer, with ''blood on his hands'', but the decision by the Netanyahu government to kill him was far more complicated than the crisp few seconds of video footage suggests.
Most importantly the question still hangs: why kill him now?
Gillard was rightly critical of Hamas, condemning ''the repeated rocket and mortar attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip'' and calling on them to cease action immediately.
She was also correct to say ''attacks on Israel's civilian population are utterly unacceptable'' and that ''further escalations in rocket attacks from Gaza, such as those seen overnight, will not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or their cause for self-determination and statehood''.
But she should have also included a reference to the deeply troubling prospect of legitimising assassination.