MK Bahloul defends remark that Hebron stabber is not a terrorist
At cultural event, Likud MK Dichter harshly criticizes the Labor Arab MK's controversial statement; Bahloul argues Barak and Livni have made similar statements and draws comparison to Jewish paramilitary organizations during the British mandate.
After the public outcry at his statement that the stabber from Hebron was not a terrorist because he attacked a soldier rather than a civilian, Labor MK Zouheir Bahloul tried to defend his position on Saturday, but only caused further anger.
"The Etzel (Irgun), the Lehi, the Haganah - all of these Jewish organizations went out to the streets to fight against the British mandate and its soldiers, to make your state - which has become an incredible state - a reality. Why can't the Palestinians do the same?" Bahloul said during a cultural event in Acre.
Bahloul, who was sitting opposite Likud MK Avi Dichter, stated further, "Ehud Barak said, ‘If I were a Palestinian, I would be a terrorist.’ Tzipi Livni said, ‘Even before we became one party, not every person fighting against soldiers to oppose the occupation was considered a terrorist.’ Why did you jump me and not them?”
Bahloul reiterated that he's differentiating between soldiers and civilians. “I said that anyone who harms innocent people, anyone who walks into a house where women and children sleep and kills them, represents the occupation, from (the Palestinians') perspective. What is a Palestinian, who has suffered under the yoke of the occupation for 49 years, who sacrifices his life, and seeks freedom and independence but doesn’t get it, supposed to do? From his point of view, the soldiers represent the occupation.”
Dichter said that he was surprised to hear Bahloul using the term “your state,” but Bahloul defended his language: “This is the state of the Jews and not the state of the Arabs,” the Arab MK from the Zionist Union said.
Dicthter added, “After all, you wouldn't dare to make such a statement in the Egyptian, American, or French parliament — nor in Jordan or Ramallah. The view that an attack in which a soldier is slaughtered at the Central Bus Stop in Afula while waiting for a bus, is not terrorism, is dangerous. It's an official representative of the Knesset legitimizing terrorism against Israeli citizens on duty. Anyone who plans to hurt a citizen or a soldier is a terrorist.”
When Dichter later discussed a nationality bill, Bahloul responded, “Then why are you attacking me when I say this is your state? This is your state! You are making the definition of the state more radical. Instead of a democratic and Jewish state, you say the state of the Jewish nation.”