Arab Israeli lawmaker: Hebron stabber shot by soldier was not a terrorist
HAZEM BADER (AFP)
Israeli lawmaker Zohir Bahalul (Zionist Union) has said that the Palestinian who is suspected of stabbing a soldier and was shot dead during the heavily publicized incident in Hebron caught on camera two weeks ago is not a terrorist.
"The word 'terrorist' becomes generalized and turns every Palestinian into one," Bahalul said during an interview aired Thursday on Army Radio.
During the interview Bahalul made a distinction between cases in which civilians are targeted and the attacks directed against IDF soldiers and military installations. "I agreed that whoever ruins the lives of an entire family is a terrorist" Bahalul stressed. "They are terrorists and murderers and deserve any punishment coming to them.
Bahalul clarified that the statement is true for every citizen, also for the families of settlers. However, he later claimed that when it comes to attacks against military centers - the law is different. "The people whose families were attacked in their sleep can not be considered terrorists if they then attack a military camp," he said.
Bahalul said that in order to advance the political process between Israel and the Palestinians there must be a shift in verbal attitude during the attacks, and therefore he made the separation and chose not to call the perpetrator a terrorist. "All those who fight for their freedom and independence are terrorists in the eyes of the Israelis," he said.
Bahalul is an Israeli Arab former sportscaster who joined the Zionist Union when he took the place reserved for the Arab and Druze sector in the previous elections.
The incident Bahalul was talking about took place on March 24 and involved an Israeli soldier being caught on video shooting a wounded Palestinian assailant in the head as he lay on the ground.
The accused soldier's identity and that of his family remain secret under a gag order, granted at the request of his lawyers.
Video of the March 24 killing in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron spread widely online, sparking heated political debate.
Shot by a Palestinian volunteer for Israeli rights group B'Tselem, it showed a 21-year-old Palestinian, who along with another man had allegedly stabbed a soldier minutes earlier, lying on the ground, apparently after being shot.
The soldier then shoots him again, in the head, without any apparent provocation. The Palestinian, Abdul Fatah al-Sharif, was killed.
The case has exacerbated Israeli-Palestinian tensions amid a wave of violence that began in October.
Violence since October has left 200 Palestinians and 32 Israelis dead.
Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.
But Israeli forces have also been accused of using excessive force in some cases, charges which they have firmly denied.
Staff with agencies
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