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Bennett gave us a clear definition of who the terrorists are: Israel’s so-called ‘army’

July 17, 2023 at 3:30 pm

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (C) in Jerusalem on 15 May 2022 [ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

Early this month, during the Israeli occupation army’s offensive on the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin and its refugee camp, BBC News anchor Anjana Gadgil interviewed former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and asked him whether the occupation forces “are happy to kill children” in Jenin.

Gadgil’s questions during the interview were direct and clear to the degree that shocked Bennett, who refused to give her an answer and tried to persuade her that all the Palestinians being attacked, killed, wounded or displaced during the offensive were legitimate targets.

When Gadgil told him that four of the Palestinians killed in Jenin were minors, identified by the UN as children, Bennett argued that the Palestinian children killed in Jenin were terrorists.

He explains that a terrorist is identified as someone who holds a rifle and shoots and murders people, claiming that the people of Jenin were armed and attacking occupation forces who had stormed their city and homes.

If this is Bennett’s definition of what a terrorist is, is he willing to apply that to Israelis and Palestinians alike?

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The founders of Bennett’s rogue state did exactly what he described: They held rifles, broke into Palestinian homes and killed men, women, children and even the disabled. They stabbed pregnant Palestinian women before killing them, killing their unborn children.

After the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Golan Heights and Sinai in 1967, my mother told me, the Israeli occupation forces broke the doors of the Palestinian homes, rushed inside and took every male before gathering them in Gaza Square, executing them and burying them in mass graves without even telling their relatives that they had been killed.

Would Bennett apply his definition to those militias and soldiers? There are hundreds of such untold atrocities committed by the Israeli occupation forces that my relatives and neighbours witnessed. Will Bennett define those Israeli soldiers as terrorists?

During the First Palestinian Intifada, which started in 1987, the then-Israeli Defence Minister Yitzhak Rabin ordered the Israeli occupation forces to break the hands of Palestinian children in order to stop the intifada. Many witnessed the horrific scenes of Palestinian children dragged out of their homes, harshly beaten and having their hands broken by the Israeli occupation forces. Bennett, are these soldiers terrorists?

Then, during the Second Intifada, we all witnessed as Muhammad Al Durrah and his father were repeatedly shot until they were motionless while they were unarmed and trying to take shelter. Were these soldiers terrorists?

Israeli soldiers went on to strike Palestinian gatherings with missiles, killing and maiming civilians in every attack under the pretext of targeting terrorists. This occurred repeatedly during the Second Intifada and many of those killed were women and children.

The same happened when late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon supervised the assassination of quadriplegic Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin as he returned from the dawn prayer at the mosque. Some ten civilians were killed in the strike. Are the soldiers who killed them terrorists?

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Since 2008, Israeli occupation forces have wiped out Palestinians families from the Gaza Strip.

Last month, an Israeli soldier who was holding his rifle shot Palestinian toddler, Muhammad Al-Tamimi, in the head while he was sitting in a car with his 40-year-old father in front of their home. Will Bennett define that killer as a terrorist?

Of course not, because he is an Israeli soldier.

There are many such examples, many within the public domain and many more which remain etched in Palestinian memory. Time and again, Palestinian victims are accused of being terrorists and blamed for their own deaths, while the occupation is not held to account for its murderous actions. This will not stop until action is taken against this barbarous aggressor, the world cannot continue to remain silent as thousands more lives are lost.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.