Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti gestures before a Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court hearing in 2012..
Calling imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian is like calling Syrian President Bashar Assad a pediatrician, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in a press release Tuesday. "These are murderers, these are terrorists and we will not lose clarity," he added.
Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum fiercely condemned The New York Times for publishing an op-ed by Barghouti that neglected to mention that he is in prison for murder, not his political views.
Barghouti was convicted in June 2004 of five murders and an attempted murder, including that of a Greek Orthodox priest he mistook for a rabbi. He was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences and 40 additional years in prison. But the newspaper’s tagline on the article called him a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.
later added on its website that Barghouti was a convicted murderer.
Palestinian prisoners in Israel prepare for a massive hunger strike. (Reuters)
"This article explained the writer's prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offense of which he was convicted," the Editor's Note clarifies in its addendum.
"They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction and legitimacy," it added.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren (Kulanu) compared Barghouti to Dylann Roof, an American mass murderer and white supremacist convicted of killing nine people in the June 2015 Charleston church shooting.
“Shame on NYT for printing libelous op-ed by convicted killer Barghouti, the Palestinian Dylann Roof,” Oren wrote on Twitter. “Americans would be horrified. So are we.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the Times
’ decision to “print an article by a terrorist without mentioning that he killed Jews in cold blood just because they were Jewish is not freedom of expression but anarchy."
“When a newspaper that considers itself important grants murderers a platform it gives legitimacy and a prize to terror,” Hotovely said.
Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett posted on Facebook a picture of Yoela Chen, a mother of two who was murdered at a gas station on her way to a wedding by terrorists under orders from Barghouti. Bennett noted that as the commander of Fatah’s Tanzim paramilitary offshoot, Barghouti was behind the murders of dozens of Israelis.
“Marwan Barghouti is not just an enemy,” Bennett wrote. “He is a lowly murderer who should rot in prison until the day he dies.”
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid wrote in The Times of Israel that “the attempt by The New York Times
‘to be balanced’ amuses Barghouti, who understands that this sacred attempt at balance creates equal standing between murderer and murdered, terrorist and victim, lie and truth."
“Instead of saying to him – as a responsible newspaper should – that if he doesn’t have a shred of evidence to support his stories then they can’t be published, The New York Times
published them in its opinion pages and didn’t even bother to explain to its readers that the author is a convicted murderer of the worst kind,” Lapid wrote.
Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz called for the death penalty for terrorists on twitter, stating, "When a despicable murdered such as Barghouti protests for improved prison conditions, while the relatives of the murdered are still hurting, there is only one solution- the death penalty for terrorists."
Katz told FM103 that he supports the death penalty for terrorists that commit extreme murders such as the murderers of the Fogel family.
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