(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/102FM)
Zionist Union lawmakers called for action against their colleague MK Zouheir Bahloul on Saturday, after he continued to refuse to call a Palestinian who stabbed an IDF soldier a terrorist.
MK Eitan Cabel, a veteran Labor lawmaker and close ally of opposition and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, said Bahloul’s “statement established that he is not part of the Zionist Union.”
Referring to Bahloul’s previous job as a sportscaster, Cabel said: “I will speak in terms he knows from sports.
Not only did he not play with teamwork, he knew his stance would harm his team and still didn’t keep quiet, making it even worse.”
Zionist Union MK Eitan Broshi asked faction chairwoman Merav Michaeli to call an urgent meeting to discuss Bahloul’s comments.
“The Labor Party [the larger of the two parties that make up the Zionist Union] must discuss its identity before it causes damage to the country, the Left and the party,” Broshi said.
On Thursday, Herzog said he told Bahloul he “rejects and condemns” the MK’s statements.
“The Zionist Union’s position is that a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist, and it does not matter if he wanted to kill Jews or Arabs,” Herzog wrote on Facebook.
On Saturday, Bahloul doubled down on his previous statement refusing to characterize the Palestinian man who stabbed a soldier on March 24 as a terrorist, calling soldiers “a symbol of the occupation.”
“Before 1948 there was the British Mandate... Irgun, the Stern Gang and Hagana took to the streets against soldiers of the Mandate to bring about this wonderful country,” Bahloul said during an event in Acre. “Why aren’t the Palestinians allowed the same?” Likud MK and former head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) Avi Dichter spoke at the same event. “You know...
you would not think to say this stuff in the Egyptian parliament,” nor in the French National Assembly, and never in Ramallah, Dichter told Bahloul.
“I think that [former prime minister] Ehud Barak said in 1999 [actually it was 1998 – L.H.] that if he were a Palestinian he would have been a terrorist,” Bahloul shot back.
Bahloul clarified, as he had previously, that his definition of a terrorist includes people who kill settlers, but not those who attack soldiers.
Dichter said “the attitude that the slaughter of a soldier at a bus station in Afula while waiting for the bus is not terrorism is dangerous. An official representative of the Knesset is legitimizing terrorism against Israeli citizens in uniform.”Daniel J. Roth contributed to this report