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When is a terrorist a terrorist?

The Israeli public and its leaders are trapped in their thinking about who is a terrorist, and that bodes ill for peace.

About a year after being elected to the Knesset on the Zionist Camp list in March 2015, the popular sports announcer Zuhair Bahloul discovered that in the game of politics, there are many rivals and that someone who doesn’t play by the rules could find himself an outcast, even in his own party.

In an April 4 interview with radio station Darom, Bahloul refused to use the word “terrorist” in reference to the Palestinian assailant executed March 24 in Hebron by an Israeli soldier while lying neutralized on the ground after stabbing another soldier. In an interview with Army Radio on April 7, Bahloul tried to explain why he thinks that not every Palestinian assailant is a terrorist, stating, “Obviously, if he [the Palestinian] killed someone, then he is a murderer, but if we keep going back to the same terminology, how will we ever make peace? How will we instill peace between the Palestinians and us? Israelis believe that anyone who fights for his freedom and independence is a terrorist … [but] he is not a terrorist.”

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