Award-winning Israeli Arab actor George Iskandar spoke with Arutz Sheva on Tuesday night at the premier screening of the film "Sabena" at Cinema City in Jerusalem, and claimed that the Black September terrorist he portrays in the film "isn't a terrorist."
The film recreates the May 9, 1972 hijacking by four Black September terrorists of Sabena Flight 571, a passenger flight arriving from Vienna to Lod Airport with 90 passengers on board, and the ensuing heroic rescue mission by Israeli commandos – including future prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
But Iskandar said, "I don't like this word 'terrorist.'"
Referring to Ali Taha Abu Sanina, who he plays in the movie, he said, "I don't call him a 'terrorist,' I call him a 'fighter,' he's a person who had something stolen from him, something taken from him, and he fights to get it back."
"I can not agree or agree with the way in which he fought. But I don't think that a person who had something stolen from him and fights for it back can be called a 'terrorist,'" he said, terminologically justifying attacks on civilians with the "stealing" of land at Israel's foundation.
When asked if potential "fighters" might not be inspired by the "fighter" he portrays in the movie, the actor said, "I personally, as George, don't agree with this way, okay? I don't agree with it."
Pressed as to whether his presentation of a pro-terror narrative might not encourage more terrorism, Iskandar retorted, "Why are you asking me? Ask the producers, it isn't me. I'm an actor, everything's okay."
"They aren't terrorists at all, they are fighters – people fighting for their principles, for their homes and to return to their land," he claimed, speaking of the Black September hijackers. "I'm not against peace and not in favor of these things, I'm just changing something in the definition. Instead of 'terrorist,' call him a 'fighter,' that's it."
In the incident, two male and two female members of the terrorist group Black September hijacked the aircraft, before separating out the Jewish passengers, and threatening to blow up the plane if jailed terrorists weren't released.
A team of 16 Sayeret Matkal commandos were dispatched under the guise of airplane technicians, led by Ehud Barak and including Netanyahu. They stormed the aircraft and took control of the plane within minutes, killing the two male terrorists and capturing the two female ones, who were later released from life sentences in a prisoner exchange after the 1982 Lebanon War.
One passenger was killed in the exchange and six others wounded, and Netanyahu was shot in the shoulder and wounded, reportedly by friendly fire.