MK Zuhair Bahloul (Zionist Union), who caused an uproar this week when he claimed that an Arab terrorist who stabbed a soldier in Hevron was not a "terrorist", toned down his rhetoric in an interview with Channel 2 News on Friday.
Asked whether he supports the stabbing of soldiers, Bahloul replied, “It is impossible to attribute such things to me. Are you crazy? The soldiers are victims of the cursed politics under which we live. These may be the children of my neighbors, would I want for their lives to end? All I said was that we must speak in terms that will awaken Israelis from their slumber. There is occupation.”
Bahloul called on the Palestinians “to abandon the armed struggle and turn to an unarmed struggle. An unarmed struggle is a very legitimate struggle.”
“I'm an Israeli and I'm Palestinian, just as an American Jew can be both a Jew and an American,” he insisted. “I was born here, and my roots are planted deep in this land, which is both mine and yours. You are the sovereign, and I accept you, I don’t have a problem. Just let there be a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, and I will be able to continue to live here and work towards the values of equality in which I believe.”
Asked about the rise of radical Islam in the world, Bahloul said that he feels “very bad about that. You do not understand that the fact that I am a Muslim infidel means I will be the first to have his throat slit. These ‘ISISes’ are looking for me before they look for you.”
Bahloul’s own party, the Zionist Union, distanced itself from his comments, saying, "The terrorist in Hevron is like any terrorist. Knesset member Bahloul's comments do not reveal or represent the position of the Zionist Union."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blasted Bahloul, saying his words are “embarrassing” and adding, "IDF soldiers defend our lives from bloodthirsty murderers with their bodies. I expect every citizen of Israel, and especially members of the Knesset, to give them full backing."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)