Something changed and I find it difficult to understand.
There was a shift in the words that were used to describe the events that happened. The words that described the participants in those events also changed.
Someone who murdered someone was called a murderer. Someone who would hold hostage a classroom filled with students would be called a terrorist. The same would be true of someone hijacking an airplane. That person would be called a terrorist. A person who would shoot up an airport passenger lounge would be called a terrorist. Someone grabbing the steering wheel of a bus, forcing it to plunge into a ravine would be called a murderer and a terrorist.
Slowly the words changed. NPR, National Public Radio, started calling some of these same people by a new name. They became militants. Sometimes, especially if the murderers were hiding in schools or hospitals, in apartment buildings, or in other highly populated areas, they were called fighters. We read about such militants and fighters during Israel’s wars with Hezbollah and Hamas. Cable news networks with few exceptions changed the language. No longer calling them terrorists and murderers, they were now known as alleged militants, and later they became “members” of this or that organization.
Much of this new language led to equivocation. If the Palestinian side did this, well, then, it was or must have been the result of the Israeli’s side a) occupation of this area or that area; b) the arrest of this militant or that alleged member of… or c) the disproportionate use of force against….
The list goes on and on.
This changing of words spread well beyond the geography of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria, the occupied territories, land captured from Jordan in 1967 or however it is now called). We see the same terminology used for murderers and terrorists in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. It has also appeared in Algeria, Libya and Egypt, specifically in the Sinai Peninsula. The murdering terrorists who commit the most barbaric and horrendous crimes, crimes unacceptable and despicable, are now called militants, fighters, members of… rather than what they really are: murdering terrorists.
In some African countries murderers and rapists who kidnap schoolchildren are called fighters and “members” of Boko Haram. CNN is among the worst of the news providers, because this network refuses to call these criminals murderers and rapists. “Militants” is the best they can come up with.
Two murderers armed with axes and pistols walked into a house of worship, a synagogue, and murdered Jewish men who were praying. In the subsequent confrontation with Israeli police and other Israeli security forces, these murderers were shot and killed. They were murdering criminals intent on terrorizing and butchering Jews. They were not militants, nor were they Palestinian freedom fighters.
The time has come for President Mahmoud Abbas to speak clearly in Arabic, in English, in French, in Hebrew, in any language and in all languages that murder and terrorism are out of the question. The time has come for the President of the Palestinian people to state clearly and decisively that butchering Jews, running them down, stabbing them and simply put, murdering them is not acceptable. He needs to state this in a loud and clear voice, as a future partner and neighbor living next door to Israel in his free and democratic nation of Palestine.
His refusal to do so will, in my opinion, simply relegate him to being the leader of a group of murderers, thugs and criminals, just like so many other forgotten murderers and criminals before him.