As our Alex Christy wrote on Saturday, CNN stooped to a despicable low by turning to Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Marghouti who explained away, equivocated, and defended the mass acts of terror against innocent Israelis and Jews by the terrorist organization Hamas. Sadly, CNN brought him back on Sunday to falsely claim Hamas had really only targeted “military installations” and most hostages were soldiers.
Appearing on Fareed Zarakia GPS with the serial plagiarist host, Marghouti insisted the mass murders of Jews was their own fault because of their country’s engagement in “the longest occupation in modern history” and “[a] much worse apartheid” than the one “in South Africa.”
Palestinian National Initiative's @MustafaBarghou1: "Hamas mainly attacked military establishments, military installations. And most of the people they have arrested & taken as war prisoners are military people. I do not accept [they are] attacking any civilian." pic.twitter.com/HYEOnDLGBU— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 9, 2023
He justified the kidnapings and rapes as “the only way” his fellow Palestinians believe can “get their rights” and that, in turn, the U.S. shouldn’t react to the hundreds of dead on the Israeli side by “dehumanizing Palestinians...and calling them terrorists.”
Zakaria noted that Hamas “target[ed] Israeli civilians, women, children, grandmothers,” but Barghouti despicably argued that wasn’t true: “[I]t’s not true. I think Hamas mainly attacked military establishments, military installations, and most of the people there, they have arrested and taken as war prisoners are military people.”
While the anti-Semite denied that his fellow terrorists were targeting innocent Jews, he insisted the Israeli military are the ones who’ve been going after civilians:
They are bombarding houses. They are bringing down to earth and you’ve shown that on your screen, whole apartments, whole buildings, high-rise buildings are brought down to the ground and we already are reporting — receiving reports about families who are killed. Nine people in one family, 10 people in another family including children.
Barghouti then tossed in a throwaway line that he doesn’t “want any civilian to be hurt,” but then added the ultimate qualifier of “but” before justifying the mass murders of Jews: “
But the question is how to end that. Will it end by attacking Gaza Strip another time? Israel has already conducted five wars on Gaza....They destroyed everything. This did not stop Hamas, did not stop resistance. There is one way to stop any violence, and that is to end the Israeli occupation...[The U.S.] cannot say that Israel has the right to defend itself but we the Palestinians don’t have the right to defend ourselves.
Zakaria refused to pushback on any of this. Instead, he sympathized with him and fretted that Israeli’s “right-wing forces” will show “no mercy” and make life “harder” for “average Palestinians.”
Barghouti took comfort in this false equivalency and lashed out at the “fascists in [Israel’s] government” while bemoaning how “[a]ny Palestinian who struggles for his rights or for freedom is described as terrorist.”
No word on how he defines fighting for one’s “freedom” by killing hundreds at a festival populated by young people.
“[I]f we struggle in a military force (ph) we are terrorists. If we struggle in an unviolent [sic] way we are described as violent. If we even resist with words we are described as provocateurs. If you support Palestinian and you are a foreigner, they describe you as anti-Semite...The main way to achieve [peace] is to end occupation, end the system’s apartheid,” he concluded.
To see the relevant transcript from October 8, click “expand.”
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS
October 8, 2023
10:25 a.m. Eastern
PALESTINIAN NATIONAL INITIATIVE’s MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Well, first of all, I am not part of the Palestinian Authority. As a matter of fact I represent a democratic Palestinian movement called Palestinian National Initiative which is non-Fatah and non-Hamas. And we have — of course I’m not affiliated with Hamas. But I think this situation that has evolved is a direct result of the continuation of the longest occupation in modern history. Israeli occupation of Palestinian land since 1967, this is 56 years of occupation, that has transformed into a system of apartheid. A much worse apartheid that what prevailed in South Africa. Yes, maybe Hamas did not recognize Israel, but the PLO did. And the Palestinian Authority did. What did they get? Nothing. Since 2013, the Israeli government would not even meet with Palestinians and what you see today is a reaction to several things. First of all, settlers’ terrorist attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank that has evicted already 20 communities in an act of ethnic cleansing. 248 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army and settlers in the West Bank including 40 children. Attacks on the holy sites, the Muslim and Christian holy sites, by Israeli extremists, as well as declaration of Netanyahu that he will liquidate the Palestinian rights and the Palestinian cause by normalization with Arab countries and he dared even to go to the United Nations and carried in the United Nations a map of Israel which included the whole of the West Bank, all of Gaza, all of Jerusalem, as well as the Golan Heights. He declared the annexation of the occupied territories. So of course Palestinians turned to resistance because they see that this is the only way for them to get their rights. The question here is not about dehumanizing Palestinians as is happening and calling them terrorists, it’s about asking the question. Why the United States supports Ukraine in fighting what they call occupation, while here they are supporting the occupier who continues to occupy us?
ZAKARIA: But let me ask you if that is the analogy you wish to draw, what Hamas is doing is they are targeting Israeli civilians, women, children, grandmothers.
BARGHOUTI: No, they are not.
ZAKARIA: Is that — is that not a classic — isn’t that classic terrorism? They’re not fighting the Israel government. They’re fighting ordinary people.
BARGHOUTI: That’s one way of putting it. But it’s not true. I think Hamas mainly attacked military establishments, military installations, and most of the people there, they have arrested and taken as war prisoners are military people. I do not accept attacking any civilian. I do not accept that Israelis attack our civilians. But look at what Israeli planes are doing now in Gaza. They are bombarding houses. They are bringing down to earth and you’ve shown that on your screen, whole apartments, whole buildings, high-rise buildings are brought down to the ground and we already are reporting — receiving reports about families who are killed. Nine people in one family, 10 people in another family including children. I do not want any civilian to be hurt. Neither by Palestinians or by Israelis. But the question is how to end that. Will it end by attacking Gaza Strip another time? Israel has already conducted five wars on Gaza. One of them lasted 51 days. They destroyed everything. This did not stop Hamas, did not stop resistance. There is one way to stop any violence, and that is to end the Israeli occupation. And that is for the United States to be fair. They cannot say that Israel has the right to defend itself but we the Palestinians don’t have the right to defend ourselves. Let me remind you of the case of Shireen Abu Akleh, who was not only Palestinian but also an American, a very peaceful journalist. She was shot to death by an Israeli sniper. Was anybody indicted? Was anybody taken to court? No, no. 52 other journalists were also killed. Our first aid providers are shot at. Our doctors are shot at. This should stop. And the only way to stop it is to tell Israel, you have to respect international law. You have to end this illegal occupation and accept Palestinians as equal human beings.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about the practical reality of what’s going to happen here, which you know because you have lived through this which is this is going to strengthen right-wing forces in Israel. It is going to strengthen the forces that say have no mercy, have a -- you know, huge military response. Presumably the life of Palestinians in the West Bank will get harder. More check points, more searches. Isn’t the practical effect here of all of this going to be much worse for the average Palestinian?
BARGHOUTI: Unfortunately, Fareed, what have you described is exactly what we already have. Today the whole West Bank is paralyzed by 560 military Israeli checkpoints. And these checkpoints were there during the last 30 years. We are suffering from a wall that is built on our land. The whole West Bank has been divided in 224 small ghettos, separated from each other. And the settlers are everywhere attacking Palestinians. You speak about right-wing government in Israel, already Israel is a right-wing government. Israel is already having fascists in its government. Smotrich described himself as a fascist homophobe. And that man Smotrich who is also a settler said that Palestinians have one of three options only, either to immigrate, or accept a life of subjugation to Israelis or die. This is the Israeli minister of finance. Netanyahu never negated these statements. And both Smotrich and Bibi (ph) said that their plan is to annex the West Bank. Can we stop what’s going on now? Yes, of course. All these Israelis who are now in Gaza can be released tomorrow, including everybody if there are civilians, also the civilians, even the generals of the Israeli army can be released if Israel also accepted to release our 5,300 Palestinian prisoners who are in Israeli jails. Including 1,260 Palestinians who are in jail without knowing why under the so-called administrative detention. They don’t know why they are arrested. They are not charged. Their lawyers don’t know why they are arrested and that is the life we have. Look, Fareed, we have lived all our lives under occupation. My father lived under occupation. My daughter is living under occupation. We want a time when we, the Palestinians, will be free. Hamas was not there 30 years ago or 40 years ago. But before that, we are all described as terrorists. Any Palestinian who struggles for his rights or for freedom is described as terrorist and the question here, do we have the right to struggle for freedom? Do we have the right to struggle for real democracy? Do we have the right to have normal democratic elections which unfortunately Israel and the United States don’t support? I think we are entitled to that, but the unfortunate thing if we struggle in a military force (ph) we are terrorists. If we struggle in an unviolent [sic] way we are described as violent. If we even resist with words we are described as provocateurs. If you support Palestinian and you are a foreigner, they describe you as anti-Semite. And if you are a Jewish person, and there are many of those, who support Palestinian cause, they call him self-hating Jew. This should end. It doesn’t make sense. We should all have equal life. We should all have peace. We should all have justice and we should all live in dignity. The main way to achieve that is to end occupation, end the system’s apartheid that I am sure no Jewish person can be proud of. Time has come for that and time has come for justice and freedom. If we achieve that, there will be no violence and nobody will be hurt.
ZAKARIA: Mustafa Barghouti, thank you for giving us your time and your perspective.
BARGHOUTI: Thank you.