Dutch-Israeli Group: Netherlands Must Condemn, Cease Funding Palestinian Media Honoring Terrorists as ‘Martyrs’
The Dutch government refused to condemn Palestinian media references to terrorists as “martyrs,” claiming such labels are protected by freedom of speech, a Dutch-Israeli political group claimed on Tuesday.
According to a statement by Likud Netherlands, the Dutch government was asked by the group whether it agrees with Palestinian news agency Ma’an’s referring to the terrorist who stabbed to death 13-year-old Hallel Ariel in her Kiryat Arba home as an “Islamic martyr.”
The question was posed to the government due to its previous funding of the news agency by the Dutch Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat.
In a response to Likud Netherlands, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs defended its support of Ma’an — which it said “adds to the awareness of human rights of the Palestinian population” — as a form of promoting “media pluralism” and a “part of the freedom of expression.”
“I understand your worry surrounding the use of the word ‘shahid’ (martyr). Different interpretations of this word, however, are possible, which makes this discussion difficult,” the ministry wrote in a Dutch-language statement and translated by The Algemeiner.
Calling to mind the expression, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” the Ministry stated: “Through Palestinian eyes, this word is considered for somebody who perished in the fight for ‘the Palestinian struggle’ and ending the Israeli occupation.”
Calling the 10-month surge in terrorism against Israelis as “unfortunate,” the ministry said that attacks by individual Palestinian terrorists are violent incidents “in opposition to the occupation,” adding, “Use of the word ‘shahid’ in this localized context is not unusual.”
In response, Likud Netherlands slammed the government, writing that “it considers this glorification of violence no reason not to give more ‘development help’ to Ma’an, because it said that this is a good method to promote ‘human rights’ and to achieve the desired ‘diversity’ in Palestinian media.”
“Is it not wrong that in the last year, dozens of innocent Israeli civilians — including children — were killed by this kind of incitement, supported with Dutch tax money?” the group asked.
Likud Netherlands said the Dutch government has “no problem in subsidization [sic] this glorification at a time when the radical Islamic terror has already reached Europe and now even the French Riviera.”
Palestinian media and leadership have repeatedly hailed terrorists killed while committing attacks as “martyrs” for the Palestinian cause. In June, following the murder of Ariel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinian leadership “to clearly and unequivocally condemn this vicious murder and take immediate action to stop the incitement.”