CNN chief accuses Israel of terror

In his first British interview since the September 11 terror attacks, CNN founder and AOL Time-Warner vice-chairman Ted Turner accused Israel of engaging in "terrorism" against the Palestinians.

"Aren't the Israelis and the Palestinians both terrorizing each other?" Turner asked, in an interview published today in The Guardian.

"The Palestinians are fighting with human suicide bombers, that's all they have. The Israelis... they've got one of the most powerful military machines in the world. The Palestinians have nothing. So who are the terrorists? I would make a case that both sides are involved in terrorism."

Turner said that the poverty and desperation of the Palestinians were the reason that they were perpetrating suicide bombing attacks. Turner also admitted that he had been wrong to call the September 11 hijackers "brave" in a speech in Rhode Island that sparked outrage. "I made an unfortunate choice of words," he said.

Daniel Seaman, director of the Israeli Government Press Office, condemned Turner's remarks as "stupid... My only advice to Ted Turner is if people assume you are stupid, it is just best to keep your mouth shut rather than open your mouth and confirm everyone in that view," he said.

Andrea Levin, director of the American pro-Israeli media watchdog Camera, said the comments were a "reprehensible" attempt to "blur the line between perpetrator and victim."

Ghassan Khatib, recently appointed Minister of Labor in the newly formed Palestinian Authority government, said Turner's comments "reflect a more consistent approach... One of the problems in trying to reduce the violence has been the focus of so much international attention on Israeli rather than Palestinian civilian deaths, although four times as many Palestinians have been killed."

Ellis Shuman Israelinsider

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