Physician as Terrorist

The arrest by the British authorities of physicians suspected of involvement in last week’s attempted attacks in London and Glasgow brings back to memory the following incident::

When I was a Judge in the Gaza Strip Military Court (1992-1994) the Israel Defense Forces’s request to remand Dr. Rantisi—the then number two of Hamas—was brought before me.

After I signed the remand order (based on classified intelligence information), Dr. Rantisi and I had a long conversation (in English) about how a pediatrician (which he was) could give orders to kill innocent civilians, including Jewish and Arab children alike. Dr. RantIsi told me I have to see two Rantisi’s–one the MD and the other the political leader (he refused to call himself a terrorist)

I responded by telling him that from my perspective there is but one Rantisi—the individual who happens to be a physician and orders the killing of children. I asked him about the Hippocratic Oath; he responded that he respected every word of the oath when he was acting as a physician but that I need to understand there are two separate and distinct sides to him.

The attempt to distinguish, or separate, between the physician and terrorist must be—I suggest— unequivocally rejected. More than that, I would argue that a physician dedicated to killing innocent men, women and children is a particularly heinous terrorist and no spin—no matter how agile– can justify his or her motives.