Following are excerpts from an interview with Abd Al-Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi. The interview aired on ON TV on June 2, 2013:
Interviewer: You are the only Arab journalist who interviewed Bin Laden.
Abd Al-Bari Atwan: True.
Interviewer: Don't you consider him a terrorist?
Abd Al-Bari Atwan: It depends on your definition of terrorism. If you support the Palestinian resistance, you do not consider it terrorism. But if you are with America, Europe, and Israel, you do consider it terrorism. When I met Bin Laden, he was not a terrorist in the current definition. Then, he was demanding the removal of the U.S. forces from the Arabian Peninsula. He would not say "Saudi Arabia," but "the Arabian Peninsula." He believed that the U.S. forces had come to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.
Interviewer: That was back then, but now, in 2013, do you consider Bin Laden a terrorist?
Abd Al-Bari Atwan: As I've said, the Americans consider him a terrorist...
Interviewer: Do you, Abd Al-Bari Atwan, consider Bin Laden a terrorist?
Abd Al-Bari Atwan: He was half a terrorist. He was fighting for some causes...
Interviewer: But in general, do you consider him a terrorist?
Abd Al-Bari Atwan: When he was fighting the U.S., trying to drive its forces out of the Arabian Peninsula, he was not a terrorist. This is my view.
Whoever fights America and its enterprise in the region, and whoever fights Israel and the American occupation, is not considered a terrorist by me.
Are you trying to destroy me?
Interviewer: Absolutely not.
Abd Al-Bari Atwan: Isn't it enough that they have prevented me from entering the U.S.?