Title: Policy background.
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072554/00007
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Title: Policy background.
Physical Description: Book
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Bibliographic ID: UF00072554
Volume ID: VID00007
Source Institution: The Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica
Holding Location: The Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica
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POLICY B~__ ___I 0 R0U



Washington, D.C.

December 26, 1968

P 0 LI C

8 A K GR 0 N


1) In dimension and potential, Arab terrorism is of secondary mili-

tary significance, a fact that is acknowledged by its leaders and

sponsors. Its declared major purpose is political -- to thwart any

movement, however small, towards Israel-Arab understanding. As

announced-in an El-Fatah policy communique over Cairo Radio, October

19, 1968:

"All peace solutions produced in the forum of the UN, the
resolution of the Security Council, and Jarring's mission,
are but bargaining for the rights of the Palestine people.
We reject and oppose them with all our might since they con-
stitcte an attempt at peaceful coexistence with the Zionist
existence...The problem is the liberation of the whole coun-
try and not the eradication of the results of the aggression "

2) The central thrust of Arab terrorism is directed against the mani-

festations of coexistence between Arab and Jew in the administered

areas and in Israel itself. One of the most significant outcomes of

the Six-Day War is that, for the first time in two decades, Jeus and

Arabs are free to intermingle. With the removal of the military bar-

riers, trade relations have developed, social contacts have sprung

up, and past enmities have begun to be replaced by a degree of mutual

exchange and some understanding. In the past year, 10,000 farmers in

the West Bank have received guidance and training in improved culti-

vation methods. Many thousands of Arabs make daily visits to Israel,

and an equal number of Israelis travel through the West Bank and the

Gaza Strip. Israeli m ,kets are open to Arab labor at equal wages

and social rights. This neu-found relationship, though still inhib--

ited by the uncertainties of the Middle East conflict, is nevertheless

real. It is advanced by the fact that the Arab local authorities in

the administered areas have continued to function uninterruptedly,

headed by the same mayors and municipal councils as before. The

schools, courts, health and public services likewise function nor-

mally. It is given added weight through the traffic, to and fro, of

people and agods across the River Jordan which has continued almost

without interruption cospite '.- ,r..-,,i- _=.-r incidents. Within

the context of Middle East tensions, this daily fraternization be-

tween Arab and Jew has a heartening bearing upon future relationships.

3) The leaders of the Arab terrorist organizations are dedicated to

shattering this situation. -It strikes at the very essence of their

purpose -- the Ultimate destruction of Israel. To admit that, given

peace, Arab and Israeli can live together is a rejection of a sancti-

fied politico-propaganda thesis. The terror tactics are threefold:

a) Assaults from across the cease-fire line to keep the war sit-

uation at a constantly simmering height;

b) Terror attacks against Israeli civilians in the hope Of pro-

voking retaliation against Arab civilians;

c) Intimidating the populations in the West Bank-and the Gaza

Strip by threats, extortions, and outright political murder.

The terrorists are overwhelmingly not local inhabitants of the Uest

Bank or Gaza areas. They are trained military marauders sent from

the outside. The local populations have repeatedly demonstrated their

lack of support for this method of warfare directed against civilians

because it is contrary to their own interests, hence, the terrorist's

inability to establish bases in the administered areas, compelling

them to operate from across the cease-fire lines. To the majority of

the residents of these areas, El-Fatah and its numerous rivals are

simply leading the Arabs up another blind alley at the end of which

they will find nothing but more bloodshed and despair.

4) Arab Governments, particularly Jordan, Egypt Syria and Iraq, render

active aid and cooperate to the terrorist organizations led by El-

Fatah. Incapable as they are now of launching a frontal invasion

against Israel, and declining to negotiate a peace, they have chosen

to encourage terrorism as an intermediate strategy. In years past,

these Governments have demonstrated a capacity to preserve border

quiet when they found it politic to do so. That they have given their

blessing to terror warfare is because its aims serve their own policies

of frustrating any attempt at a meaningful and lasting settlement .

5) The actions of the terrorist groups, emanating as they do from across

the borders, constitute a flagrant violation of the UN cease-fire agree-

ments of June 1967. Israel has declared that it considers itself bound

by the caasc-fire only on th.-e -bss -f tsal reciarocitv.

EMBASSY OF ISRAEL ?.;^. fh1 J71n



A. Lebanese Responsibility for Terrorism
1. Since September 1968, 18 terrorist incidents have taken place from
Lebanese soil, with the overt encouragement of the Lebanese Government.
The terrorist group most active in Lebanon is the one which calls itself
"The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine." This is the group
that claimed responsibility both for the hijacking of the El Al plane to
Algeria in July 1968 and for the terror attack on the El Al plane at Athens
on December 26, 1968. The group maintains its headquarters in Beirut and
is allowed to function openly. Its communiques are regularly published in
Beirut. It was from Beirut Airport that the two perpetrators who sprayed
machinegun fire and threw explosives at the El Al plane at Athens had de-
parted. One passenger was killed and a stewardess wounded during that
2. Lebanese official support for terror against Israel is reflected in
numerous public statements. In the words of the Lebanese Prime Minister
on November 2, 1968:
"Fedayeen action is legitimate, and no one can condemn the feda-
yeen for what they are doing. Their aim is to retrieve their home-
land and their plundered rights... Thus, I say, fedayeen action is
legal." (Radio Beirut, 11.2.68.)
Following the attempt to destroy the El Al plane at Athens Airport,
Radio Cairo on December 28t quoted Lebanese official sources as "praising
the courage of the perpetrators." This was echoed in the Lebanese daily
El-Hadaf. 12.2.68: "The action at Athens was an outstanding act of hero-
ism. The path of struggle is a difficult one, but those who follow it
faithfully will ultimately reach the goal."

B. Scope of Israeli Action
3. As a result of the Israeli action at the Beirut Airport, December 28,
1968, 12 to 14 Arab aircraft were destroyed or severely damaged (9 jets and
3-5 turbo-jets.)
4. At great risk to themselves, Israeli troops at the Airport exercised
the strictest precaution to prevent civilian casualties. The planes were
emptied of passengers and ground crews, and people in the vicinity were led
away to safety. Loudspeakers were employed to issue instructions in Arabic


9cc. C 2/cf.


and English. The only shots fired were warning shots in the air. No fire
was directed at people. There is no truth in the allegation that explosives
and machineguns were used. Smoke bombs were employed against the possible
arrival of Lebanese reinforcements. The runways were left untouched.

C. The Purpose of the Israeli Action
5. In contrast to the severe precautions to avoid civilian casaulties in
the Israeli action, the terror attack on the El Al plane in Athens was one
of cold-blooded murder. Thirty-eight passengers including women and child-
ren were in the plane when it was struck by grenades and machinegun fire.
That the plane, with its 30 tons of fuel, did not explode on the spot was
due more to chance than design.
6. The Athens incident was the second act of violence in six months by a
Beirut-based terror group directed against the Israel national airline.
Following the piratical act in July, Israel made it clear that it would not
tolerate interference with the free and innocent movement of its aircraft.
Last week's criminal attack at Athens Airport again highlighted the dan-
gers inherent in this method of terrorization which may be expected to
spread if no reaction is forthcoming.
7. Israel has no desire in worsening its relations with Lebanon. It is,
however, obliged to defend itself against any aggression at the place where
it is planned and carried out. States that make it possible for terrorist
groups to organize and perpetrate acts of terror bear responsibility for
the aggression. Under the rules of international morality and law, no
State is allowed to harbor and encourage armed forces operating from its
territory against a neighboring State and then be considered immune from
reaction in self-defense.
8. For Israel, a country surrounded on every border by enemies foresworn
to its destruction, the national airline is a vital life-line to the world
outside. Any .attempt to interfere with its legal freedom of movement is a
blow at Israel's security.

Washington, D.C.
December 29, 1968






Statement by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol

Jerusalem, December 29, 1968

After the piratical act of the kidnapping of the El Al Plane last

July, we refrained from reacting in force and took diplomatic action

instead for the release of'the plane, crew and passengers. I made it

clear at that time, on behalf of the Government, that we would not accept

any interference with the free movement along our air routes, I

emphasized that kidnapping not only endangered Israel but also violated

principles of freedom and safety aviation, and I called for a cessation

of acts of this kind.

Unprecedented Criminal Attack

Unfortunately, an end has not been put to this dangerous practice.

Once again, an unprecedented criminal attack has been perpetrated, this

time on an El Al plane at the International Airport at Athens. TerroristE

threw hand-grenades and Molotov cocktails, and shot from machine-guns

at a civilian aircraft carrying passengers in innocent flight to their

destination. One of the passengers was killed, and a stewardess was

wounded. It was only by chance that the assault did not claim a larger

number of victims. The aim of the assailants was to kill dozens of

people and by spreading fear paralyze Israel aviation.

The attack was carried out with the purpose of causing a large

number of casualties. It is difficult to exaggerate the gravity of this

deed of violence and bloodshed. No State has the right to ignore the

danger emanating from such a criminal method of terrorization, which may

be expected to spread if no reaction is forthcoming.

Statement by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol


Lebanon Bears Responsibility

We have no desire whatsoever of worsening our relations with

Lebanon. Israel is interested in a delimitation of the hostile front--

not in its expansion. But we are obliged to defend ourselves against

all aggression, in the place where it is planned and carried out. This

practice adopted by our enemies must stop. States that make it

possible for terrorist organizations to organize and perpetrate acts of

terror bear responsibility for aggression, a responsibility they cannot

disclaim. This is accepted as a fundamental principle of international

law. On no account can we accept the notion that the waging of war

against Israel should be permitted if those who wage it call themselves

this or that organization and not a government.

The facts are clear: the terrorist band that struck at our plane

operated out of Beirut. In Beirut are located the headquarters of the

organization that carried out the deed. From Beirut went out the

organization's words of bravado concerning its deed --- as well as the

statement proclaiming its intention to continue with actions of this

kind. Under rules of international morality and law, a State is not

allowed to harbor and encourage an armed force operating from its

territory against a neighboring State and be considered immune from


These terrorist methods employed by Israel's enemies strike not at

Israel alone but are capable of causing the gravest interference in

international civil aviation.

Israel calls for the honoring of the rights of all States to fly

their international airlines in freedom and safety.


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