Arafat's murder of an American Ambassador....
Covered up for years...
"Crime doesn't pay" is a nice saying. When it comes to diplomacy, however, it nearly always does pay. Without murderous terrorism, Yasser Arafat would not have led the Palestinian national movement to many of its achievements, including his successor Mahmoud Abbas' plan to ask the United Nations General Assembly to recognize Palestine as an independent state next month. Abbas has secured a majority in support of this, although not for UN membership, which must be authorized by the UN Security Council.
Since Arafat first appeared on that platform, in 1974, his gun holster hanging from his belt, the Palestinians have advanced from being an organization (the Palestine Liberation Organization ) to an "authority" created by the Oslo Accords, and from there to being an embryonic state. Arafat leveraged Palestinian terror crudely - and directly. The terror attacks he masterminded eventually drove the Americans to offer him diplomatic recognition at the expense of its two veteran partners, Israel and Jordan.
On the eve of UN recognition of Palestine, 18 years after the Oslo Accords carried Arafat to the White House and from there to the Nobel Peace Prize, and seven years after his death, the U.S. government now confirms that Arafat was responsible for the 1973 murder of its ambassador and his deputy in Khartoum, Sudan. The two were taken hostage and killed "with the full knowledge and by the personal authorization" of Arafat, according to a study released last month by the U.S. State Department's Office of the Historian, entitled "Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973."
The incident began on March 1, 1973, when eight members of Black September stormed the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum during a reception, and captured the Saudi ambassador and four of his guests: American ambassador Cleo Noel, U.S. deputy chief of mission George Curtis Moore, and the Belgian and Jordanian charge d'affaires in Sudan. Black September was a transparent front for Fatah, and Arafat was the commander of both, as well as head of the PLO. When the kidnappers understood that Jordan, Israel and the United States would not be releasing prisoners in exchange for the captives, Fatah headquarters in Beirut ordered them to shoot the two Americans and the Belgian, Guy Eid.
Two months later - and one month after the so-called Spring of Youth raid on Beirut by an elite Israel Defense Forces unit, paratroopers and the Mossad, which killed three senior Palestinian leaders - Foreign Minister Abba Eban visited U.S. President Richard Nixon's National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger.
"During the Khartoum incident, someone suggested we ask you for help," Kissinger said, according to the newly released report. "You would have blown up Beirut."
Eban replied: "You know that it was from Beirut that the phone call went to finish them off."
Kissinger concurred: "We know that."
The official State Department archives do not contain information about intercepted communications between the Sudan terrorists and their handlers in Lebanon. For its part, the National Security Agency published its own documentation in the 1970s without any information concerning the Khartoum incident, which had been censored.
At the end of the 1990s, a former navy officer named James Welsh launched a campaign to denounce the intelligence, security and diplomacy establishments' failure to warn about the Khartoum attack. In letters to Congress and interviews with the media, Welsh said that between 1970 and 1974, he had worked in the NSA and secretly monitored the Palestinians' actions.
A day or two before the attack, the NSA recorded conversations about the terror plans, Welsh said, adding that he recognized the voice of Arafat telling his aides, Abu Jihad and Abu Iyad, to carry out the attack. The U.S. State Department was warned immediately, so it could pass on the message to the diplomats in Khartoum.
When he heard about the attack in the media, Welsh was astounded to discover that the person on duty had decided on her own that the warning was not urgent, and thus had delayed disseminating it. It arrived in Khartoum after the murders.
Welsh claimed that when he demanded that the State Department's failure be investigated, his superiors at the NSA told him such a campaign would cost him his security clearance and result in his transfer from Washington's quiet corridors to the rigors of a navy fueling ship. Welsh backed down.
While there had been no official response to Welsh's claims about the negligence that led to the disaster (which resembled the communication glitches that led to the positioning of the U.S. Navy ship Liberty off the Israeli coast in 1967 ), in 2006 the State Department half-heartedly recognized the part involving Arafat. The NSA's top-secret report on the Khartoum attack was reclassified, although it was released without its original publication date, signature or the list of recipients.
"The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasser Arafat," aided by representatives of Fatah in Khartoum, who transported the terrorists in their car, which enjoyed diplomatic immunity, the NSA report states. It makes no mention of U.S. governmental bodies, and it was included in a digitized collection of documents about Africa, published by the State Department's Office of the Historian, without an opinion as to its reliability.