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“Ali was a Palestinian foot solider,” Mr. Burton said. “After the murder, he fled the United States and resettled in the Palestinian community in Brazil. Eventually, he made his way back to Lebanon, where he was under the protection of Hezbollah.”

Today, Mr. Burton believes that Ali is dead. The reason?

In December 2009, Mr. Burton passed the suspected killer’s real name to his contacts in Israeli intelligence. Two months later, he received a text message in response.

The matter has been resolved, it read.

Unresolved questions

While Mr. Burton is confident that the Alon case finally has been put to rest, Ms. Alon-Margalit and Ms. Alon-Rosenschein remain dubious.

Calling Mr. Burton’s conclusion “optimistic,” the Alon daughters cite a lack of concrete evidence. Moreover, they’re not convinced that Black September was responsible for the murder.

Instead, they believe what their mother believed: that their father was killed for knowing too much.

In Israel — and in the documentary film — the conspiracy theory goes like this: Mr. Kissinger and Israeli leaders conspired to allow an alliance of Arab armies to strike first in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, giving the Arabs a face-saving early military victory that set the stage for an American-brokered peace between Israel and Egypt, with the added Cold War bonus of turning the Soviet-backed Egyptian military into a Pentagon client.

According to the theory, Alon was silenced for discovering the truth about the impending Arab attack, which took place just three months after his murder.

“Our gut feeling goes toward the theory that it is an American doing it, with Israelis knowing about it and being silent,” Ms. Alon-Margalit said.

“My mother was quite certain that the Americans did it,” Ms. Alon-Rosenschein said. “I’m not sure it’s connected to the Yom Kippur War, but it has to do with security issues, no doubt.”

Mr. Burton said he found no evidence supporting such claims. But given the intrigue surrounding Alon’s murder and the psychic scars of the Yom Kippur War, he understands the Alon daughters’ frustration and lingering doubts.

“Remember, the Yom Kippur War was basically Israel’s 9-11,” Mr. Burton said. “All kinds of intelligence surfacing about the Arab invasion, and yet Israel was caught blindsided. It’s still controversial to this day.

“[The Alon] case brings all of that up. I think it opens a few wounds that a lot of people there would rather be left alone.”

Story Continues →