- The Washington Times - Monday, December 17, 2001

In late February 1973, eight terrorists affiliated with Yasser Arafat's Black September group (which six months earlier had massacred Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics) seized the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum, taking three diplomats including two Americans hostage. During the siege, Western intelligence sources intercepted communications from Black September's radio command center in Beirut to the terrorists holding the diplomats hostage at the Saudi embassy. Mr. Arafat and his deputy, Abu Iyad, could be heard talking to the hostage-takers. Then, on March 2, either Mr. Arafat or Mr. Iyad, using the code words "Cold River," gave the order to kill the three diplomats. Shortly afterward, the trio, among them U.S. Ambassador to the Sudan Cleo Noel and deputy counselor George Curtis Moore, were executed. In a 1973 article entitled "Arafat Implicated In Envoys' Deaths," the Washington Post's David Ottaway reported that it was "not clear" whether Mr. Arafat's voice "was identified as the sender of the Cold River message or was only heard later congratulating the guerrillas" who had cold-bloodedly murdered the diplomats.
Any careful look at the historical record shows that such thuggery and wanton brutality has been par for the course for Mr. Arafat and the other terrorist groups which comprise his Palestine Liberation organization (PLO). The plane and bus hijackings; the massacres of schoolchildren, the killing of tourists in Israel throughout the 1970s and 1980s are well-known. In Lebanon, during the 1970s, the PLO "governed" large areas of the country; after the 1982 Israeli invasion, many Lebanese Christian and Muslim alike told harrowing tales of rape, mutilation and random brutality at the hands of Mr. Arafat's men.
Despite this record, Israel, with the backing of the United States, decided to roll the dice and reach a peace agreement with Mr. Arafat, who gained territory, diplomatic recognition, and the opportunity to create a state for his people, so as he acted to prevent terrorism. Last July, Israel offered him such a state, but Mr. Arafat killed the deal. Two months later, he allowed Palestinian terrorists to begin a vicious war of terror. That war, punctuated by suicide bombings of discotheques and pizzerias, actually escalated after the Bush administration sought to woo Mr. Arafat with a state called "Palestine," and sent U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni to the region in an effort to achieve a ceasefire in order to bring that about. Gen. Zinni has been called home for "consultations," his mission a failure. And Mr. Arafat, whose role in those brutal 1973 murders has been overlooked by U.S. policymakers in the hope that he might transform himself into a peacemaker, bears all of the blame.

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