JERUSALEM (Sep. 9)
Israel had assurances from Britain, West Germany and Switzerland today that negotiations with Arab terrorists for the release of hijacked airline passengers would be based on the understanding that no differential would be made between the passengers because of their nationality. The assurances did not come from the highest diplomatic levels. They were conveyed by the chiefs of mission of the three countries to Gideon Rafael director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry who summoned them to his office today. They said their respective governments shared Israel’s view that the hostages should not be separated by nationality. According to reports here, the terrorists are now demanding the release of all guerrillas–about 2500 of them–currently in Israeli prisons.
Informed sources here said Israel has made no offer to release anybody and was not prepared to contribute to an international “package deal” to free the hostages. Yuval Katzenstein, of Haifa, whose brother, Aryeh, was killed when a terrorist grenade exploded in a bus carrying El Al passengers at Munich Airport last year, made a personal telephone call to West Germany’s President Gustav Heinemann yesterday urging him not to release the three Arab terrorists responsible. According to Mr. Katzenstein, Dr. Heinemann was “sympathetic” but pointed out that 200 lives were at stake. However, he agreed that all of the hostages, Jews, Israelis and others, must receive the same treatment. Mr. Katzenstein said he told the West German President that if only other nationalities are freed, the Israeli and Jewish passengers would be abandoned to the mercy of the terrorists.