JERUSALEM (Sep. 13)
While Israeli jets pounded terrorist bases in Syria and Lebanon last weekend, the Israeli government was quietly mounting an information offensive designed to point out the depth of Arab terrorism. Lengthy pamphlets have quickly been put together and background briefings for foreign newsmen have been arranged, all aiming to bring into sharp focus the methods that the terrorists employ. The single common theme that runs through the thousands of words now being written and spoken by Israeli information specialists is that the Arab governments are directly linked to the terrorist groups.
Foreign Ministry sources place a large measure of blame on the Egyptian government for the endurance of Arab terrorist organizations. These sources are convinced that Egypt could, if it wished to, place a vise on terrorist operations at a moment’s notice. The murder of the 11 Israelis at the Olympic Games in Munich last Tuesday revived Israeli anger at the new international face of Arab terrorism. The most potent force is a relatively new international organization called Black September.
As far as Israel is concerned, it is both naive and a mistake to think of Black September as a separate entity apart from the El Fatah terrorist organization, spearheaded by Yasser Arafat. Arafat has placed great hopes on legitimizing his El Fatah group by broadening its ties with national governments outside the Arab world. Israelis theorize that Black September was created to perform the heinous deeds of El Fatah without besmirching El Fatah’s name within the international community.
TERRORIST CONCENTRATION IN SYRIA
The Lebanese government, according to Foreign Ministry sources, continues to give succor to the 5000 terrorists residing in its territory under terms of the 1969 “Cairo agreement.” According to these sources, Lebanon once tried to limit the scope of terrorism within its borders, but the Egyptians would have none of this and forced the agreement on her. Syria, with 9000 terrorists, has the largest terrorist concentration among the Arab states. According to Israeli sources, the terrorist groups have grown increasingly more dependent upon Syria, especially after they were thrown out of Jordan two years ago.
The question of financing the terrorist organizations has been hazy, but Foreign Ministry sources say that much of the backing comes from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and lately Libya. Israeli sources say they are reasonably convinced that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, headquartered in Beirut, has been living off all or a large part of the $5 million ransom which they reportedly received from the West German government to free a hijacked Lufthansa airliner.
With the need to go “international” clearly spelled out for them, the members of the-Black September have been busy recruiting non-terrorist personnel to assist them in their cause. Thus, say Israeli sources, the new thrust of Israeli policy must be to convince foreign governments, especially in Western Europe, to force the terrorists out of their countries. Foreign Ministry sources point to Turkey and Switzerland as the two countries that have thus far shown some signs of cracking down on foreign terrorists.