BONN (Jul. 30)
At a press conference in East Berlin today. Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yassir Arafat disclaimed any responsibility by the PLO for the recent Japan Air Line hijack and said the perpetrators should be punished. Arafat also attacked Bonn’s policy on Israel. He said thousands of millions of dollars had been sucked out of the German workers to support Israel. Arafat has been in East Berlin for talks on cooperation and on establishing a PLO office in the East German capital and to attend the East German World Youth Festival.
Meanwhile, 20 young Israeli Communists were snubbed at the festival. According to reports reaching Bonn, this was on Moscow’s orders to East Germany because of the presence of Arafat.
The Israelis were ousted from their alphabetical place between Iceland and Italy in the opening procession yesterday although they represented Israel’s pro-Soviet Communist Youth League, Arafat, frequently clenching his fist, watched the procession from a dais. East Berlin sources claimed Arafat was invited to the festival to deter any Munich-style terrorist attack on Israelis attending.
At first the East Germans said the Israelis had not arrived, then their presence was admitted but their address was kept a secret, reportedly to protect them.–But the presence of Palestinians in the procession and posters linking “anti-imperialism” in the Middle East and in Vietnam showed that power politics as well as security was involved. Festival seminars and discussions were designed to muster support for Moscow’s Middle East policies. There were unconfirmed reports that the Israelis have threatened to leave the week-long festival unless they are given a proper place among the 134 national delegations.