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2 Airlines Deny Paying Blackmail

The Dutch government was urged today to answer accusations appearing in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post that the Dutch airline KLM pays ransom money to Arab terrorist groups to prevent the hijacking of its planes. The demand was made in Parliament by a member of the “Democrats 1966″ Party, Johan Imkar, who asked Dutch Foreign Affairs and Justice Ministers to “declare whether there is any truth to the report.” KLM yesterday vigorously denied any such payment, and said that the report “coincides with the Israeli government’s offensive against the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assembly” currently being held in Rome.

(In Paris, the French government-controlled airline, Air France, issued a communique today in which it “formally denied the allegations of certain Israeli newspapers that it paid ransom money to Palestinian organizations to prevent the hijacking of its planes.”)

Meanwhile spokesmen for Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, and the British BOAC denied they ever made payments to Arab terrorist organizations.

(In Vienna, the newspaper Neue Zeit, said today that European airlines have shown a “real sense for business” if they really did pay millions of dollars to protect their planes against hijacking. Although these payments have a tang of immorality, they are at least one way to protect innocent passengers, the newspaper said. The payments, moreover, would explain the sharp attitude of Arab terrorist organizations against actions of single fanatics, because hijacks by “Palestine lone-wolfs” would bring the “Arab liberation movements” into discredit as “sincere business partners.”

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