Jerusalem (Aug. 30)
A high Israeli official said today that Israel held the Palestine Liberation Organization responsible for the terrorist attack on a synagogue in Vienna yesterday. But he carefully stopped short of saying that Israel regarded the assault as a violation of the cease-fire along the Israeli-Lebanese border.
The official, Cabinet Secretary Arye Naor, was briefing reporters following the weekly Cabinet meeting at which Ministers stood in silence in respect to the two persons who died in the attack. Naor indicated that the attack was not discussed by the Cabinet.
Earlier, Deputy Premier Simcha Ehrlich told the Army Radio that he did regard yesterday’s attack as a violation of the cease-fire. He said the fact that the terrorist groups operate under different names “does not change anything.” He also said that “naturally, any murderous action violates the truce, especially when innocent people are attacked and murdered.” Israel has insisted that the cease-fire mandated the terrorists to halt their attacks not only against Israel and Israelis but also on Jewish and Israeli institutions outside Israel. But Noar, although pressed on this issue, refused to echo or otherwise endorse Ehrlich’s remark.
CLOSE AUSTRIA-PLO TIES CITED
The Foreign Ministry put out a statement directly linking yesterday’s attack and earlier incidents in Vienna to Austria’s ties with the PLO. “It is no coincidence,” the statement said, “that the series of attacks is taking place in a country which has cultivated its ties with the PLO above and beyond any other country in Europe.”
The statement mentioned a “series of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Austria over the last few months …. the president of the Austrian-Israeli Friendship Society was murdered, the Israel Embassy in Vienna was bombed, members of Al-Fatah tried to smuggle arms and explosives through the Vienna airport, and now we witness the murderous attack on the synagogue in a country in which most of the Jews (who) are survivors of the Holocaust were worshipping.”
Naor at his briefing said the attack had “exposed the true face of the PLO.”