WASHINGTON (Feb. 24)
The Israel Embassy issued a paper outlining how the Palestine Liberation Organization has sought to undermine the cessation of hostilities along the Israel-Lebanon border which went into effect July 24, 1981. The paper noted that Israel accepted the United States proposal for the cease-fire “in good faith and on the understanding that this would mean the cessation of PLO terrorism in southern Lebanon, in Israel, as well as against Israeli and Jewish targets abroad.”
However, the Embassy paper continued, “the PLO has sought to undermine the situation. Indeed, since July 24, 1981, seven people have been killed and 49 injured in Israel; and furthermore, nine people have been killed and 150 wounded in 21 attacks against Israelis, Jews and others in Europe.
“Moreover, the PLO has deployed large quantities of recently delivered sophisticated Soviet weapons, which have enhanced its assault capability against Israel as well as against the Lebanese Christian community.”
The Embassy paper cited a host of examples of PLO terrorist activities since July 24, 1981:
PLO ATTACKS IN ISRAEL
On July 29, 1981, a bus was attacked by two terrorists on the approach road to Kibbutz Ma’ale Hahamisha near Jerusalem. Four passengers were wounded — among them two teenagers and a woman in her seventh month of pregnancy (the woman survived, but she lost her baby).
On August 8, an explosive device was thrown at three students near the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.
On August 23, a German tourist was shot in the head and killed near Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa.
On September 12, an Italian pilgrim was murdered and 28 people wounded when a hand grenade was thrown at them in Jerusalem. Among the wounded were 22 Italian pilgrims, three Arabs, two Dutch tourists, a French and an American tourist.
On November 17, PLO agents shot and killed a Ramallah village leader and his son.
PLO ATTACKS FROM JORDAN
Since the cessation-of-hostilities, the PLO has increased its efforts to operate against Israel out of Jordan and have succeeded on more than one occasion.
On the morning of August 11, 1981, two weeks following the cessation-of-hostilities, a mine planted by terrorist infiltrators from Jordan exploded on the Israeli side of the Jordan River, killing one Israeli soldier and wounding eight others.
Three PLO terrorists were captured by Israeli troops on January 30. They, along with two or three others who escaped detection, had infiltrated into Israel by way of Jordan.
PLO ATTACKS ABROAD
On July 29, 1981, two PLO terrorists were arrested at the Vienna Airport while attempting to smuggle weapons into Austria.
On August 9, an employee of El Al was wounded when a bomb exploded near, and heavily damaged the airline’s office at Rome Airport. Later that same day, two explosive charges were thrown at the Israel diplomatic mission in Athens.
On August 10, two bombs exploded next to the Israel Embassy in Vienna. An elderly woman was slightly wounded.
On August 29, PLO terrorists attacked a Vienna synagogue during Sabbath services. Two worshippers were killed, and 19 others injured.
A Jewish restaurant in West Berlin was bombed on January 15. The “Eagles of the Palestine Revolution” claimed credit for this attack, in which a baby was killed and 25 people wounded.
PLO ATTACKS IN SOUTHERN LEBANON
From July 24, 1981 until the end of the summer months alone, the PLO shelled and launched attacks on various villages in southern Lebanon no less than eighteen times. In addition, PLO terrorists have attacked UN peacekeeping troops in southern Lebanon on 63 different occasions, wounding five UN soldiers, the Embassy paper said.
PLO REARMAMENT AND REGROUPING IN SOUTH LEBANON
The PLO is receiving large quantities of sophisticated Soviet-made weapons directly from the Soviet Union and Soviet bloc countries, as well as from Soviet client states in the region, such as Libya and Syria. Moreover, the PLO has received quantities of ammunition and light arms from Saudi Arabia, according to the paper.
Palestinian sources state that in the last three months, Soviet aid to the PLO, estimated at $50 million, included ground-to-air missiles, ground-to-ground missiles, field artillery, and radar systems.
The PLO has taken delivery of large numbers of heavy artillery and rocket launchers, including at least 18 130mm cannon (with a range of over 17 miles), and BM-21 mobile multiple rocket launchers (which are capable of firing rapid salvos of up to 40 Katyusha rockets at targets over 13 miles). These weapons systems overlook all of northern Israel, the Embassy paper stated.
The PLO now possesses some 70 to 80 tanks, including heavy T-54 and T-55 models, in addition to the T-34 tanks previously in its arsenal. The PLO has acquired such new anti-aircraft weaponry as the SAM-9 missile and the 23mm ZSU-4 radar-guided anti-aircraft cannon, as well as additional SAM-7 shoulder-launched missiles and an assortment of lighter anti-aircraft weapons.
At present there are approximately 5,000 PLO terrorists in southern Lebanon, many of whom are encamped within the UN peace-keeping zone. This figure, however, does not include the 1,500 terrorists in the city of Tyre, a center for communications installations and training bases, the Embassy reported.