Menu JTA Search

Koch Calls on U.S. to Employ Economic Sanction Against Egypt for Releasing Ship’s Hijackers

The United States should employ economic sanctions against Egypt for ignoring a United States request not to release the four Arab terrorists who hijacked an Italian cruise ship, Mayor Edward Koch said today.

He spoke at a protest demonstration organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council near the New York office of the Palestine Liberation Organization in response to the hijack and the murder of an American Jewish passenger, Leon Klinghoffer of New York.

Koch told the 100 demonstrators that one of the problems in reacting to acts of Arab terrorism was that the United States has still not punished any of the terrorists. He noted that Israel had punished Arab terrorists in its raid on PLO headquarters near Tunis and that it was “appropriate” that it did so.

URGES MILITARY ACTION IF REQUIRED

He said “we must take action, military if required,” economic and diplomatic, against those states which encourage terrorism. Koch said, “If you allow murderers of Americans to go free, you have to pay the price.”

Asserting that there were some countries prepared to accept the death of Jews, he added, ” We do not accept the death of anyone killed by terrorists and certainly not killings of Jews.”

The Mayor said it was “an absolute outrage and encouragement of terrorism” for PLO head Yasir Arafat to be invited, as a “head of state” to address the current session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Rabbi Avi Weiss of Riverdale, who recently organized a Coalition to Stop PLO Terrorism, said “the blood of Leon Klinghoffer is dripping from Arafat’s hands.” He said “Arafat masterminds murder and then pulls back.” Arafat has declared publicly that the PLO was not associated with the seizure of the liner and condemned the seizure.

Malcolm Hoenlein, JCRC executive director, asked what the State Department should have done, said there should have been a clear declaration to the PLO and to Arafat to turn the terrorists over to the proper authorities and a warning that action would be taken against the PLO and any country which harbors terrorists. He said “we have all become captives of these terrorists and what have we done — nothing.”

A coffin with a sign, “Murdered by the PLO,” was on display at the rally. Later it was carried from the site of the demonstration to the Egyptian Mission to the UN.

NEXT STORY