Pro-palestinian Terrorism Down, State Department Study Reports
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Pro-palestinian Terrorism Down, State Department Study Reports

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Pro-Palestinian terrorists killed 155 fewer people in 1987 than they did in 1986, the State Department revealed Monday in its annual report “Patterns of Global Terrorism.”

The 70-page report said that terrorists killed 295 people and wounded 770 in 1987, down from 450 deaths and 1,125 injuries in 1986.

But Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip saw roughly the same number of incidents between 1986 and 1987, about 25 percent of the 1986 worldwide total of 774 incidents, and 1987 total of 832 attacks.

By contrast, the second most popular venue for terrorist attacks was Pakistan, site of 17 percent of the incidents.

“Israel remained the primary target of Palestinian terrorists in 1987,” the report said. It cited an April 1986 attack into northern Israel, which killed two Israeli soldiers along with three terrorists linked to Al-Fatah, the military wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

In December 1987, “in an attempt probably designed to exploit international sympathy created by the Gaza Strip and West Bank protests, three terrorists from (Mohammed) Abul Abbas’ Palestine Liberation Front penetrated Israel from Jordan. The three were captured shortly after their incursion.”

On terrorist acts committed by Jews, the report noted that life sentences for three Jewish settlers convicted of murdering West Bank Arabs were reduced in March 1987.

In October, the Knesset defeated a bill that would have pardoned seven members of the Jewish underground who had previously been convicted of “terrorist crimes” against Arabs.

Since 1985, the total number of incidents in the Middle East has remained “fairly constant” each year. For example, 45 percent of worldwide terrorist attacks occurred in the Middle East in 1987, down 1 percent from 1986.

The report warned that “the potential for terrorist activity remains high,” citing recent political developments such as the Palestinian uprising and “the groundswell of Islamic fundamentalism throughout the Middle East.”

Only 9 percent of the anti-U.S. terrorist incidents occurred in the Middle East in 1987, the report concluded.

By contrast, Latin America was the site of 47 percent of 149 anti-U.S. incidents, followed by Western Europe with 24 percent.

The report found that terrorist incidents outside the Middle East by “radical Palestinian groups” declined in 1987, but was offset by a slight rise in attacks against targets in Israel and the administered territories.

The report attributed the 1987 decline in Mideast terrorism in Western Europe — from 74 incidents in ’85, to 43 incidents in ’87 — to the deterrent effect of terrorist prosecutions in European countries.

For example, in February 1986, Georges Ibrahim Abdullah, head of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Faction, was sentenced to life imprisonment in France for his role in the assassination of U.S. and Israeli diplomats in 1982.

Also in 1987, an Italian appeals court upheld the sentences of the PLF terrorists convicted in the October 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking and sentenced Abul Abbas in absentia to life imprisonment.

But the report cautioned against expecting a continued decline in Palestinian terrorism outside the Middle East, because “information suggests that radical Palestinian groups opposed to a negotiated solution to the Arab-Israeli dispute may be planning renewed terrorist campaigns against Israeli, moderate Arab, and U.S. targets worldwide.”


The report for the first time profiled terrorist groups, including their sources of funding.

The report said that under the November 1978 Arab League summit agreement, the PLO was to receive $300 million annually between 1978 and 1988 from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iraq, Libya and Algeria.

It said that Saudi Arabia announces publicly that it gives the PLO $85 million each year.

Abu Nidal has previously received aid from Iraq and Syria, and “continues to receive aid from Libya,” the report said. Al Fatah has links to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and “other moderate Persian Gulf states, from which it continues to receive major funding,” as well as from Jordan, the report said.

The Popular Struggle Front is funded mainly by Syria, with some aid from Libya. That group commits “terrorist attacks against Israeli, moderate Arab, and PLO targets,” the report said.

The report also contains a new full-page chart noting which countries officially recognize the PLO. They include China, Afghanistan, Egypt, Kuwait, Austria, East Germany, Greece, Romania and the Soviet Union.

It also cited countries that provide “quasi-diplomatic” recognition to the PLO, such as Japan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Italy and the Netherlands.

The 1987 report was released in August as part of a new timetable requiring the State Department to issue its annual report by March 31 each year, starting in 1989.

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