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Sept. 11, 1973: Israel police minister on international response to terrorism

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Shlomo Hillel

Airplane hijackings — including many acts of terrorism targeting Israel — were commonplace in the 1970s.

On Sept. 11, 1973, Israel Police minister Shlomo Hillel spoke to the International Police Association about confronting terrorism (including aviation terrorism). "Surrender to terrorism," said Hillel "results not only in the decline of the value of law but also degrades every international moral authority, encourages the growth of murder, terrorism and global extortionism, and pushes the world into a state of anarchy and chaos."
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Hillel Attacks International Hypocrisy Toward Terrorism (Published: Sept. 12, 1973)

JERUSALEM, Sep. 11 (JTA) –

Police Minister Shlomo Hillel attacked world hypocrisy toward international terrorism in an address tonight at the opening of the International Congress of the International Police Association (IPA). Hillel said that the weakness of the international system is revealed over and over again in its inability even to arrive at a conclusive definition of international terrorism.

After all, Hillel said, this unrestrained terrorism operates contrary to all moral norms customary in civilized society and its deliberate and conscious strikes result in the indiscriminate destruction of innocent people who are in no way connected with the Mideast struggle.

In this regard, Hillel continued, the weakness and hypocrisy of nations and states have plummeted downward to the nadir. Respectable nations continually preach observance of international law, but when it comes to terrorist elements they are prepared to allow them free movement as well as to hasten to release international terrorists and murderers apprehended by the authorities, he declared. The motivation for this attitude stems apparently from economic interest, political gain or simply fear and cowardice, Hillel said.

The Police Minister warned that "surrender to terrorism results not only in the decline of the value of law but also degrades every international moral authority, encourages the growth of murder, terrorism and global extortionism, and pushes the world into a state of anarchy and chaos." He said that just as civilized states and nations acted to banish piracy on the high seas, so today only similar coordinated actions can put an end to piracy in the air.

Shlomo Hillel went on to become speaker of the Knesset in 1984 and was awarded the Israel Prize in 1998. He is currently the head of the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites.

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