Lantos blasts PLO office on Habash


A top congressman blasted the PLO office in Washington for lauding a terrorist leader who died recently.

Afif Safieh, who heads the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Washington office, on Monday described George Habash, who headed the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, as a “great leader” and opened a condolences registry for him.

“I am astonished that the PLO’s representative to this country would make such an asinine comment and would actually have the temerity to call on Americans to come to his office and sign a ‘register of condolences’ for this vicious individual,” U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Commitee, said Tuesday in a statement. “How disgusting.”

Habash’s group pioneered airplane hijackings in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Habash broke with the PLO for negotiating the Oslo peace accords. Although he eventually reconciled with the mainstream Palestinian leadership, he never endorsed negotiations for a two-state solution with Israel.

The Palestinian Authority does not have an embassy in Washington, but the PLO is allowed to maintain an office.

Recommended from JTA