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Javits Condemns Attack As a Stunning and Useless Tragedy

August 13, 1976
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.NY) today called the killing by terrorists of an aide. Harold Wallace Rosenthal, and another passenger of an El Al plane in Istanbul as “a stunning, awful and senseless tragedy. Hal was a victim of a spreading vicious insanity that must be stamped out if we are to maintain a civilized world.”

The bombing and gunning down by the terrorists of the passengers as they prepared to board the plane last night, he added, “is bitter irony for me because I have worked for years in the attempt to achieve international agreement that would restrain those nations that harbor terrorists. This is another bitter lesson that such an agreement is of the highest priority. We cannot condone nations that justify terrorism on political grounds.”

At the State Department the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed that for the time being “it is police work” to determine the facts of the attack. The U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul is in “constant touch” with the Turkish authorities, a Department spokesman said.

Rosenthal, 29, has been an aide to the Senator for the past six months after having served for almost two years as an economist with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in New York. Previously Rosenthal had been a legislative assistant to Sen. Walter P. Mondale (D.Minn.), the Democratic Party’s Vice-Presidential nominee, and to New York Governor Hugh Carey when he was a Congressman.

Born in Philadelphia Nov. 2, 1946, Rosenthal attended Temple University, the University of Cambridge Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the University of Dijon. Javits said Rosenthal was “a brilliant, totally committed young man with a complete dedication to his work in the foreign relations field.”


Meanwhile, other Senators joined Javits in expressing condemnation of the attack and anguish over Rosenthal’s death. “The Palestinian attack on the El Al airliner at Istanbul Airport puts a new bland of violence and terrorism on the Palestinian movement.” said Sen. Charles Mathias (R.Md.). “It raises new obstacles to the achievement of their goals. It is not only barbarous but self-defeating.”

The Mathias statement was especially significant since he had met with PLO chief Yasir Arafat last April and said that Arafat appeared “reasonable” in his view of the Arab-Israel conflict. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D. Mass.) said Rosenthal’s “tragic and senseless killing is a great loss for us all.”

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