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Massacre of 18 in Kiryat Shemona Continues to Provoke Indignation

April 18, 1974
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban said yesterday in Jerusalem that he was disappointed and saddened by the reaction of the Arab world–particularly Egypt–to the terrorist massacre in Kiryat Shemona last Thursday in which 18 persons, half of them children, were killed and 15 persons were injured. Eban told reporters that whether Egyptian President Anwar Sadat rejoices at the murder of Jewish women and children is a far more basic question than his view of disengagement and other political issues.

While Eban said he could not state that Sadat indeed rejoiced at the terrorist outrage he noted, that the Egyptian news media certainly pointed that way. He observed that the semi-official Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, praised the terrorist attack as “daring, legitimate, successful” but did not mention that most of the victims were women and children.

Eban stated that since the disengagement accord with Egypt, Israel thought it detected “a new wind of change blowing from Cairo,” but apparently this was not so. “Our neighbors do not feel themselves bound by the rules of human conduct in all acts pertaining to Israel,” the Foreign Minister said. He disclosed that the United States was not alone in urging Lebanon to refrain from bringing its complaint to the United Nations Security Council over Israel’s command raid last Friday into southern Lebanon.

He defended the reprisal raid which he said was conducted in a way to avoid killing anyone and almost succeeded in that respect. Eban said the raid was the minimal way that Israel could warn Lebanon to end its policy of providing haven for terrorists on its territory. He said he voted for the raid in the Cabinet and that not a single minister had felt that Israel should not react to the terrorist outrage in Kiryat Shemona.


The terrorist attack last Thursday continued to provoke indignation throughout the Jewish community in France. The Representative Council of Jews of France (CRIF) placed partial blame for “this absurd and gratuitous carnage” on the policy of weakness and abandon of some Western countries, implicitly pointing a finger at France. The CRIF statement noted that a “new level of violence” was reached with the murder of women and children and that the massacre revealed the objective of the terrorists, namely, “to shatter the procedures for peace in the Middle East.”

The French section of the World Jewish Congress called for an end to “these unspeakable acts which aim at preventing the negotiations initiated for a peace settlement in the Middle East from succeeding.” But the WJC added that “beyond this bloody provocation we want to guard the hope that the forces of peace will end by triumphing.”

Francois Mitterand, the Left-wing presidential candidate, sent a message to Israel expressing his sympathy to the families of the victims and to the Israeli people and government, In a telegram to Premier Golda Meir, the Socialist Party leader said he was profoundly moved by the “criminal aggression which once again has struck innocent civilian victims.”

France officially condemned the attack nearly a week after the bloody massacre occurred. At the same time, France expressed disapproval of Israel’s reprisal raid on southern Lebanon. Speaking at a Cabinet meeting. French Foreign Minister Michel Jobert declared that “France condemns this act of violence and the loss of innocent lives. She recalls that such acts can serve no cause.” He added, however, that “France can obviously not approve acts of reprisal and can only reaffirm her concern that Lebanon’s territorial integrity be respected.”

The Zionist Movement of France termed the massacre an “atrocious crime” which has dissipated any illusion of a possible dialogue with the terrorist organizations.” Siona, the Zionist movement of Jews from North Africa, sharply denounced both “those Arab governments which arm, harbor and encourage the assassins and those Western governments which, through their weakness, encourage the Arab murderers.” The French Socialist-Zionist Organization denounced the “attitude of certain Palestinian leaders who preach dialogue on the one hand and participate in criminal violence on the other.”


In Amsterdam, the inter-religious group “Synagogue and Church for Israel” has called on Christian leaders around the world to clearly condemn the terrorist atrocity. In a cable to several Christian bodies, the group said it hoped that church leaders would take it upon themselves to express the moral indignation of millions of Christians so that in the future the church cannot be blamed for being silent in the face of the murder of Jews.

The cable was sent to the Pope, the Archbishop of The Netherlands, Cardinal Alfrink, the World Council of Churches in Geneva, the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church and other Christian bodies. Pope Paul VI conveyed his condolences to the families of those murdered in the massacre deploring the “reprehensible” and “tragic event” and expressing his “deep affliction at the loss of innocent victims in the act of violence at Kiryat Shemona.”

In London, the Board of Deputies of British Jews expressed shock “that there is silence from those who are always eager in condemning Israel when military steps are taken to prevent indiscriminate outrages of Arab terrorists.” The Liberal Friends of Israel Association declared that the latest outrage “reveals the true face of Palestinian political activism and is a warning to the world of the need for utmost caution in the search for peace in the Middle East.” The group also called for action, not just soft words, in the Arab states “to eliminate this gangsterism among their ranks.”

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