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Poison Fruit Threat Condemned

January 26, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Dutch government condemned today a threat from an Arab Revolutionary Army” (ARA) to poison citrus fruits shipped to Holland from Israel, calling it “a direct threat” to the health of the nation. The threat, contained in a letter, said the “campaign.” would be carried out on a much larger scale than such contamination of Israeli citrus exports last year when some shipments of oranges were ###ontom noted with mercury. The ARA letter said this time poison would be used which would make it more difficult to detect than mercury.The Israel Embassy at the Hague said’ Israel had taken “all appropriate measures” to nullify all attempts to poison Israeli fruits and vegetables exported to rope. An Embassy spokesman indicated that such letters had been mailed to several European governments, saying Israeli produce would be poisoned unless a “democratic state” was established in “Palestine.”

The letters, mailed in London, were receive also by government officials in Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and West Germany. A copy of the le### received at the Hague indicated it was sent to all nine members of the European Economic Community, and to Rumania and Yugoslavia.

After ARA sent a similar letter last year, threatening to use mercury, a number of oranges coming to Europe were found to have been injected with mercury. Six children, five Dutch and one West German, became slightly ill after eating the contaminated fruit. Two million boxes of Israeli oranges and grapefruit arrive in Rotterdam each season.

The Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Interior, Agriculture and National Health have coordinated programs to determine how the channels of distribution of the Israeli fruit can best be protected. Regional food inspectors and Dutch citizens have been asked to be very, alert on the problem.

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