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World Leaders Condemn Maalot Carnage

May 20, 1974
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Political leaders. Jewish and Christian spokesmen and organizations in Europe, Latin America and the United States continued their condemnation this weekend of the Arab terrorist carnage that left 25 dead and 70 wounded in Maalot last Wednesday. In London, Prime Minister Harold Wilson and opposition leader Edward Heath sent messages to Israel expressing their grief and sorrow and condolences to government, the people and the families of the victims.

Wilson, writing on behalf of the British government and himself, stated: “The death of school children in Israel as a result of this brutal act of terrorism is a tragedy which will be deeply felt and mourned throughout your country and throughout the civilized world.” Heath stated: “Over the years, the world has perhaps become hardened to the horror and suffering which man seems to inflict upon himself, but this cannot hide an overwhelming feeling of grief at the loss of so many young lives.”

In Bonn, the new West German government said it viewed the terrorist atrocity “with disgust,” and said such acts of violence could only Jeopardize a solution of the Middle East conflict and seriously impair current peace efforts. In Paris, Valery Giscard d’Estaing condemned the attack saying “the taking of children as hostages can never be Justified. In a personal telegram to Jean Rosenthal, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF), expressed his “horror” at “the most odious aggressions in which Israeli children were victims.” Francois Mitterrand sent a telegram to Israeli President Ephraim Katzir conveying his “Indignation and anguish at the atrocious” act. The French and West German governments also issued statements deploring Israel’s retaliation raids Thursday and Friday against Lebanon.

In Paris, more than 1,000 people attended a special memorial service in the city’s main synagogue Friday evening. French Chief Rabbi Jacob Kaplan, who officiated at the service, deplored the world’s silence after the Kiryat Shemona massacre and said this silence gave encouragement to the Arab terrorists to launch their attack in Maalot. Among those present at the service were the mother and wife of Giscard d’Estaing. Interim President Alain Poher expressed his horror at the Maalot massacre in a declaration to Katzir.

In Vienna the Socialist International expressed sorrow. Bruno Pitterman, president of the organization, said that what happened to the children in Maalot can happen tomorrow to other children and their parents. He appealed to all humanists to fight against the slaughter of children.


In Brussels, the Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Organizations of Belgium expressed “repulsion and Indignation” and declared: “Taking children hostages stains any cause, no matter what it may be and can only seriously compromise the current peace efforts in the Middle East.” In Bonn, the Christian-Jewish Association in West Germany condemned the attack as inhuman. The group’s international committee meeting in Basel appealed to the Pope, the World Council of Churches and UN Secretary Kurt Waldheim to issue severe condemnations of the “barbarous attack” and sent its sympathies to Katzir and the Israeli people.

In Buenos Aires, the DAIA, the Argentine Organization and the Argentine Jewish Youth Confederation, in an advertisement published Thursday in several newspapers, charged that the terrorist action in Maalot expressed madness approaching the deeds of Hitler. The statement observed that the international community shared in the blame for allowing such outrages to happen. It added that the Jewish community, “while expressing its horror and indignation, exhorts free men and world organizations and governments of all states to once and for all stop this unending and planned crime.”

On Friday some 5,000 persons gathered in front of the Israel Embassy and overflowed into the side streets around the Embassy building. Youths shouted anti-terrorist slogans as Jewish leaders addressed the throng. Earlier Jewish shops and offices closed for the day in expression of solidarity with the Maalot victims and several columns of Jewish youths marched through the city to the Israel Embassy building.

It was also reported in Buenos Aires that a high powered bomb was found Thursday morning by police minutes before it was scheduled to explode in front of the Jewish community and school building in Santa Fe. Police said that extensive damage would have occurred had the bomb exploded.

While the majority of influential daily papers in Western Europe were condemning the Maalot carnage the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations of Belgium protested Thursday against Belgian Radio’s sparse coverage of the Israeli view of the massacre and accused the national radio station of overexposing the Palestinian views of the incident. The Committee called for an investigation into the objectivity of the radio station.


In Amsterdam. Dr. Marga Klompe, the chairman of the Dutch branch of the international Roman Catholic organization, “Justitia et Pas,” cabled PLO leader Yasser Arafat protesting the terrorist act. “The justified demands of the Palestinians can never be an excuse for the dastardly violation of humanitarian rules of warfare and international law,” Dr. Klompe said. The Netherlands Zionist Organization called on all Dutch churches, political parties and action groups to protest terrorist acts. Some 350 Jewish elementary and high school students and teachers demonstrated in Amsterdam and carried placards stating. “The children of Israel are our sisters and brothers.”

Jewish organizations throughout France expressed their horror and outrage. CRIF said the attack “proved the absolute will of the Palestinian organizations to destroy Israel.” The France-Israel Alliance said the Maalot terrorists revealed “the true face of the Palestinian resistance, that of most cowardly crime and most ignoble blackmail.” Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren, currently visiting Paris, appealed to humanity “to see that these acts are punished.”

The France-Israel Association compared the Arab terrorist tactics to “Nazi genocide.” The “Christian Committee of Israel Supporters” expressed its “great sorrow and disgust” and blamed European nations “which systematically granted freedom to Palestinian terrorists.” On Friday night a group of ten young unidentified men carrying lead pipes attacked the Lebanese House at Cite Universitaire where an exhibition on Palestine was being held. The group ransacked the premises and set fire to the exhibition material. Firemen extinguished the flames before they spread. In the melee, several persons were injured, one seriously.


In New York, Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference of Major American Jewish Organizations, announced today that a public demonstration and rally marking the shiva of the Maalot tragedy will be held at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun at 125 East 85th Street. Following the meeting, he said, the demonstrators will march in solemn procession to the Lebanese Consulate-General. Representatives of the Presidents Conference will seek to present a letter to Lebanese representatives protesting the “free rein of terrorism” provided by the Lebanese government.

In Chicago, more than 3,000 people gathered at the Civic Center Plaza to protest the massacre. Many were nigh school children, the same age as those slain in Maalot. Ceremonies were sponsored by the Jewish United Fund and speakers included Jewish area leaders, rabbis, a priest and U.S. officials. Speakers called for world governments and the UN to decry the “barbarous act.” and denounced the Security Council resolution which condemned Israel’s retaliatory action against Lebanon after terrorists massacred 18 people in Kiryat Shemona. The mass protest was capped by a march to the Arab information office a half mile away.

In Vancouver, the Canadian Labor Congress adopted a resolution Friday condemning “in the strongest manner the murderous attack” and stated that the “senseless slaughter of innocent children is repugnant to the entire civilized world.” According to Uzi Bloch, Histadrut representative at the convention, the session was interrupted by separatist and Communist oriented delegates who cast fifteen votes against the resolution. There were 2,000 delegates present.

In Philadelphia, more than 2,000 members of the city’s Jewish community held a demonstration outside the Federal Office Building and called on the U.S. government to push for the UN Security Council to take steps to end Arab terrorism in the Mideast and criticized the Council’s previous failures to condemn this terrorism which, it was stated, encouraged the terrorists. The demonstration was sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Youth Council which is composed of Jewish high school student organizations in Greater Philadelphia.

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