PFLP Takes Credit for Suicide Terrorist Attack

Photo: AP

Jerusalem------May 19......Arab terrorism against Israeli civilians continued today as an Arab terrorist disguised as an Israeli soldier entered the fruit market of Netanya and blew himself up. Initial reports state that three people have been murdered in the attack with over 50 wounded being rushing to nearby hospitals.

A spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a constituent member of the PLO, called up the Abu Dhabi television station to take credit for the attack.

"A few minutes ago we got a message from 'the Battalions of Abu Ali Mustafa' (part of the PFLP) taking credit for this operation," reported Leila Abu Odeh, the Abu Dhabi tv correspondent in the West Bank.

"Netanya has always been one of the main targets of Palestinian 'fedaiya' (sacrificial) operations," said Abu-Odeh, adding, "the Israeli authorities admit that they cannot supply 100-percent protection to their citizens.

Emergency hospital hotline telephone numbers:

Hillel Yaffe Hospital, Hadera (1255166)

Laniado Hospital, Netanya (1255191)

Meir Hospital, Kfar Saba (1255199)

If calling from outside of Israel, please dial country code 972

The PFLP was the organization that carried out the murder of Israeli cabinet minister Rehav'am Ze'evi last year, and the perpetrators of the murder were given refuge in Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah which was placed under an Israeli siege until the end of last month.

The siege was lifted as part of a diplomatic deal arranged by the United States under which the murderers of the Israeli minister were transferred to a jail in Jericho that would be supervised by British authorities.

The head of the organization, Ahmad Sa'adat, was transferred to Jericho, too, but he was allowed to live and work inside an office with full freedom of movement, including telephone. Arab terrorism is encouraged through the use of these "paper jails" - with terror leaders able to coordinate future attacks under the protection of Yasser Arafat. Arafat defended the deal at the time, saying that Sa'adat had not been found guilty of any crimes.

US Vice President Richard Cheney has stated today that Arafat cannot be expected to prevent all terror acts since many are coordinated by other countries such as Iran and Syria. But wasn't the Arab terror weapon ship Karine A headed to Gaza from Iran with the logistical and documented support of Yasser Arafat? And if Iran and Syria are "aiding and harboring terrorists" what is the United States doing about it, as they warn the US public to "expect" suicide attacks in the United States. Cheney stated today that suicide attacks against United States and other open societies are not a matter of "if" but rather a matter of "when". Why is the United States again playing a reactive role rather than a proactive role. If anything was learned from Israel's Operation Defensive Shield it was to take the war to the enemy - keep them on the defensive rather than providing leisure time for them to plan and implement future terror attacks against Western targets.

Hanan Ashrawi, a leading official in the Palestinian Authority (PA) who appeared on Abu Dhabi tv shortly after the bombing today, made no comment on the Netanya attack, preferring instead to condemn Israel for forcing the expulsion of 13 Palestinian gunmen to Europe.

A note to the Israeli Peace Now movement which you will probably not hear from in the next few hours:
The PFLP does not want a peace treaty with Israel, does not want the West Bank and Gaza - they want ALL of the land from the River Jordan to the Sea. Yes - all we are saying is give peace a chance - but please direct the Israeli public to an honest Palestinian leader who has the guts to confront both the PFLP and Hamas! All we are saying is look at the Israeli terror victims in Netanya's hospital beds - Netanya is not a settlement but a coastal city 12 miles north of Tel Aviv inside the "green line".

At least five of the wounded in today's attack in Netanya are in serious condition, Yerucham Mendola, Magen David Adom spokesman said.

Photo: Israel TV Channel 2

Netanya police commander Aharon Franko said the bomber was apparently wearing an army uniform.

"It was a powerful explosion," Yamin Yaakov, an injured worker at the market told Army Radio. "I saw lots of things flying in the air and blood."

The Israel Defense Forces "Operation Defensive Shield" was a direct response to a bloody and barbaric series of almost daily Arab suicide attacks against Israel's civilian population. The Operation has been judged a success given that Arab terrorism and in particular, Palestinian suicide attacks have been drastically reduced.

Photo: Reuters

"Anyone who thought that the Palestinian terror campaign against Israelis is over is completely mistaken," said David Baker, an official at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office, speaking moments after news of the blast was broadcast. "The Palestinian terror campaign continues unabated, as does Israel's battle against terror."