Terrorists on Vacation

May 23, 2002 12:00 by

Thirteen of the worst Palestinian terrorists who holed up in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity for 38 days won a chartered flight and two weeks vacation in a Cyprus hotel. This week they were distributed among European countries, after much delay and hesitation by their European hosts.

The major European powers — Britain, France and Germany — refused to accept any of the exiled Palestinians. Apparently, these countries realized that those touted in the European press as “freedom fighters and militiamen” were really cold-blooded terrorists. Instead, they were distributed among Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Greece and Ireland.

Another 26 more Palestinian terrorists were bused from the Bethlehem church to Gaza.

Incredibly, media outlets are now publishing reports sympathetic to these terrorists.

“Our new countries should have no fears,” Abdullah Daoud, one of the Cyprus 13, told the BBC. “We are normal, civilized people.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1999000/1999645.stm

The Guardian (May 23) described their “New Beginnings” by quoting Daoud: “This country is a democracy, and in Europe they respect human rights. Wherever I go I’ll feel safe and respect the law. I am told my wife and two children will be able to join me — we are all very happy that this is over.”

Read the Guardian account at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,720419,00.html

The Guardian identified Daoud as the first on Israel’s “most wanted” list who was accused of smuggling weapons. But left off of the Guardian’s list of Daoud’s crimes were his organizing and execution of terrorist attacks, manufacturing explosives, sheltering other terrorists, and organizing shooting attacks against Gilo and the Bethlehem bypass road.

*       *       *

The New York Times provided similar sympathy for the 26 Gazan-bound terrorists, in Tim Golden’s article, “Cast Adrift After Siege, Bethlehem Exiles Grieve” (May 21). Golden describes the difficulties the men will have finding work, and writes:

“The echoes, critics of the deal said, could scarcely be crueler: after half a century in which Palestinians have fought for the return of compatriots who fled at Israel’s creation, they have been forced from their homes once more.

“Adding to the sting, European officials announced today that the Bethlehem fighters who had been flown to Cyprus at Israel’s insistence would be scattered among at least half a dozen European countries.”

Golden doesn’t mention the added sting of the hundreds of Jewish families torn apart by the work of these terrorists. As to their crimes, The Times reports that Israel “accused most of them of having joined in attacks on Jewish settlers.” In fact, some of the 26 terrorists were involved in shooting at Israeli vehicles, preparing bombs, and dispatching suicide bombers.

Read the New York Times report at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/21/international/middleeast/21GAZA.html

The Italian press, as cited by the Guardian, gave a more blunt gangster-like description of the exiled Palestinian terrorists: “Italian media said the [exiled gunmen] would enter a witness protection program set up for mafia turncoats.”

Letters can be sent to:

BBC -
newsonline.complaints@bbc.co.uk

The Guardian -
letters@guardian.co.uk

New York Times -
letters@nytimes.com

Be sure to include: full name, full address, day and evening phone numbers.

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