How Arafat got away with murder

In the Haaretz article “For Yasser Arafat crime certainly paid.” Amir Oren recounts the PLO/Fatah’s 1973 murder of the American ambassador to Sudan, his deputy, and others. Oren cites a study released last month by the State Department’s Office of the Historian, entitled “Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973.” Oren contends that, based on the documents published by the Office of the Historian, the government of the United States now confirms that Arafat was responsible for the operation.

I wrote about Arafat’s murder of the American diplomats frequently over the years on Power Line, originally in connection with the documents that the State Department released to me in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. I tried to put everything I learned about the Arafat operation together in the Weekly Standard article “How Arafat got away with murder.”

My account turned on the June 2006 release by the Office of the Historian of an authoritative summary of the events dated June 1973, similar to one Oren quotes in his Haaretz article. The source of the summary was not given by the Office of the Historian, but the CIA had previously produced it in redacted form in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Prepared by the CIA on the basis of communications intercepted by the National Security Agency, it baldly stated: “The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasser Arafat.”

Arafat is dead, but the story related in my Standard account and Oren’s Haaretz article remains timely. It is not merely of historical interest. PLO/Fatah is the organization that would preside over the Palestinian state whose creation is the object of American foreign policy, and Arafat’s right hand man is the current (illegitimate holdover) president of the Palestinian Authority.